You don’t have to be someone diligently trying to lose weight to appreciate a great achievement. Success is success no matter what you aim for, and we have scoured our brains to introduce our readers to some of the most inspirational journeys we’ve come across. Losing weight isn’t just about the pounds, but instead about the journey a person is about to embark on that requires will power, self-love, and a ton of heart.
I’d like to introduce Samantha Rymer; a fellow firefighter wife of mine within the Houston, Texas area. Sam is one of those people you meet that is up for whatever adventure her day throws at her, and her story isn’t just enlightening, but moving. Upon meeting Sam you can tell instantly she is full of her new found love of life and that’s a beautiful thing. She uplifts other women whilst comically separating the men from the boys in whatever insane “Go Ruck” endurance challenge she is completing that weekend. Her weight loss achievements haven’t only increased her overall health, but managed to catapult her inner strength to become the force of positivity she is today. Read on to learn all about Samantha’s story:
- You have had tremendous success with your weight loss journey, congratulations! Give us the scoop on your story; when did you start your fitness makeover, how much weight have you lost in total so far, and all that jazz-
SR: “I started my weight loss journey nearly a decade ago while I was still in high school. I have lost (and maintained the loss of) 60 pounds total.”
- What would you say was the turning point for you to embark on your healthy lifestyle?
SR: “I had a wake-up call from my doctor.
I decided that I wanted to be active in sports during my junior year in high school, mainly in track and field. To be able to participate, we had to have a physical form signed by our doctor clearing us to participate. I went in to have my physical done, and I was told she wouldn’t sign it unless I agreed to be tested for obesity related diseases (diabetes and high cholesterol). I agreed just so she would sign it, but hearing her say I needed to be tested for that stuff at the ripe old age of 15/16 was scary. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with medical issues, especially since some of them can be prevented by being active and at a healthy weight.”
- What program do you use, is it dieting and fitness or what has worked for you?
SR: “I originally started losing weight using Weight Watchers. I even worked for them for a few years, but after a while it got harder for me to follow their program. Now, I calorie count and watch my macros. I use the app/website MyFitnessPal. It has a great database of food items and is very user-friendly.”
- Supplements, are they a part of your routine?
SR: “I feel like everyone has a different definition of supplements. As for me, I take a multivitamin and an iron supplement (since I always have low iron when I get blood drawn). I don’t consider it a supplement, but I do occasionally drink a protein shake. As for the other stuff (green coffee extract, hoodia, whatever is big on the market now), no, I don’t use any of it. For the most part, I believe stuff like that to be “magic snake oil” that is primarily used to line the company’s pockets.”
- Are there any foods that you’ve completely eliminated from your diet?
SR: “At first, yes. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I followed “clean” eating while on Weight Watchers. I didn’t eat a lot of sugar, and I tried not to eat carbs. When I cut out sugar and carbs, I would crave both those things to the point that I would end up binging on them. After that, I would hate myself for being “weak” and go back to restricting them. I quickly learned that restricting certain food groups wasn’t something I could live with for the rest of my life. Now, I follow what people call “if it fits your macros” eating. It’s a lot less stressful and restrictive for me. I still enjoy all the “healthy” foods you would think (chicken, veggies, whole grains), but I also enjoy pizza, burgers, brownies, cookies, and other stuff people consider as junk food.”
- Have you had an intimidating moment or event that you challenged yourself with fitness-wise and if so, what was that experience like for you?
SR: “A little over a year ago I learned about this company called GORUCK.
It is a veteran owned company that works to bridge the gap between veterans and civilians. The basis of the company is that they have guys who served/are serving in the US Special Forces. These Special Forces Cadre lead classes through various PT exercises and team building evolutions for 4-48 hours, depending on the event you sign up for. I signed up for and did my first one in November 2014. It was the most amazing, terrifying, and hardest event I’ve ever done. It was 9 miles over 12 miles of hard work and team building. We had to carry heavy stuff, buddy carry our teammates, and come together to get our evolutions completed. But I apparently enjoyed it because I’ve now done several of them and have a bunch more upcoming ones on the calendar.”
- How do you keep yourself accountable, or what advice do you have to keep the motivation going after months of your new healthy lifestyle that still motivates you to get up every week to hit those workouts?
SR: “I’ve gotten to the point now where not working out just feels weird. I feel like my day isn’t complete if I haven’t worked out, almost like something important is missing. I also like to set goals, short-term and long-term. I have missed meeting my goals before and figured out that if I don’t work towards them, I won’t meet them.”
- Do you have a system that makes your new healthy regimen easier to follow? (i.e. meal prep, or workout schedules that fit into your workday)
SR: “I can tell you right now that without some pre-planning, it would be far too easy for me to fail at eating well and working out.
-I meal prep every weekend: I cook breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the whole week on Sunday.
-I follow a fairly simple routine that has me lifting three days a week. I go to the gyms Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week. I pack my gym bag and take it with me on those days, and I go to a gym that is on my way home. I know I won’t go back to the gym if I go home first, and I don’t have to go out of my way to get there.
-I also run or ruck a few days a week because it’s something I enjoy. On those days, I go straight home, put on my gear, and head out. I try not to waste time because if I do, I’ll keep putting it off and never make it out there. On the weekends, I meet up with friends. Making a commitment to others keeps me from making an excuse to not go out and run/ruck. Occasionally I have time during my lunch break to run. On those days, I run and eat lunch at my desk afterwards. I’m stuck at work anyways with a free hour, might as well use it in the best way I can.
- A lot of successful weight loss folks find they are happier, or no longer suffer from depression symptoms, or even have better relationships with those around them. What is the biggest non-physical change you’ve noticed about your journey thus far?
SR: “Confidence. When I was heavier, I was a shy, quiet, an embarrassed person. Now that I’m thinner, I don’t feel ashamed to walk around with my head held high and be proud of where I’m at.”
- What has been your proudest moment to date with your healthy lifestyle?
SR: “This is a tough question. There is a lot I have accomplished that I’m really proud of: getting below 200 pounds, running my first 5k without stopping, being able to place at some local 5k races, running distances in the double digits, being able to lift weights I never dreamed possible, completing a GORUCK event.”
- Have you done any research on nutrition or exercising that has helped you get to your goal?
SR: “I have done some reading on nutrition, but nothing extensive. I pretty much follow my own path when it comes to nutrition. You’ll find people who say eat low carb, eat ketogenic, eat Primal/Paleo, etc., but none of those really fit into my lifestyle. As for exercise, I used to be strictly cardio. I found that cardio didn’t get me to the goal I had in mind, so I started lifting weights. I did some research on proper form and a couple of different programs, but there is still a ton I could learn.”
- Do you have any current fitness/health goals you are aiming to achieve?
SR: “Oh yeah! Some of the bigger ones: back squat 200 pounds, deadlift 250 pounds, bench 125 pounds, do a GORUCK Challenge and light back to back, ruck a marathon, complete a GORUCK Heavy, run a sub-25 minute 5k (completed this one, but I’m working on being more consistent with this), and complete a triathlon.”
- What is your best piece of advice for others that are brand new to starting out on their own healthy adventure that may be overwhelmed or intimidated by the whole process?
SR: “Number 1) Start small. Don’t try to change everything at once. Pick one small thing, like taking your lunch to work/school 2 days a week instead of eating out 5 days a week and work on that one. Once you’re comfortable with that, pick something else to work on.
Number 2) Also, stick with it. If you “fail,” don’t let it completely derail you. Accept it and get back to your lifestyle change. Everyone overeats or skips a workout at some point, but if you accept it and move on you have a better chance of being successful in the long run.
Number 3) And one more: take starting measurements and photos. There will be times when weight loss stalls and you get discouraged, but if you have measurements and photos to compare you may find that you’re still losing even if the scale doesn’t show it. Plus, it can also be hard to see changes since you see yourself every day, but if you have measurements/pictures to compare you’ll be better able to see changes in yourself.”
If you want to follow up with Samantha or see more on her fitness endeavors, check out her blog at: