Stronger, healthier and 57 pounds lighter, Cheryl Ebersold changed her life drastically and for the better by joining fitness classes that pushed her to challenge herself physically as never before
Last February, Cheryl Ebersold decided she had enough.
The Town of Fredonia resident, who lives with her daughter Cayleigh and husband Clint, had lost 20 pounds on Weight Watchers since August 2013 by paying attention to what she was eating.
But the pounds weren’t coming off fast enough to suit her.
She was also motivated by the fact her niece asked her to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.
“I decided I needed to move a little bit more and maybe work out for the first time in my life,” Ebersold said.
She e-mailed Sandra Large, who runs Inspiring Fitness in the Town of Belgium, asking if she could help her lose weight.
“I saw her Facebook posts from her boot camp,” Ebersold, 48, said. “It looks fun now, but at first I thought it was going to kill me.”
Large said Ebersold was starting from “an unhealthy place, but she was starting.”
Ebersold began slowly, working out one or two days a week. Her first workout lasted four minutes.
Since February 2014, she has dropped 57 pounds.
In July, she began working out six days a week.
“Before, I was feeling good because I was losing weight, but now I feel like I’ve never felt in my life,” Ebersold said.
The secret, she says, is the high-intensity workouts she does at Inspiring Fitness, where participants push each other to get fit.
“At first, I was nervous to go to group workouts. I was too embarrassed to have someone watch me,” Ebersold said. “Someone told me that nobody is watching me, and if they are, they aren’t working out like they should be.”
Large said it was important for Ebersold to start group workouts because of the support of those in the classes.
“You start to make friends with people who are trying to do what you’re trying to do,” Large said.
In September, Ebersold began drinking two protein shakes combined with eating one meal a day.
“It has made me feel stronger and I’m able to work out longer,” Ebersold said of her diet. “I just feel better overall.”
Ebersold’s weight-loss story starts out with tragedy. She lost her son Clay in a car accident in 2007.
For a long time after that, she said she was “on autopilot” raising her 13-year-old daughter.
She admitted they weren’t a healthy family.
“I used to crawl out of bed at 7 a.m., drive my daughter to school and barely get to work at 8,” Ebersold said. “I always felt like the fat mom. Other parents were playing games and I was off on the sideline or I just wouldn’t go.
“Now I’m up at 5 a.m. I work out at 6 and I’m ready to go. It was something I needed to do for my daughter and myself.”
Her husband took notice of her new lifestyle and has lost 70 pounds on his own, Ebersold said.
She makes sure her daughter is eating healthy as well.
“From the moment she was old enough, I was signing her up for sports,” Ebersold said. “I wasn’t going to let her turn out like me.”
Her friends, coworkers and clients at 20/20 Visions in Plymouth, where Ebersold is a receptionist, have noticed her weight loss.
“I had someone ask me if I was doing this intentionally or if I was sick,” she said. “Yes, I’m doing this on purpose.”
Ebersold said it’s important to incorporate carbohydrates in her meals because of the workouts she does.
“When I was on Weight Watchers, I tried to completely cut out carbs and just eat lean proteins,” Ebersold said. “Now, I need carbs to keep up with the workouts.”
Ebersold used to joke that she stopped running when she was 4 years old. She also called herself “happy fat.”
“Those are just lies you tell yourself,” she said. “I never was really comfortable with my body. I was never an athlete.”
When she works out, she enjoys weight lifting and climbing the rope.
“I like to see how much I can lift,” she said. “I hate doing ab workouts, but I know I need it.”
Large has noticed a change in Ebersold’s workouts as well. She said she used to swing a seven-pound kettle bell and now is up to 35 pounds.
Ebersold also takes a recovery week every three months.
“She still comes to work out, but she just does recovery stuff,” Large said. “Most people typically come three or four days a week.”
Ebersold’s workouts usually last no more than 30 minutes, Large said.
“You really can’t go much longer than that if you’re really pushing yourself,” she said. “But that’s what gets results.”
Ebersold said she would like to lose a few more pounds, but has dropped 10 sizes since August 2013.
“Eighty pounds was a goal I had in my head, but I think I’d like to lose a little more than that,” she said.
If she hadn’t motivated herself to work out, she’s not sure how different her life would be.
“All I knew is something needed to change drastically in my life, and I ended up changing a lot of things,” Ebersold said. “I feel alive where for a lot of years, I just didn’t care.”
Image information: Ebersold has lost 57 pounds since she started working out at the fitness center six times a week. Photos by Sam Arendt