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Kim Valera

kim_valera_new1kim_valera_new2Like many people with serious obesity issues, I was fat most of my life. I do not remember a time when I was truly “normal”. I can name instances in which I lost lots of weight with all kinds of diets, but I could never keep it off. I did medically-supervised fasting, took over the counter diet pills, no-carb, high carb, high protein…you name it, I probably did it. The result of my yo-yo dieting was a slowed metabolism, a fatter than ever body (475 was my known maximum), and a level of self-confidence that was worse than ever before. I was certain that I would be obese for life, and that the life I would have would be short and dull.

In January of 2005, I began researching gastric bypass surgery. I had finally “given up” on being able to lose the weight and keep it off on my own, and decided I needed help. On September 27, 2005, I had gastric bypass surgery done. It was an “easy” journey for a while…the pounds just seemed to literally melt away. But then I got “stuck”. I weighed in at 319 for months, and I was certain that I was the one person for whom the surgery would not work…my “magic bullet” to lose weight was not so magical after all. It was then that Austin came to our bariatric support group meeting and began talking about exercise and its role in the weight loss and fitness process.

I started training with Austin on May 1, 2006. I had worked with trainers before, and always found that they had no idea what it is like to be an obese person trying to exercise. They always pushed me to the breaking point, so I did not last long with any of those trainers. I was very nervous about working with Austin at first…I mean; he is a trainer, and he’s VERY hyper…that didn’t seem like a good combination! All of that nervousness was for nothing! Austin took great care to make sure to push me enough to challenge me, but without taking me to a breaking point. He was always adamant that I understand why he was having me do each exercise, and he was caring and supportive throughout. He also made sure that I was successful with every exercise he asked me to do.

austin_kim_parachuteI have learned a lot along this journey, and am still learning each and every day. I learned that I have to change more than just food intake to be healthy…food is an important part of being fit and healthy, but exercise and movement are at least equally important. I have learned that I am much stronger, both mentally and physically, than I ever imagined. I have learned that the world is a beautiful place to be, and that there are lots of things out there that I never allowed myself to imagine. I have learned to trust my body and to respect all that it has done for me. I have learned that there is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane…as a celebration of 200 pounds lost, Austin took me out to do what I never dreamed possible before…I took my first tandem skydive on December 31, 2006!

I was blessed to find Austin at just the right time. He is an amazing trainer, and I owe my new love of life, acceptance of my new body and my healthy habits to his guidance. I often tease Austin that he has had to “raise the level of his game” to be able to continue to work with me, but we both know that I am grateful to him for helping me find the new person that I am becoming. I am really excited about this DVD series, and thrilled to be a co-author of these manuals with Austin. I hope that you are able to get as much out of this program as I have!