I want to be strong, healthy and look “well tended.”
After a lifetime struggle with poor body image, the result of an overweight childhood and physical limitations due to multiple spinal treatments and surgeries for scoliosis (severe curvature of the spine), now, at the age of 52, I am just beginning to realize my potential and have never felt or looked better.
Raised in a blue-collar family, home cooking was heavy on starch, with breads and dessert served virtually every night, and food was the panacea cure-all for any hurt, large or small. When diagnosed with Scoliosis at age 12, physical activity was strictly forbidden and a surgical spinal fusion was performed at age 13. This medical procedure and recovery protocol was vastly different in 1968 from what it is today, as the rigid, solid steel Harrington Rod was implanted alongside my newly fused vertebrae and I was strapped to a circle bed frame for five weeks while the bones knit. I had to learn to walk again following the surgery and was encased from neck to hips in a 30-pound body cast for three months. My long-term prognosis, however, was good. Even though my lower spine would retain a significant curvature and the implant would remain to stabilize the upper spine, I would regain much, if not all, mobility.
Exercise remained an unknown concept during these years and by mid-thirty, I was a veteran dieter constantly yo-yoing up and down, losing and re-gaining the same 30 pounds over and over again. Chronic pain from weak back muscles and scar tissue around the implant forced me to walk with a cane — at 34 years old – and for the first time an organized weight training regimen was recommended to strengthen long unused back muscles. Improper training; however, lead to a second surgery to remove the implant and the yo-yo cycle continued … until I was introduced to Overload.
Recommended by an associate, I first met with owning partner Jeff Tomaszewski last year and began my Overload training as a 51st birthday gift to myself on August 24, 2006. I immediately embraced the disciplined protocol and by October was eager to achieve even faster results, only possible by adding the nutrition component to my program.
I met with team member Mark Schmitt who, after obtaining my resting metabolic rate and mineral analysis, formulated a custom macronutrient diet designed specifically for me to reduce fat while my workouts increased lean muscle; both combined to increase my metabolic rate.
Within four months, friends were demanding to know my ‘secret’ as I morphed from an optimistic size 8 to a fantastic size 4. I’ve amazed myself with my intensity, focus, and unlimited potential and have a notably improved range of motion as well as a much lower risk of bone loss as I age. I work out with confidence, knowing that my Overload trainer will challenge me while keeping me safe from injury with a program specifically designed for me, crooked spine and all.
No, I don’t want to look or even feel younger, I want to be strong, healthy and look “well tended.” Thanks to having Mark, Jeff, Mike, Heather, and everyone at Team Overload in my corner, I know my transformation will continue … from the inside out.
Jeanne C. Michaelides