“I was at the end of myself and ready to do something about it. I never thought I’d lose 70 pounds. Didn’t think I would be as empowered as I am…as a woman.”
Name: Anne Clinton
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Passions: Sewing, Snow Skiing, Exercise (Now! Who knew?), The Beach, Cooking
Family: Stephen, married 18 years, Joseph, 15, Anne Holland, 13, Andrew, 11
Anne walks into The Good Cup dressed in jeans and a form-fitting flowered wrap. Her eyes are bright and she’s smiling. We’re meeting to talk about her fitness and weight loss journey since joining Form Fitness. Anne attended college at Vanderbilt University. She married in 1998 and then moved back to the area from Memphis in 1999. She and her family live in the Cottonwood neighborhood, where they have lived since moving to Franklin. “We had a day to look at 30 houses. I remembered the neighborhood from college. It was afternoon, we drove up to the house, and I said, ‘This is the one!’ It reminded me of how I grew up.” Anne loves to travel, loves the beach. “I love to be with my family, my kids.”
You said you were a little nervous about sharing your story… why is that?
I’m not a big talker about myself. I prefer to blend into the background.
Have you always been like that?
No, I would not say I was like that in high school and college.
Sometimes when you’re overweight…it’s hard to put yourself out there. For so many years I’ve maintained a surface level with people; I have a few close friends I’ve shared my story with. I love to listen to everyone else’s story, but sharing mine…[Laughs.]
So, why now? You’re ready?
Yes, I think it’s God’s timing. He has a good way of knowing the right time. I’ve done every weight loss plan known to man and I never met a goal—not once. I’ve always gotten injured. Then, I would go back to what I was doing before. I came to Kelly with that thought. I was at the end of myself and ready to do something about it. But, I still thought, “I don’t know why this will work. Nothing else has.”
When was that?
I read Denise Gilreath’s blog in December , and I saw it on Facebook. Daggumit, I was ready. I had to do something because I was so miserable and uncomfortable! Nothing fit! I had to get to the point where I did it for me. Then, on Facebook, there was a New Year’s special, and I thought, Why not?” I hit the button and signed up for three days a week. I hadn’t worked out in years—years! I knew I had to do the combination of exercise and nutrition. It wasn’t like I had to lose a mere 20 pounds.
How much have you lost so far?
I know, it’s crazy! I walked in and had my consultation with Kelly. I had 90 pounds to lose to get to a healthy weight. It was a total wake up call. Exercise—Form Fitness—is a vehicle to all of this other stuff unfolding [inside]. Kelly had no clue what was coming through the door. Yes, I came to exercise. And, it was really, really hard. I went in with stipulations: “I’m not walking on my off days.” “This is all I can give.” Doing the nutrition—and there’s something about the movement at Form—letting myself do something I wasn’t good at…I don’t know. It was just crazy. Kelly, with the empathy she has—she is a really good listener. I told her yesterday, “I’m eating my lunch and counting my blessings, thanking God for bringing an angel into my life in the form of a trainer.” I never thought I’d lose 70 pounds. Didn’t think I would be as empowered as I am…as a woman. I feel like I can do more things. I didn’t think I’d transform like I did. I’m so emotional about it. It’s been a 180 degree turnaround. I don’t like to talk about myself, but if it helps one person, then I’ll do it. Every day people are saying something to me. “What the heck are you doing?” I say, “It’s in Grassland, right in front of your house!” Over the years, I put everything on hold to be a mom, and I let that take over. I kind of lost who I was. Then, I decided to do something for me and…and, here I am.
The best thing is to be a mother, however, I don’t think we’re supposed to put a box around what that looks like.
Yes. I signed up at Form, and I had friends ask what time I worked out. I said, “Four fifteen.” They said, “My gosh, how are you going to do it?” And I thought, I’m fine. I’m doing this for me. “We will figure it out, and the kids are better for it.” I had to decide that the hour was for me, and it was ok.
We often come to Kelly carrying more than extra weight…And, we walk out shedding more than a few sizes and extra pounds…Did you come into Form Fitness carrying something else?
Yes…I came carrying shame.
Shame is a horrible feeling.
Yes, but I didn’t know what shame really was. Kelly texted me one day, “I want you to go for a walk. It’s a pretty day. Get some fresh air, breathe, think, listen.” Another friend had sent me a podcast to listen to, and I thought, “Great! I’ll listen on my walk.” And so, I did. I listened to “The Power of Vulnerability” by Bréne Brown. A lightbulb went off—that’s what I was carrying: the shame of being overweight for a long time. I didn’t feel good about myself. I couldn’t do a lot of things. When I went on an overnight trip with my son, there was a ride I couldn’t get on because I weighed too much. I don’t want to be that limited.
Have you shed something that surprises you?
I had this…feeling of unworthiness, and I don’t know where it came from. It’s [mostly] shed now. It will pop up, but it’s pretty much gone. I did this. I’ve lost 70 pounds! My husband described it the other day. “Anne, you used to throw your hands up at things and say you couldn’t do it. But, when you started at Form, you flipped a switch. You accomplished a goal.” He’s right, and he’s my biggest cheerleader. I’m still losing weight. It’s a journey, like peeling an onion. Along with the nutrition and exercise, I feel like I’ve shed the feeling of unworthiness. It’s sad being a Christian and saying that, but it’s true.
This is your story…if you could tell yourself something a year, or 5 years ago, about this journey and about your life now, what would you say?
That I’m worth it. [She laughs, then tears up.] You get it. It’s almost laughable, because I didn’t think that.
Give me three words…
What do you want to say to Kelly?
[Laughs.] The whole thing is incredible. “Thank you!” I don’t know if she knows how valuable she is in this place. Life-changing. Hope-filled. I think that’s my best way to describe it.
I have a hard time accepting compliments, but I train myself to say, “Thank you.” This [interview] helps me tell my story. People ask what I’m doing. When you take away all of the poor coping skills—comfort food, sonic drinks, sugar, any vice like that—when it’s stripped away because you’re trying to get healthy, all the real stuff is in your face.
Trainer Kelly Kanski:
Because being overweight can be such an emotional struggle, it tends to dominate your awareness and can be completely overwhelming! It becomes your identity, something you have to hide behind. It was really important for Anne to reframe being overweight within the context of her whole life. She was NOT Anne Clinton, overweight mother of three! She is Anne Clinton, strong, compassionate, and fearless! And now, her physical transformation is a reflection of that. At Form, she gains additional resources—encouragement, accountability, education, and insight to help her identify with who she really is. And let me just say, this girl is a fighter, I’m amazed at her strength!
In the words of Dr. Larry Dossey, “Health [wellness] is not static like a machine but is rather a constant and continuous process, like an unfinished symphony, absorbing what is happening so that it can shape the next movement.”
Anne has redefined her own wellness. She’s created a new harmony, using all of her resources. I am thankful to be one of them.
Originally published on Form Fitness “Success Stories” and corresponding FF social media platforms. Form Fitness©2016.