Desiree Schmidt was one of the first gym friends I made at CrosSport. Her bright smile and shameless singing to the music streaming in her ears endeared her to me instantly. She made the gym feel safe and over time she would become a friend to share life and prayers and stories with outside of the gym as well. What I didn't know when I started was how far she had come on her lifestyle transformation journey.
A few months ago I saw a picture of Des standing by CrosSport co-owner, Mike, and probably a #3 tire, and I was stunned at how much bigger she was. I don't mean she wasn't beautiful, she had a big ole smile on her face that brightened the picture, but she wasn't the shape I knew her to be. The storyteller in me had to know her story. So, last Friday, we were able to sit down after a WOD and chat. It may have looked like we were planning to take over the world but I assure you it was just an interview about taking charge of one's own life.
Des' journey to wellness began in the late spring of 2012. She was tired of changing in the closet, of making love in the dark, of jumping into pjs by six, of feeling fat and gross. She planned to have a weight loss surgery while her husband, Bill, was deployed and be physically transformed by the time he returned, but it wasn't to be. At just under two hundred pounds she wasn't big enough for surgery. That's when she joined the gym.
That's where the story should end, right? Someone goes to the gym, does the work and the pounds melt away and viola, you have the body you always dreamed of. But like a lot of others, that wasn't Des' story. She didn't magically drop weight or get the super thin body she wanted. In fact, in seven months she only lost seven pounds, her clothes fit the same and she felt completely defeated.
Then… everything changed. A friend of hers made some dramatic lifestyle changes that caught her attention. AdvoCare was the answer when she asked what was up. Her friend joined AdvoCare after his wife did and his whole life changed. Inspired by their story, Des started a 24 day challenge which included a 10 day herbal cleanse, eating mostly protein, fruit, veggies, nuts and berries with fiber and pro biotic supplements. The cleanse was followed by a 14 day max phase with meal replacement shakes and vitamins added in. By the end Des saw enough of a difference to never look back.
After four months she was down 50 pounds, fitting into a size 6-8 and had inspired her husband and children to embrace a new way of living and eating. She and Bill became AdvoCare distributors and have joined in on the lifestyle and weight-loss journeys of others. As a fitness instructor in the late 90s Des helped others get fit and lose weight but it paled in comparison to the changes she helps others make now. The smile on her face when she shared about the 1,000+ pounds she has helped others lose was evidence of how much she truly loves leading others to a healthier way of life. As a fellow Christian, Desiree shared that helping others is not only a privilege but part of her ministry in service of the LORD. She is grateful for the way her choices to live better have helped her family, friends, and clients live more fulfilled lives.
1,000 combined pounds lost is a huge feat but that's not what she's most proud of. Her greatest accomplishment is the change she has seen in her family. Her husband, Bill, initially joined AdvoCare to be able to stay in the Navy. He was just shy of his retirement and was in danger of not meeting the weight and fitness requirements. Her step-son, Andy, was so inspired by the changes he saw in his parents that he too changed his life and went from a reclusive chubby kid to a much more social and involved young man. As a family, they're more active and have even run a Family Warrior dash together.
Des admits that she still struggles with her body image and feeling good in her skin but she is more confident than ever. When she said one of the biggest things she's noticed is that she has fewer chins, I laughed the way only another woman who knows what she means could. But despite the improvements, for her it's more about how she feels. She no longer dresses in hiding or asks for the lights to be turned off. She is content at 150 pounds and has let go of the idea that beauty and skinny are synonymous. Instead of tying her fitness goals to a number on the scale or size of pants, she sets activity goals like the #sweataday challenges she posts on Instagram and Facebook, running races faster, attempting physical obstacles or helping others extend their lives through her AdvoCare business.
As the weights were hefted into place for the night and our time came to an end I asked her advice for anyone just beginning their weight loss journey. It's no surprise she remembered and shared the comments of one of the AdvoCare doctors; find balance with your nutrition, your supplements, your fitness regime, (and, most recently, your sleep schedule) and stick to it and you'll find success. Des says to seek a healthy lifestyle more than a “fix-it-quick” diet, and, my personal favorite tidbits were to get an accountability partner and be willing to admit that others might possibly know more than you.
Way to go Des and thanks so much for your time and words of wisdom!