Marylis Hannah

I'm in the spotlight?!?! I must have read the email twice to let it sink in. And of course, my first instinct is to run from the spotlight, as it tends to make me shy and stumble over my words. But as 212 has never steered me wrong, I chose to accept this incredible honor. But the next part...what to write? For those of you who do not know me well, sharing is not my strong suit. However, it seems to me that sharing my journey might be beneficial to at least a few of you out there who might identify with it. So here it is...My chance to be brave and push myself that extra degree...

I have battled my weight since before high school, I have been too thin, too heavy and have had some of the worst eating habits to return to a goal of being thin. The scale has been an endless enemy and on that I started to shy away from. Sometime last year I reached 242lbs, a heart breaking number. I'd been battling injuries from a car accident for several years, along with a lifetime of sports injuries resulting from not knowing my own limits. The stress in my job drained me and my need to make sure others needs were met before my own, left very little in the tank for me. And with every step forward I made, there seemed to be another mental or physical hurdle. But how lucky I was that there was also 212! No matter what challenges the day brought me or what mindset I entered the gym with, Kerry, Colin or even other members were there to see some uplifting element that made the day better. Since weight wasn't the goal I could work on without feeling defeat, my trainers Kerry and Colin pushed me to try new athletic challenges (strongman competitions, Tough Mudders, endurance kettlebell training, Dragon Boat Racing), allowing me to believe in myself and feel proud of an accomplishment. 

This summer brought about several changes in my life, which freed my mind up for new challenges. Although I still battled with a back injury, I finally started to question whether I could start looking at that scale again and working towards a healthy goal. And after probing and questioning, I finally took the leap of faith and made the commitment to myself to join the Jeans Challenge. A structured program with clear set rules, a financial stake, and amazing cheerleaders and coaches have brought me to a goal I would never have set for myself. Today I am 216lbs, I have lost close to 25lbs of fat, gained muscle and lowered my visceral fat level by 4 points. So that is the physical change many of you have seen and complimented me on. And I would like to thank you all for your support. But the change I am most proud the mental one. I have very few days now where I require the staff or others to pick me up or be my sole motivator. I seem to have found my internal motivation again and this is what I hope continues me on the road to being that much more healthy. To all of you, I challenge you to allow the amazing people at 212 to help you reach your goals. Clearly following their direction works!

In the spirit of the new year, I share with you all my new goals that with the support of 212, I believe I can achieve: 1) I will continue to lower my visceral fat level to a healthy level, 2) I will complete at least one pull up without the band supporting me, and 3) I will continue to work on keeping my mind healthy by taking time to acknowledge my gains instead of critiquing my missteps.