By Sarah B
One quiet weekend this past July, I had the rare occasion to be home in Boston. I say rare because for the last 20 years I have been filling my weekends either working a part time job or jetting off to the Cape or Nantucket. I willingly work a Part Time job for something to do... not because I need the money - that's a bonus.
So there I was, bopping around my apartment, making mental lists of things I needed to do... Declutter! Declutter closets, drawers, desk, bookshelves... never ending. But before I could start.. I was feeling hungry. That's always a good excuse to postpone a major task... but it was also fate.
It occurred to me that it was the middle of July and I had yet to eat a lobster roll! Growing up in New England, I feel we're anointed the God Given right to be connoisseurs of lobster rolls. Living on the Cape for most of my life, I've tasted my fair share of lobster rolls. Until EvenTide.
THE BEST lobster roll I have ever tasted can be found at EvenTide in Portland, ME. The only way I can describe it is hot, buttery, lobster meat-buds, mixed w/ ritz crackers in a hot butter-sponge drippy lobster roll kissed with angels tears. OMG. And I had heard a rumor that EvenTide was opening a location in the Fenway area; conveniently close to my apartment. There they were: EvenTide's magic lobster rolls... at my beck & call, in my neighborhood... Must. Have. One.
The taillights on the "To Do List" bus were growing dimmer in the distance as I logged onto my computer and Googled "Why the hell is it taking EvenTide so long to open in Boston.." In addition to eating this buttery, mouth watering, mind blowing lobster roll - I LOVE going out to new bars/restaurants by myself. I find I meet the BEST people and always have an interesting evening of it. It was a practice I learned from my Mom. It was a sport for her.
The results of my search came back and I found myself suddenly drawn, like butter (see what I did there?), to an article about EvenTide in Boston Magazine. And that, my friends, is the exact point when everything changed. One click. The review for EvenTide came up... along with an article about BodyBurn by Ray's 12 Week Body Transformation Challenge. Right under it. I'm not sure how buttery lobster rolls and working out cross pollinated in my search, but it did and for that I am grateful. http://www.bostonmagazine.com/ health/blog/2017/06/29/ bodyburn-transformation- contest/.
I remember saying, "I should be checking out gyms and fitness studios INSTEAD of the latest trending restaurant/bar." I was overwhelmed with the prospect of a total transformation. This could be the "thing" finally, that helps me turn my life around.
Now, I'm a big believer in signs... and folks... this burned brighter than 100 CITGO signs..."BodyBurn by Ray, a fitness studio based in Belmont, is sponsoring a total transformation for one lucky person. Over the course of 12 weeks, local businesses will help the winner get in shape, clean up his or her diet, and embrace a whole new look." I have no DOUBT in my mind that this was all coming from my folks. I imagine them watching my life unravel and self implode helplessly from above waiting and praying for me to stumble on this article. And to take action!
Hot Tub Time Machine back to 2014 which was one of the best years of my life. I had completed a Whole 45-ish, which resulted in a noticeable weight loss and was reaping the benefits. I had met Gene and was in the throws of a exciting new relationship. I loved my job. My parents were both alive. We had our home on the Cape. This world I knew and loved unraveled in a chain-reaction. 1. Dec. 2014 - Gene broke up with me via text out of no-where. I was forbidden to contact him. 2. Mar / April 2015 - My Dad's health was failing and passed away in July 2015. 3. Aug. 2015 - My mom's health started failing and remained hospitalized / rehabbed / assisted living / hospice until her death in Aug. 2016. 4. July 2015 - My ex-husband and I finalize our divorce 5. Oct. 2015 - Laid off from Mobiquity. 6. Oct. 2016 - Sold our Cape house and moved a lifetime of memories into a 12" x 12" storage unit while selling the rest no one wanted. I was also trying to comprehend the sharp reality that I didn't have a place on the Cape to go to anymore.
But the BIGGEST blow was losing my mom. If you think Joan and Melissa Rivers were close... Estelle and I had those ladies beat. My mom was my cheerleader and champion especially when it came to my ever changing waistline.
The toll all this took on me physically and emotionally was major. I was exhausted. Done. The only thing I enjoyed doing was going home to watch TV and drink a bottle (yep! I have wine glasses that hold 32 ozs) of wine. That started a few times a week to every night. I didn't care. The people I cared about and who cared about me where gone. So whatever I did, didn't matter. I lost my sense of purpose, drive and a desire to be healthy.
There were some failed attempts at health... I joined Waltham Athletic Club. I hired a personal trainer for 5 sessions and never did anything with it. Fast Forward to this past Mar/April where I dropped close to a thousand dollars on "Performance Weight Loss" to swab DNA out of my cheek, test it and tell me which positive and negative foods my system is affected by. I wasn't impressed with the results and I also wasn't exercising. Period.
Considering I had NOTHING to lose, (except for 40+ lbs) and seeing as my other efforts at a health regime were pathetic... It felt like a force from beyond guided my mouse to my email where I hit "compose" and drafted a heartfelt cry for help to Ray and his team. I had no idea what my chances of winning were or how big this contest was, but I hit send and didn't look back.
In fact, I had almost forgotten about it until Ray and Rich called me one afternoon while I was on my way home from work. Screaming "NO WAY!! NO WAAAAAY!!!" over and over. I could barely hear them tell me I was one of 3 finalists. A Finalist. Not the Winner. They wanted to know why this contest was so important to me and what I would do if I won. I broke down. I felt like this challenge was my life-line connecting me to my parents who had clearly set this up for me and were guiding me back to a healthy life from beyond. Sound wacky? That is how close my mom and I were. Ours was an unbroken bond. She's STILL taking care of me. I know this.
My answers were this. I tried everything, nothing is working. I've also lost my support system. I eat pretty good (Whole 30-ish for the most part) yet I have no exercise routine or accountability. If I win this, I want to be a mentor and example to other women going through a devastating period and show them it is possible to transform yourself especially later on in life. I've also never built muscles to tone my body... ever.. and I was really excited to work w/ a trainer for 12 weeks to do that. I wanted it. I wanted my old life back. I wanted my confidence and my sexy back. I wanted to start with this 12 week challenge and use it to map out the rest of my life, by myself, on my own.
I think the game changer was this: I went to the www.bodyburnbyray.com website and saw they were offering free boot camps on the Esplanade. Here I am, a finalist in a contest with a fitness studio... might be nice to meet these people in person and get an idea of what I could be getting myself into... I laugh because I took the T to the Hatch Shell versus walking... but I got there. The set up seemed legit and I found Ray & Rich instantly. I walked right up to them and said, "Hey - I'm Sarah Begley" - and after a round of hugs, I looked at Ray and said, "I'm not a finalist... I'm a winner."
And on Sept. 1st, one day after my mom's 87th birthday, it was announced that I had won the 12 Week Total Body Transformation challenge!!