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After a year of transformation, Holly Hertel looks to future weight-loss, fitness goals

By Rose Schneider

Even though life is always changing, having a challenging workout routine and healthy diet are two things that should be constant, said Holly Hertel, who has come a long way in her weight loss journey in the year since she it began.

Hertel recently changed gyms and started working out at a smaller gym in Wamego. The switch presented some challenges, like availability of similar gym equipment, but overall the change has been refreshing for Hertel.

“I like it over there,” she said. “It isn’t as big but also isn’t as crowded. A lot of people still come up to me and ask, ‘Are you the Holly from the newspaper?’”

Both Kyle Schmid, Hertel’s roommate and original trainer, and Hertel decided to leave Max Fitness at the end of March after a falling out with its owners. 

“After Kyle quit I got passed a lot around between trainers and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the trainer was doing instead of actually working out,” Hertel said. “In three weeks of that I only lost 1 pound; it was really frustrating.”

Hertel said she is still working with nutritionist Stephanie St. Peter of Wildcat Nutrition. Hertel is taking a wide variety of vitamins and supplements — some of “higher quality” than the ones she had previously taken and said that she can feel an increase in her energy level since the switch.

Hertel plans to continue to work with St. Peter after she and Schmid move to the Kansas City area in July.

“We really don’t have a plan; we’re just getting out of Manhattan,” she said. “We might move to Texas after that, because it is warm and we have friends moving there.”

Even with everything going on, Hertel is doing her best to not deviate from her original list of goals started in April 2012. She is no longer participating in the Transform You 5k run but has tentative plans to participate in another upcoming 5k. She also intends to run in Kansas City’s Color Run and Warrior Dash this summer.

Hertel has been practicing running outside more lately instead of only on a treadmill.

“I’m still getting adjusted to running outdoors; I need to work on not running too fast and pacing myself,” she said.

In addition to working on her own life, Hertel has started to reach out to others, including family members, who are participating in a 90-day challenge to loose weight and get fit.

“My family is always asking ‘what should I be eating’ and ‘how should I be exercising’ so I help them with diet and exercise plans as much as I can,” Hertel said.

Even though she is no longer getting any monetary assistance from the sale of her #TEAMHOLLY T-shirts, Hertel continues to purchase healthy and organic foods, spending an average of $100 per week on groceries.

With the continued diet and exercise, Hertel’s body continues to change every day bringing her increased confidence.

“I’ve noticed my weight loss in the ways I can sit,” she said. “I used to dread going to the doctor’s office because of the chairs I had to sit in at the waiting room. They weren’t comfortable. Even sitting in restaurant booths was hard for me, and now I don’t dread going anywhere anymore and can sit with my arms around my knees”

For Hertel, everything is more comfortable including the clothes she is wearing, most of which are new additions to her ever-changing wardrobe.

“I just took a bunch of things that don’t fit anymore to the garage to be donated, and my sister is going to let me have some of her clothes,” Hertel said.

She said she has noticed changes in every part of her outfits, especially in her dresses and shoes.

“My dresses now fit how they’re supposed to, my heels are too loose and I have to tie my shoes a lot tighter,” she said.

Hertel also noticed that she wears fewer accessories with her outfits since her weight loss.

“Necklaces and bracelets were the only things I could buy anywhere, so I had a lot of them,” she said. “I bought my first pair of running pants from Dick’s recently. I was so excited; I grabbed them, came home and put them on and was like, ‘Yeah.’”

Hertel is now wearing clothes that are size L, which is she is also really proud of, since she’s been wearing 2X sized clothes for longer than she’d like to remember.

“I don’t think I’ve worn anything that was a large since sixth or seventh grade,” Hertel said.

In addition to her weight loss, Hertel has come a long way emotionally. In general, she said she has a lot less anxiety and is not as easily overwhelmed by day-to-day situations. She is also perfecting the art of deflecting conversations about her weight loss, especially with people she’s just met.

“I’ll try to bring up other stuff, but it comes back to my weight loss over and over,” she said. “My family is finally getting the message, but my roommates have always understood that sometimes I just don’t want to talk about it.”

Hertel’s next long-term goal is to compete in the Tough Mudder, a 10- to 12-mile obstacle course, by the end of 2014. Each day she can lift more weight and run farther than the last.

“I don’t get as exhausted, and I’ve been doing gymnastics again – cartwheels, backbends – things I haven’t been able to do since I was 11,” she said. “It feels so good.”

Hertel’s body and lifestyle change has roused the idea of helping others like her lose weight as a profession.

“I never thought I would be where I am now, and I never saw myself doing anything in the fitness world, but I’ve learned so much and I can see myself doing it as a career,” she said. “I’d like to help people like me.”

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