When Robin was just 26 years old, her dad passed away at the age of 51.
“It rocked me in a way that made me finally start to open my eyes and look at the girl in the mirror.”
She was 267 pounds.
“In a world of physical and emotional pain, I was just plain unhappy”.
She tried everything — diet after diet, Atkins, pills, low-fat, low-calorie, extreme cardio, etc.
“Everything seemed like it worked for about a month, but I always slid into my old familiar ways. Unfortunately, these ways and learned behaviors were the same ones that killed my dad, and they were killing me too.”
Finally Robin decided to make a change. But she didn’t start from scratch, she wanted to keep the things she loved and use them to grow and change — not become something she’s not.
Here’s her story, and how she’s lost over 100 pounds, finding herself and finding happiness in the process.
Owning at the game of life
Steve: Hey Robin! Thanks for talking about your transformation with us! Optimus Prime would be so proud. You mentioned wanting to morph into a better version of yourself — not someone entirely new. How did the “old you” help you become the “new you”
I loved playing Everquest.
For over a decade my brain was always in Everquest mode. Whenever a new expansion came out, the first thing I always did was download the MAPS. YES! Of course! Maps! How the heck will I know where to go and what to do if I don’t know the lay of the land?
So, taking my lessons from a decade of Everquest, I realized I needed to start reading everything I could get my hands on If i was going to become an expert level 50 Shaman at fitness and health.
I can relate! I too was a huge EQ (and EQ2) addict. So how did you find Nerd Fitness?
I stumbled upon Nerd Fitness in the process of wanting to do a dang pull up (every little girl’s dream, in my opinion). I was just a calorie counting cardio bunny who had developed a love for running, but couldn’t lift a bag of groceries! I quickly realized I needed to clean up my diet and set real goals.
I love that! So you wanted to incorporate strength training into your routine and starting eating well too, how did you get started?
I read a bunch of Paleo books and almost immediately adopted a primal/paleo lifestyle.
I learned about bodyweight exercises, and started using the free weights in the scary part of the gym! (It isn’t so scary anymore.) I blame the Angry Birds workout, as I refused to be defeated by a workout that “seemed so simple.”
I learned the importance of setting goals – real ones that can actually be achieved, not just resolutions that get flippantly thrown out in January and forgotten by February. Learning about goal setting made me realize that I was going about my path wrong – I was trying to sprint from long term goal to long term goal – but you can’t sprint a marathon. For me, the “one day at a time” approach to life helped me knock out short term goals and advance towards the big long term stuff.
I had to stop the JUST cardio workouts. Seriously, ladies (and men)! Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE running (I’m a scout, after all) and my passion and fun comes from training for the next race, but we need to peel ourselves away from the elliptical/treadmill/AMT to remember that there are other parts of our bodies that need to get stronger! When I started adding a bodyweight routine, yoga, or swimming to my routine, my race pace got FASTER and I was strong enough to handle endurance events (half marathons!).
The importance of a guild
What kind of support team did you have?
I think the key in Everquest was that everyone served a role, and when everyone fulfilled their function, raids went off without a hitch. Likewise, the people in my life all have a role to fill, and when I leaned on them for the right things (knowledge, emotional support, companionship, tough love), I was able to level up!
Along the way I realized that I needed some “me too” people. Enter the Nerd Fitness forums and chat. I very quickly realized the value of having people in my life who have been where I am, who get it, and who encourage me. I have never found such an awesome and welcoming group of people as the Rebels on Nerd Fitness. There is so much power in community!
One night, walking through the store I had a question about kale, and I was able to hop on, ask my question, and walk out of the store empowered.
Yeah, the community is easily my favorite part of Nerd Fitness. Thanks for playing such a big role in it! Do you think the community contributed to your success?
ABSOLUTELY. The more support I got, the more I realized that I had to give it out too. So many people around me were commenting on how well I was doing- slowly but surely the weight was melting off and I was becoming more joyful and healthy. Taking the time to share what you are doing to find new health is so rewarding! And there’s nothing like motivation like encouraging others, supporting them on their quests and paying it forward.
How did you measure progress? What kept you going?
I used a combination of things: photos, clothing sizes, and race paces. The first thing I had to do was throw my scale in the garbage; I had to stop weighing in 4 times a day. This helped me notice other changes that were happening.
I always had to have a “something” I was working towards.
Each milestone I set came along with a little reward- a gift to myself for working so hard. When things were particularly hard and I just didn’t want to do it anymore, I had that “thing” in the distance that I was striving towards.
My most recent milestone was to lose 100 lbs, and the reward for that was a tattoo. I love my tattoo. It’s a reminder of all the pain, sweat, and tears. It was physical proof that I could do anything I put my mind to, and that I valued myself enough to make it happen.
Your fitness, endurance, and strength has changed. What else has changed about you?
At the end of a challenge last fall, when I was doing my write up I realized something: I had set a 5th goal without ever realizing it 2 years ago- to find my “Happy.” I’ll be damned if she wasn’t sitting there all along, cheering me on, telling me to keep going.
Being happy is worth more than any milestone gift. My happy reminds me daily that I am worth fighting for and that no one will ever fight as hard for me as I will. I have value beyond measure; I had just convinced myself that I didn’t. I hope that you can see that in yourself- even if it’s just glimpses at first… I hope it’s enough to show you that you can always keep going, even if it’s just enough to walk around the block, to say no just once to the one thing that always makes you feel guilty.
You sound like a completely different person, on the outside and the inside. Congrats! So, what’s next for you?
I have the most amazing race coming up! On April 14th, Wicked Pixie, and I are running our very first full marathon together in Dallas TX! She and I have been accountabilibuddies for almost a year, training virtually! I am so ready to accomplish this feat- to go from barely a walker to a marathoner!
These days, besides the races, my routine involves eating clean (as much as my sweet tooth will allow), cardio or bodyweight work, and walking my dog. That’s it. I don’t stress the small stuff or go into hyper fitness mode, because I don’t have to.
What I’m doing is called living my life. I’m not done and I haven’t arrived yet, but where I am now is a way better place than where I was headed!!!
Level up your life
I freaking love Robin’s story.
She is a shining example of what happens when a Nerd Fitness Rebel takes action: after years of of just dealing with the symptoms of being unhealthy, she understood the importance of attacking the source and put a new plan in place to succeed.
Here’s why Robin leveled up in the game of life:
- She stopped sweating the small stuff, and focused on big wins.
- She understood that not all calories are created equal, and started fueling her body with the right foods.
- She stopped worrying about what would happen weeks, months, years down the road, and instead focused on just being better than the day before.
- She rewarded her successes with things that rewarded her back.
- She found her new guild (the Nerd Fitness community) and leaned on them for support.
- She understood that a strong body is a happy body. Strength training for the win!
- She focused on the things that made her happy and healthy: running, bodyweight exercises, yoga, swimming, and walking her dog.
- She learned that she WAS capable of change: by leveling up on the outside, she could also level up her happiness on the inside.
Congrats to Robin (Hammlin on the NF message boards), our resident bacon-powered roadrunner. Thanks for inspiring rebels around the world and encouraging us that happy and healthy can go hand-in-hand. Please continue kicking ass!
Have any questions for Hammlin?
Want to congratulate her on an incredibly transformation?
Leave a comment below!
PS: Later on this week, after hearing from the community on what other types of gear we should have, we’ll be adding new items to the Nerd Fitness store: two types of hats, a new tank top, and Nerd Fitness sweatpants! The hats and tank are badass and the pants are beyond comfortable. Plus, the hats will give you +3 INT, the tank +3 CHA and the pants will give you +3 STA. So, you’ll also have that going for ya