Not long ago, Aimee Anderson could barely walk up a flight of stairs. She weighed 260 pounds and her blood pressure was 165/100. Diagnosed with stage two hypertension, Aimee was at risk of developing heart disease, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure. Worst of all, she was only 23 years old—and headed in the wrong direction.
How did it happen? Bad habits—beginning in her teens.
“Throughout my teenage years, my weight would yo-yo, going up and down,” Aimee said. “However, each time it went up, it would be higher than the last time. At age 16, when I got my driver’s license, things got worse. I was then able to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I practically lived off of fast food, because I enjoyed it so much.”
The fast food and soda habits that Aimee developed as a teenager carried over into her college years and beyond.
“It became typical for me to binge on fast food once or twice a day and to drink at least eight cans of Pepsi or Mountain Dew each day,” Aimee said. “This continued until I weighed 260 pounds. At that point, I was constantly tired.”
The Turning Point
In July of 2014, Aimee and her boyfriend joined Anytime Fitness in Concord Township, OH on a one-week trial basis.
“I had lost a couple pounds on my own, but I knew I needed to get active,” Aimee said. “Anytime Fitness of Concord had been recommended to me by a friend. I had been nervous to join a gym because I was afraid of being judged. However, the owners of the gym [Anna Dey and her father, Von Hollingsworth] were friendly from the beginning. I also took advantage of the 24/7 availability, frequently going to the gym late at night. Once I started going to the club, I found I enjoyed working out and actually looked forward to it.”
Small Victories Key to Big Changes
“I tried to celebrate the “small victories” along the way, as I knew I had a lot of weight to lose,” Aimee said. “In addition to celebrating each 10-pound loss milestone, I had many exercise victories. The first time I ran one mile on the treadmill, I ran into Anna’s office to tell her so that we could celebrate together. My other “small victories” include many 5K races, half marathons, changed eating habits (no longer binge-eating) and smaller clothing sizes (from a 26 down to a size 7/8). I had started to believe I could do this.”
In addition to creating new exercise habits, Aimee learned the value of meal preparation.
“Consistency is so important,” Aimee says. “Preparing healthy meals each week has been crucial to achieving and maintaining my fitness goals.”
Since losing 100 pounds—and keeping the weight off for more than a year—Aimee has been enjoying herself more and doing things she never thought possible.
“One of my proudest accomplishments is completing a ’24 miles in 24 hours challenge’ a few months ago,” Aimee said. “Several other club members and I ran one mile per hour for 24 consecutive hours to raise money for a local non-profit organization this past. This was the most physically demanding thing I have ever done.”
Last month, Aimee married the love of her life, Tim Anderson, whom she credits with helping her develop new habits and stick to them. Tim, by the way, has lost more than 50 pounds since joining Anytime Fitness with Aimee two years ago.
As for advice to others on developing good habits, Aimee’s recommendations are simple: “Never give up. Any progress or milestone, no matter how small, is still progress and a step in the right direction and should be celebrated.”