If you’re reading this, thanks already.
My best friend lost 100 lbs.
Yup, damn straight. 100 FRICKEN’ pounds, and I had the absolute privilege of watching from the passenger seat and she drove her way to her goal like an absolute warrior.
Telling the story of this impeccable journey from the passengers perspective is never the same, but I am here to give it my best shot.
Syd will never be the one to toot her own horn, so leave it to me to shout her greatness from the mountain tops:
Back in 2016, my email inbox welcomed one of the BEST messages I have ever received.
A beautiful, smart, athletic, overweight, and utterly depressed woman reached out to @perfectfit4u in hopes of achieving weight loss in a progressive, realistic manner that took into account her sabotaged emotional relationship with food, and her inability to complete the majority of a “typical” mid-twenty-year old females exercise regime due to her current unexplained back pain. She even cried a little as she submitted her initial start photos. It was real and raw. Nonetheless, she was willing to work through it. ALL of it.
Something about her energy, even through email, 14+ hours away, was magnetizing to me. She didn’t make excuses, she was genuine, she listened to me- and she always took a set-back and gave it a positive spin. I became so impressed with this chick. Her mindset. Her work ethic. Her adherence to a nutrition program despite NO exercise, multiple narcotic prescriptions and DAILY excruciating pain. She was still doing it. ALL of it.
And, so began our more intimate coach:client relationship. When I believe in someone, I go all in. With Syd, I was awe-struck. I became completely invested. I talked about her to my friends, to my “boyfriend” (at the time), to anyone to who would listen, really. I couldn’t believe the resiliency this woman had. I was impressed to say the least.
We pen-palled often. She blogged. I read EVERY one. She emailed. I’d scroll through Perfectfit4u inboxes to find her messages first thing Monday mornings. I posted on Instagram, she always double-tapped. Through our virtual connection, we built a pretty dang good relationship off-the-hop.
We stopped talking about her “nutrition” and “workouts” and instead, she used me as a soundboard for her own personal development and struggles. Syd was currently living the absolute worst year of her life, and she always made the effort with me. Without EVER meeting one another, she began providing ME life advice through her messages. She provided ME motivation. She reminded ME to express gratitude for the small things, to get on the floor and play with my dog, to appreciate my bodies ability to run. I remember it ALL. She had impact. With all the shit she had going on in her life, she STILL managed to spread the good into me. Now, THAT’S a good f*ckin’ human.
Syd used our virtual discussions as a positive coping mechanism to make it through her escalating and eventually debilitating pain days. I read every word. I read about her struggles, I read about her official diagnosis after months of doctors and specialist visits. I read about her surgery in Germany, about her plane trip, her cousin, her future goals for post-op, I read it all from across the country, from across the world, from across the other side of the screen. And then, I had the privilege to be a part of it.
At the time, we didn’t have a CLUE of the mountains of setbacks and pain (literal) this woman would have to bare to accomplish her goals- BUT, I DID however, always know that she would do whateverit was that she set out to do. She’s just one of “those people”. The ones with follow-through. The ones that look at a challenge and immediately break it down into bite size pieces to make it manageable and achievable. She does this alongside a yearly calendar and bullet-journal goal list that is colour-coded perfectly. She’s just one of them. She’s impeccable with her word, she’s resilient AF and she’s one of the toughest females I’ve ever encountered. Oh, did I mention she does what she says she gonna do? Follow through. Goal-digger. Trend-setter. LEADER. She’s MY kind of girl.
So when I received a video of Sydney’s FIRST steps post spine-surgery, with an email stating “I am ready to start training now” – I knew damn straight she was on a path to greatness. I watched as Syd trudged her 240 lbs. body with a walker up and titanium spine up 3 hospital stairs. And, she was elated.
Her FIRST steps in 18 months then turned into a hallway stretch of movement, then to the German streets, then to the Canadian pavement. She began the recovery process of returning to her mobile and athletic self and she drove towards her goal without hesitation or disbelief. What a lucky passenger I have been to bare witness to this greatness.
Months following the surgery, we finally met face to face. Solidifying this year long online friendship in-person prompted me to ask Sydney to be a guest-speaker at our first annual Perfectfit4u Gala. I knew she could write, I knew she was inspirational, and I knew she would deliver.
She was petrified. She had so much self-doubt she felt the need to explain to me in 10 different ways why she might not be the best person for the job. I wasn’t buying it. Like I said, I believed in her.. and she’s just one of “those people” – you can trust her. I had no doubt. I never do.
Let’s just say, she knocked it out of the park, folks. Anyone who was there that night sat with tears in their eyes as we learnt in detail the about her journey. This girl had a spark. We needed her. I knew she could help people. She needed to help people.
As the personal development, positive, goal-setting individual she was, Syd happened to have a large VISION board posted in her bedroom full of reminders of her post-op goals- one of the top listed visions: WORK for #Perfectfit4u. I had no idea of this intention at the time, but the Universe was on to something.
By the following month, I reached out to Sydney (although she was living in Victoria, BC at the time), and I offered her a part-time position working for Perfectfit4u IF she’d be willing to move to Lethbridge. I didn’t ask for a resume, I didn’t ask for a reference- I just KNEW with every cell in my body I needed Sydney as part of my business. I was SO right.
Rob and I were open to custom-creating a position for her based upon her current physical restrictions. Her FIRST job in years, and her first job post-chronic pain and post-op.
We needed her energy and expertise as part of our PF4U Family, so we went for it. A sit-to-stand desk, flexible working hours, home-office opportunities, text and email motivation, newsletter creation, you name it. Our new “Accountability Coach” (the official job title) was the Perfect-fit for Sydney. So, she packed up, and she came to Lethbridge to begin her renewed able-bodied life.
When I believe in someone, I go all in. I knew she was special and I knew she had the education, knowledge and determination to make an impeccable coach. I was SO right.
Don’t get me wrong. Her progress to 100 lbs. loss wasn’t a straight line of success from the moments she took those steps on video. I think it needs to be clear that Syd did NOT get her entire life back with surgery, Syd did NOT heal her relationship with food over night. Syd worked THROUGH these things and she still does. She works DESPITE setbacks. She works CONSISTENTLY with patience and passion and perseverance.
Even from the sidelines the struggles Sydney faces are EVIDENT. She is STILL living and pushing through chronic pain Every. Single. Day. But, she’s doing it with a smile on her face.
I still see Syd wince when we hit a speed bump in my car, I still see her stand and shift uncomfortably when the food takes too long at the restaurant. I still see Syd pull back when she WANTS to push forward cause she’s learning about her body. I also see Syd push too hard and learn the hard way with pain flares that have lasted weeks. I’ve seen Syd crush outdoor runs, hundreds of concrete steps and hikes along the beach. I’ve also had to support her so she could simply stand from her bed, adjust her positioning on her heating pad, or get to the bathroom and finally brush her hair. THAT is still her reality some days, and as someone who is watching from the passenger seat, I want others to know this.
This whole weight loss thing was NOT easy, it wasn’t 5x per week workouts, it wasn’t 20% deficit nutrition and it wasn’t constant success. It was not typical. This 100 lbs. was Sydney’s metamorphosis into a new woman: a woman who understands, listens and honours her body, a woman who is learning to take breaks, to take a grandiose goal and chunk it into bite size pieces, a woman who loves and appreciates her body: THAT, more than anything, is the transformation I want people to see.
The moment I saw the 137 lbs. value on that screen, I melted. 103 lbs. gone. Holy. Shit. I screamed, I squealed, I cried, I jumped for joy. Those are the moments in life that stick with you forever- cause it wasn’t the WEIGHT loss we were celebrating, it was the journey to get there. When she arrived, it meant a lot.
So, here we are, 3 years, 100 lbs, MANY laughs, some tears and countless smiles later, Syd reached her weight loss goal and there are NO signs of her slowing down her fitness-roll anytime soon. As always- she got goals, and of course, she’s got follow-through.
Who knew a one liner email back in 2016 could stimulate a friendship like this.
That email has now granted me a new best friend, a gold-star employee, and an unbelievable success story to share with you all.
But most importantly, that email granted me new perspective. It granted me someone in my life who reminds me to be grateful, who reinforces the appreciation I need to have for my body, who understands life struggles of all forms and someone conjures up the perfect response every time when you need her. She just get’s it.
What started out as a “client” looking for a coach, has now blossomed into SO much more.
So thank you, Syd, for teaching, coaching, and inspiring me and EVERYONE else who is lucky enough to call you a friend, sister, daughter and coach.
If you want to become inspired, give Sydney a FOLLOW on INSTAGRAM HERE!
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Congratulations Syd. You did it.