Crossing the line

This article originally appeared in Muscle and Fitness in August 2004
Crossing The Line (Muscle & Fitness) - August 2004

By Ashlyn Izumo

I've been a prisoner to obesity since childhood. In 1999, at the age of 33, I hit an all-time high of 289 pounds. Over the next three years, I got divorced, and my 9-year-old son Brandt was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Exercise, though new to me, helped me deal with those challenges. By January 2003, I had lost more than 80 pounds. I could see the finish line, but I just wasn't motivated to cross it. That March I started training with my friend Eric Yamashita, a personal trainer at Gold's Gym. In 24 weeks I lost 44 more pounds.

But then my old behaviors resurfaced. I made excuses and cancelled workouts. On Sept. 29, 2003, I called Eric in tears. He wouldn't let me quit. He taught me to reach inside, keep going and have faith that results would come. On Dec. 6, I crossed that finish line: I weighed 151 pounds with 16% bodyfat. I loved me for the first time in my life.

How I Did It * In the beginning I could do only eight minutes of Tae-Bo, but I did it in the morning and again at night, and I've since far surpassed that. When my son was in the hospital, I'd do Tae-Bo or run (well, maybe walk) the stairs. Today I enjoy weightlifting, Spinning class and running for an hour at a time. I also have a new training partner--Brandt, who is now 13 and enjoys working out, too.

Brandt and Eric deserve so much credit, as they have both been a big encouragement in my life. Three years ago, at 289 pounds, I would have never imagined being asked to appear in MUSCLE & FITNESS magazine!