We’re so excited to have Cynthia Thompson form Jackson with us! Cynthia lost over 100 plus by exerciing and changing her diet. She aslo ran her very first half marathon on April 6th. She had accomplolish a lot over the past year. Hope you enjoy!
Cynthia, thanks for joining us today! Tell us about you, the family and your occupation?
Well Rod, I was born and raised in Chicago, Il. I was raised in a family that loves to cook and eat and all of our family gatherings were surrounded around huge, fun and loveable meals. I moved to Jackson back in 1998 when I came to JSU as a freshman and I met and married my husband, Emon Thompson who is from Magee, MS. Together we have 7 children, 6 of which I birthed, 2 sons and 5 daughters. I have carried on those traditions of cooking huge southern style meals within my own family and over the years it has shown. I currently work for my church, Greater Bethlehem Temple Church as the Assistant Communications Director.
Tell us about your struggles with being obese?
My struggles with weight started early on, as I mentioned, while growing up our family was much like the one portrayed in the movie “Soul Food” where we would gather every Sunday afternoon after church at my grandmother’s house for a big sunday dinner. That tradition passed on to all of her daughters, including my mom where we continued to create opportunities just to get together to spend family time and eat good, birthdays, lifetime events such as graduations, anniversaries, and just because times, all surrounding around having good ole fashion eating good. Not bragging, but my momma and her sisters can throw down in the kitchen. Anyway, I have always been the chubby kid, overweight, wearing larger sized clothing, even into my adult life. In high school and college I kind of strected out as they say, so the thickness looked more appropriate but in my mind I struggled with the thoughts, “you are fat and overweight”. I look back at my pictures now and say girl you were beautiful and wish I could go talk to that young girl and encourage her to just love herself. Once I got married and started having children of my own the weight just seemed to pile on. After each child I would gain and retain about 20-30 lbs, until one day in the doctors office, she said to me, “Mrs. Thompson, you are what is called Morbidly Obese and you have to do something about it”. I weighed in that day on the scale at 313 lbs and I am approx 5′ 3″-4″ tall.
What was the turning point in changing your lifestyle?
My turning point was feeling miserable all the time, I would hurt morning, noon and night. My back ached, my legs and knees would hurt, I kept an almost constant headache and would not feel like doing anything at all. I would get winded just walking up one flight of stairs or going to mailbox. I had somewhat of a limp in my walk, because of the back and knee pain. I would wake up in the morning with headaches and feel like I had not slept at all. Just stayed tired all the time. My husband even said I sounded like a bear when I slept. Feeling like this and not having any motivation to do anything I fell into depression and ate even more. After the trip to the doctor and being put on Antidepressants and Blood pressure meds, I knew I had to do something, I just did not know what to do or how to do it! So I did what I did know how to do and that was pray. I prayed and asked God to help me get out of the rut I was in. And He is a God that answers prayer, we often times don’t like or agree to His answer, but He does answer. He sent my answer in the form of a fitness program being offered to my church through JSU Walter Payton Center. I accepted the answer sent and began to do everything they instructed me to do on my new journey.
Tell us about the first time you started to workout? How bad was it?
The very first time I worked out was a true picture of truly how out of shape I was, it was horrible. I could not do one push up or sit up and walking was excruciating. It took me over 28 min to complete 1 mile and they were teaching us how to run in intervals, I thought I was going to pass out. As bad and horrible as my body felt, I knew I had to keep going because enjoyed the feeling of actually completing the workout session. I had a renewed sense of accomplishment and wanted to see if I could do better the next day and the next day and so on.
Share with us about your first 5k and you recent first half marathon.
Before I share the 1st 5k, I want to share that after 4 months of training, 3 of them doing a C25K Program through JSU and 1 month of boot camp, I remember running my 1st 3 miles nonstop without walking. That was April of 2012 and my goodness, I felt soooo amazing, like I had ran a marathon on that day!!! I celebrated within myself and shared with my trainer and a few boot camp participants that this was my first time ever in my life running that far without stopping or walking. I was on cloud 9 and ready to keep on pushing. I signed up for my 1st 5K which was to be the biggest loser in November 2012, but I actually ended up doing 2 before then, my first being a trail run in Crystal Springs, September 2012. My, My, My, being a novice to running I had no idea what a trail run meant, but there I was all signed up, ready and excited to be running it, lol. I had let one of my then church members and training buddies, talk me into doing this race and there we were, running through hills, valleys, across ditches, rocks, sand, tree limbs and bridges. It was the most exciting feeling I had ever had when it comes to any kind of sport or physical activity. I knew on that day, I had found a new love. I quickly signed up for the JSU Latasha Norman Walk/Run in October 2012 and I did the breast cancer walk the same morning following the 5K. Then in November 2012 I participated in the Biggest Loser Walk/Run, and it was at this point I knew this was something I would be doing again and again. The feeling was indescribable, just amazing. As a matter of fact that was my first encounter with Rod Racer’s, although he had no knowledge of me, lol, all I could think of was I gotta keep up with the flag guy. My husband kept trying to get pictures of me with the flag man, but that never happened during that race, lol. But once I finished with that race I signed up for the half marathon. This was the biggest challenge I had ever put before myself in my entire life. All I kept thinking in my mind was 13.1 miles, but eventually during my training it became more about learning the new me I was becoming, more than focusing on the miles. Yes everything was changing and I was being transformed into a new creation, not just loosing physical weight in pounds, but mental spiritual weights of fear, doubt and disbelief. Loosing those weights, allowed faith to increase and I trained more intently to prepare for my 1st half. And WOW, I mean WOW, talk about a indescribable feeling. Completing this half marathon was just an special indicator that I truly can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me. For me it was like believing the scripture that says, all things are possible to him who believes and nothing shall be impossible to him. I believe now that I can complete a full marathon some day!
What advice you have for people who want to lose weight and live and healthy lifestyle?
I would say to them “take one day at a time”. Many times we tend to look at the fact that we have 100 lbs to loose and don’t know how we could or would ever loose that much, but don’t look at that number. Begin doing what you can do today to make small changes and each day or week add more changes in your lifestyle. When I started walking I barely could finish 1 mile, but I never changed my time, just increased my pace by doing pushing myself to go a little further in the same time frame each day. As for learning to run, if that’s something people would like to try, I say walk in your neighborhood and notice the light poles, then begin trotting between the poles, walk one pole the run to the next, so forth and so on, then run 2 poles, then 3 without stopping, before long you will run a whole block, then a mile, then 3 without stopping. It’s really amazing. As for eating, make small changes you can live with, first address portion control, then practice “less of” rather than “NO’s”. Restrictions always make me want more of what I cannot have, so I practice, I cannot have this now or at this time, or I can’t have as much of this. I use MyFitnessPal to track everything I put into my mouth, so I know how many calories I eat each day, compared to how many I burn. I always strive to burn more than I take in. This process does take time and it is not easy, but if a person just keeps moving forward they will get to their destination. It takes some longer than others, but never compete with anyone but you. Always try to do better than you did the day before and never cheat yourself when exercising or eating healthy. You cannot do it for someone else; you have to do it for you. One last thing, I would like to add and that is, take God as your partner, use the bible and all of it’s promises to help you overcome this mountain in your life. Prayer does work and prayer change things!!!! Make God your source and allow Him to be your guide and I assure you that He will give you peace in every area of your life and He will become a new source strength, rather than food, fear and self defeat.