Monroe County YMCA Blog

Bloomington, Indiana

Choosing Fitness – Meet Sue Reynolds

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When the Y asked me to write this blog for their website, I was excited by the opportunity to talk with others about starting (and sustaining) a transformation journey.  I’m on a journey too!

My journey involves losing weight and gaining fitness.  It’s a journey that I started in 2012 when I weighed 335 pounds and could not walk more than 100 feet without gasping for air.  After staring a sound nutrition plan and exercising, I dropped to 285 pounds, walked in my first 5k, and was thrilled to finish.  I finished last but felt like I had won the Boston Marathon!  At 230 pounds, I did my first triathlon and again, was thrilled to finish!  The nice thing about endurance sports is that finishing is the goal, rather than going fast.  Everyone gets to celebrate!  And in 2016, at 135 pounds, I competed on behalf of the United States at the Triathlon World Championship in Mexico.  This time, I wasn’t last.  I finished 11th in the world in my 60-64 age group!  Crazy!

This blog is not about me.  It’s about you.  When I was at 335 pounds, a LOT of people helped inspire me as I thought about staring a transformation journey.  One person who made a huge impact on my life was Trish who lost 100 pounds!  Before reading about Trish, I didn’t even know that was possible to lose that much weight without surgery!  Trish gave me a new understanding of what was possible.  She gave me hope.  If, through this blog, I could bring that understanding and hope to just one other person, it would bring me great joy.

So . . . in this blog, I’ll share ideas and tips that helped me along the way.  Hopefully, my story and lessons learned will help others begin and sustain their own get-fit journeys.

heavy-jpegWhen I was overweight, I hated having people take pictures of me.  At a result, I don’t have a lot of “heavy” pictures.  In this one, I was 59 years old and weighed over 335 pounds.

Although grossly overweight, I was a generally happy person with a wonderful family and a job that I loved.  But at that size, there were so many things I could not do.  Some of my limitations were due to my size.  I couldn’t fit in a restaurant booth or fasten a seat belt around me.  Some limitations were due to my fitness level.  I couldn’t walk more than 100 feet and had trouble standing and talking at the same time which made giving speeches at work challenging.  Other limitations were due to my pride.  Although I love swimming, I never swam because was too embarrassed to put on a bathing suit.

But the worst was that I couldn’t tie my own shoes!  Every morning, my husband would have to put my shoes on my feet.  I hated that.

So why did I eat?  Mainly to stay awake.  I loved my job and often worked around the clock.  To stay awake, I ate whatever was convenient.  My “go to” food was cookies – lots of cookies!  🙂

post-worlds-jpegToday, I don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror or see myself in photos.  In this photo, I am 62 years old and 135 pounds.  It was taken in 2016 at the World Sprint Triathlon Championship in Mexico. What a thrill to compete on behalf of the United States with athletes from around the world representing the best in their country!  To finish 11th in the world was absolutely mind-boggling!  I am still dumbfounded by this crazy journey.

But . . . I didn’t start out with this goal in mind.  In fact, I didn’t have any goal in mind other than being able to tie my shoes.

My first exercise was a walk to my neighbor’s mailbox – about 100 feet.  I held onto my husband’s arm for support.  Each week, I’d walk to one more mailbox.  Today, I swim, bike, run or lift weights six days a week with double workouts on some days.  My blood pressure is now normal and my resting heart rate has gone from 90 to 44.  I have wonderful friends that I’ve met through my journey, and I can get down on the floor to play with my grandkids – heaven!

Your journey will be different.   Who knows where your good choices will take you?!!  Wherever it is, I know it will be exciting!

Finally, I love the Y.  The Y is truly a welcoming place.  Friendly hellos and encouragement from staff members always brighten my day.  Smiles from perfect strangers bring sunshine into my life.  I love asking people, “How was your workout?” and hearing what they did.  Their responses are always upbeat and positive.  The Y fills me with energy and motivation!

With that introduction, let’s start this blog!  My goal is to help others so no question is too silly or too embarrassing to ask.  You can reach me at

Author: monroecountyymca

Youth Development. Healthy Living. Social Responsibility.

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