A new, healthier you in the new year

Special Reports

A local woman’s journey to fitness is serving as motivation to hundreds of others.

The most popular New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more, and eat better. Gyms are crowded at the start of the new year, and people are packing salads for lunch.

But by mid-February, 80 percent of people who made resolutions will give up. One local woman, however, will offer motivation.

“I have five children, I have a grandchild, I work two jobs in two emergency rooms not less than 60 hours a week,” Amy Kobs Summers said. “If I can make this work, really anyone can.”

Summers is focused on being healthy for herself and her family. But her journey to fitness wasn’t easy.

“I began to realize I was overweight when I was eight years old,” she said. “You just get to a point where you get used to the teasing and the bullying, and it just becomes your existence.”

A lifetime of yoyo dieting and failed exercise routines changed with a simple request from her son. They started working out the summer before he left for college, and as Jack drove away, he had only one request.

“Please promise me you’re not going to quit; promise me you will get healthy,” Summers recalled him saying. “When your child’s telling you I really want this from you, that makes it real, and I thought maybe I could keep going this time.”

Summers did keep going and her progress caught the attention of friends on Facebook who asked for her help to also get healthy.

“We spent months going back-and-forth,” Summers said. “I worked out today. Did you work out today? What did you eat today? Just accountability and check in.”

And then something amazing happened. The non-athlete became a Spartan completing three grueling obstacle races in one year with that small group of friends that became known as Team 1DOS.

It stands for One Degree of Separation because all they had in common was Summers’s friendship and a desire to finally be fit. And they went for it with gusto.

“Our mascot is the shark, and we call ourselves sharks because if we all take our health with the ferocity of a great white shark, that’s first,” she said. “And we take no prisoners, and we’re gonna do this; we will be healthy.”

There are now more than 200 members in the shark tank across more than a dozen states supporting each other online and in real life.

“She just got me to push myself to limits I didn’t really know I had,” Danielle Marie said.

“Really we cheer each other on because one bad choice today does not have to set you off track for the next week or the next month,” Melissa Porter said. “We keep each other going.”

“If you feel like you can’t handle anything, you can look at Amy and go, oh wait, I got it; I can do it,” Jill Henches Frazier said.

Each shark has their own fitness goals, but after Summers’s husband, Tim, recently underwent open heart surgery, they are all now in the middle of a heart healthy challenge and learning their risk factors for heart disease and how to prevent it.

“We’re doing this in support of him, but I’m interested in seeing how many of our people are going to come up with surprise heart issues that maybe they weren’t even aware of,” Summers said.

That self-awareness is a key part of the challenge – and life, really. Sometimes on the long road to fitness, all it takes is someone telling you two words: “You can.”

“None of us realize what we’re capable of, and I think if you have somebody that can come to you and go, ‘You can absolutely do this,’ and they believe in you 100 percent, those days where you’re maybe not so sure, it matters and it makes a big difference,” Summers said. “It keeps you from saying, ‘I can’t; I’m done.’”

That positive ATTITUDE will help as your resolve starts to waver in your New Year’s resolutions.

Look for people who will help keep you ACCOUNTABLE. You’re more likely to head to the gym if you know a friend is waiting.

And ADAPT the routine to the day. If you don’t have an hour, break it up into 15 minute blocks of exercise you can do at home or work.

Team 1DOSFat Girl Heart, Fit Girl Body blog

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