~ Advertorial ~
By Charleen Earley
Photos by JVB Photography
Cindy Kirk of Oakley ends every email with “Feel good, energetic, confident, healthy and happy,” and there’s good reason this single, administrative assistant does that – she’s lost 65 pounds through Delta Valley Health Club’s 20/30 Program. Initially, she lost 24 pounds in the 30-day program, and seven months after the program, she’s managed to lose an additional 41 pounds. Born in Concord, raised in Antioch, Kirk says she’s pretty much within her goal weight and just working on maintaining, toning and building muscle. Below is her story.
What was your powerful “why” to lose the weight?
I was feeling exhausted, sick and unhappy. I was having a lot of health issues: stomach always hurting, body hurting and inflammation in my body, always hungry but didn’t know what or how to eat. I wanted to exercise, but didn’t know what to do. I thought that there was no way to get it under control and felt like if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what to do. I thought, I guess it’s impossible and I will be overweight and sick for the rest of my life.
Have you always struggled with weight?
As a child and teen I was always thin and toned so I never worried about what I ate or exercising. I never learned how to cook, what to eat or how to exercise. I thought that people who exercised werea different kind of person than me. I thought they just naturally had energy and they were just obsessed with exercising and eating right. I always said I could never eat that way. I could never run or jog. I could never do that exercise class – not knowing that you struggle in the beginning and if you keep doing it, you build your ability to do these things.
As an adult I started working in an office. Sitting down all day really took its toll and then I would start to gain weight. The more weight I would gain, the more depressed I would become and the less active, more withdrawn, and more bad food I would eat. Then I would try to eat better (not really knowing what that meant), so I would be starving all day, unsatisfied, trying to eat these light, fat-free boxed or bagged items that are actually full of sugar, carbs, fat, and are not good for you but are marketed as healthy or diet.
I would start eating a little better, start walking (the only exercise I felt I could do), and drinking more water and drop 20 pounds or so, but it would go up and down 20-30 pounds. At my most desperate time, when I thought I was going to be heavy for the rest of my life, I went on one of the weight loss programs where you eat their food and I lost 75 pounds in a year, spending over $600 a month to purchase their pre-packaged food, which I thought was great, because I didn’t know how to eat or cook. I was happy, but once I stopped eating their food, I gained it all back within a couple years.
What have you learned through this process?
I have learned how to exercise, how to cook for myself, what to eat and how much. I am excited about building up my endurance to exercise in ways I never thought I could and adding food prepping and going to the gym as a part of my regular necessary daily and weekly routine. I go to work, take care of my house, car, dogs, yard, bills, exercise and meal prep.
How did you hear about the 20/30 program?
A few of us girls at work were looking for ways to lose weight and feel better and healthier. We looked online and found the 20/30 program and Delta Valley Health Club. We liked the idea of balancing hormones, being taught how, what, and how much we should be eating along with learning what items affect you and how (through slowly adding foods back into your diet.) We also wanted to join a gym and exercise. There were three of us who sit right next to each other in cubicles doing the program together.
What was challenging for you and what was easy for you during this time?
In the beginning, it was surprisingly easy for me to eat right and exercise, because I was so desperate for it to work, otherwise I felt there was no hope. Also, since my two co-workers were doing it, we all were not snacking, eating at our work events, or having candy or snack in our front lobby. We would all bring our own food and eat what was on our plan. Food prepping was amazing. It made life so much easier and only took a few hours on Sunday to not have to worry for the first four days of the week.
The challenges came when family and friends wanted to go out to eat or have drinks on the weekends. In the beginning, I would have to say no, but after a while I could go and make good decisions or, when closer to my goal, I could choose to have something I wanted, as long as I did everything in moderation, kept it under control, and stuck to the program most of the time.
How supportive were your family and friends throughout this experience?
My family and friends are not very active and like to eat out a lot for entertainment, so in the beginning I would just have to say no. I can’t go to the restaurant, I have to cook my own food at home and no, I can’t go here or there, I have to go to the gym. Over time, as you learn, you can continue to keep your exercise schedule, and eat right most of the time and then you can go out and make a good decision or eat anything you want every once in a while, as long as you don’t make it an everyday habit. Your family and friends also become accustomed to your new lifestyle and they know, oh yeah today is your gym day or oh yeah, you cook most your meals at home.
Are you continuing to lose weight?
I am currently in my goal weight range and working on maintaining my weight, toning my muscles, and having the ability to do things I never thought I would be able to, like jogging. I would like to continue to see and feel progress with lifelong learning and making this part of my lifestyle.
What lifestyle changes have you made because of this program?
Sundays I meal prep for Monday through Thursday, and I go to the gym Monday through Thursday as part of my regular life schedule. This way I work the hardest in the beginning of the week and get to be a little more relaxed on the weekends, any active things I do then are just a bonus.
Did you suffer from any health issues before the weight loss?
Lots of stomach issues, always hurting, joints, inflammation problems, feet hurting, back and neck pain, tight muscles andmuscle cramps. I would sweat a lot, creating anxiety or panic, which in turn would make me sweat more (vicious cycle). A lot of issues.
What advice would you give to our readers regarding the program and just changing their eating lifestyle in general?
If you follow the program, you will succeed. You will feel so amazing. Your confidence level will rise. Your energy level will rise. You will have less health problems. You will have less depression. People around you will notice and react to your changes. In public and with friends and family, I get a lot of positive reactions because of my happiness, positivity and confidence.
What does your exercise program look like?
Right now I exercise four times a week, Monday through Thursday. It is a part of my daily routine just like going to work. Friday through Sunday I take off. If I exercise or do active things on those days, it is extra. Two days a week I do a class called MX4 (high intensity interval training) and two days a week I have personal training. On those days, I have added a short jog. I know that personal training is expensive, but since I did not know how to exercise in the gym, I invested in three months of training to learn. I spend money on other things and this is in investment in me learning to be healthy.