REBORN Success Story – Helen Butler
My name is Helen Butler and I am a stay at home mom. Growing up, I always thought I was fat. Looking back at pictures, I have no idea why I ever thought that. Like a lot of kids, I went through different phases of being “pleasantly plump” to being thin. I am only 5’ tall so 5lbs of weight on me seems to be more obvious then it is on someone who is 5’5” tall.
It seems my metabolism started slowing down when I was around 25 or 26. I couldn’t lose any extra weight as quickly as I did before, and the weight was starting to pile on. I was able to get back on track with a diet change.
In 1999, my husband Jason and I decided to try and have kids. I didn’t have the easiest time with my pregnancies. I was pregnant 4 times and have 2 healthy girls. While we are blessed with our daughters, they did a number on my body. They also didn’t make it any easier to get back in to shape.
I tried going back to the gym, but that didn’t last very long. Every time I started working out, I would get paged by the daycare because my kids would not stop crying for me. Then I thought I would try training for a marathon because I could run while pushing a stroller. I was doing great with this training and started seeing results. I was able to run 7 miles without stopping but was told by a couple of doctors to stop because of problems with my knee. Frustrated, I just stopped trying. I decided to just focus on my kids and to help my ailing parents.
I always stress to my kids how important it is to eat healthy and exercise. The best way to teach them is to lead by example. When my youngest daughter was finally old enough to start school, I made the decision to try again. I went to the gym and took different classes like Zumba and Body Pump. These were a lot of fun, but the classes would fill up fast, so I couldn’t always get in. If I was lucky enough to get in, it was hard to find a spot because of the class was full, and it was only good if the person teaching the class was good. The turnover rate for these instructors was high. After a few years of doing that and just working out on my own, I needed a change. I tried the video’s P90x and Insanity. These videos were great for the 1st couple of times, but I got bored. Not to mention, because I did them from home, my workouts would get interrupted by someone at the front door, a phone call, or if my kids were home they would walk in on me.
Jason mentioned some friends that did this thing called CrossFit and they seemed to enjoy it. I happened to have a friend who also did Crossfit and she encouraged me to give it a try. The idea of small class sizes, a different workout every day, and personal guidance from a coach was really appealing to me. I Googled CrossFit in Round Rock and low and behold CrossFit Round Rock appeared.
At the time, CFRR had a program called Elements that everyone wanting to join had to go through to start classes. I signed up and met Coach Landon. He took me through the basics of the different powerlifting movements, talked about posture and form, and the different exercises that I would encounter during an actual class. Once Elements was over and I was ready for class, I couldn’t wait to start.
My 1st day at CFRR was January 02, 2012. The workout, 5K run. I didn’t run (because of my knee problem) so I rowed the 5K. The whole time, I thought to myself, “I paid for the month. Let me just get through this month and I will find something else.” Not the best 1st day ever. By the way, I finished in 29:38. The workouts after that day were a lot more fun and I decided to stay and have been doing CrossFit on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30 am ever since. In fact, I consider this to be my time. I do not schedule appointments or plan anything during this time if it can be avoided.
I was getting physically and mentally stronger and my clothes started fitting me better. I’m not sure how many pounds I may have lost at that time because I didn’t ever weigh myself. I judged everything on how my clothes felt. After a couple of years, I wasn’t noticing any more changes. I knew I was still overweight, but it wasn’t until Coach Landon recommended a body comp to get a better idea of where I was on the charts. It wasn’t good. Exercise alone is not going to get me back to a healthy weight. I needed to change my eating habits.
The food I ate was not necessarily bad food. I ate a lot of lean cuts of meats and veggies, but I also ate rice, pastas, bread, and I tended to snack on things, even if I wasn’t hungry. I thought that if I just cut down on the amount of those foods, I would lose weight. In other words, I wasn’t ready to make the commitment and change my eating habits. It would take a couple more years of body comps going down and up in body fat % for me to finally commit to making the changes in my diet I needed to get the results I wanted.
The summer of 2016, after doing Crossfit for 4 1/2 years, I made the commitment to make the change in my diet. Landon helped me by putting me on a 1200 calorie a day diet (doesn’t sound like much, but remember, I am only 5’ tall). My diet consisted of 30% fat, 30% carb, and 40% protein. The carbs were mostly from veggies and fruits. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I’m half Filipino, and grew up eating rice for practically every meal. Controlling the amount of rice to eat was too hard so I had to cut it out completely and eat cauliflower rice instead. I also cut out pasta and bread and learned that I wasn’t eating enough fats and protein.
My journey has not been easy. I have had a couple of set back’s. The holidays are particularly difficult and this past holiday, I had surgery on a pre-existing condition and felt the pounds creeping back on. My husband and Landon both told me not to beat myself up. Don’t go crazy, but enjoy the holidays, heal from surgery, and get back on track when I get back to the gym. It turns out I only gained a couple of pounds, so I am relieved and now back on track.
I would like to thank everyone at CFRR for their encouragement while on my journey, especially Coach Landon for not giving up on me. I’m sure it is frustrating, as a coach, to try and help someone who is not ready to do what it takes to reach their goals. Thanks to my daughters for their understanding with my diet changes. Most of all, I want to thank my husband for his love and support in everything I want to do.