Diane Beckler is a 2019 National Challenge finalist and member at Farrell’s Oakdale Coralville, Iowa. Diane’s story is one of true perseverance and dedication, and we are honored to have her as part of our Farrell’s family. Congratulations, Diane!
Why Couldn’t That Be Me?
When I was younger, I loved participating in sports. It was my social outlet, and I loved to compete. Despite my diet of Wendy’s double bacon deluxe combos meals, frozen pizzas, mac n’ cheese, hot dogs, nachos, powdered donuts, and pop, I managed to keep the excess weight off – until my sophomore year of high school. I’d look at my teammates, with their parents cheering them on, and thought they were better, prettier, stronger, and faster. I would ask, “Why couldn’t that be me?” This was the beginning of an eating disorder roller coaster that, for the most part, I hid.
I was a lonely child and watched other kids, only wishing to be in their shoes. My parents always provided for me, but preferred to participate in their own activities than be at home. My older half-brother lived in Germany, and my younger brother passed away when I was 11. Thankfully, I met my husband when I was 16. He has been the center of my world ever since. I even made it clear when we were dating that I wanted at least six children! Unfortunately, I couldn’t deliver naturally, so three c-sections it was.
We are blessed with three wonderful children, a son and two daughters. I love watching them grow and especially enjoyed watching them in sports. I even coached the girls club softball and volleyball teams! I wish I could say being a mom also made me a nutritionist, but sadly no.
Always on the go, I ate poorly and battled weight issues. I’d become upset and try a new weight-loss trend, but they never lasted. My poor nutrition, combined with sporadic periods of exercise, left me injured. In 2013, I had knee surgery. In 2015, I had a disc repaired in my back. At my children’s activities, I would see other moms and thought they were all skinnier and prettier. Again I asked myself, “Why couldn’t that be me…?”
The Time Is Now
In March of 2018, my youngest daughter expressed interest in Farrell’s. My husband wasn’t sold on the idea of spending money on a gym. He feels there is plenty of outdoors, and a person just needs to use it. At the time, I was concerned about the cost and didn’t think my daughter would follow through with it.
But when she attended her free week, my husband saw the positive changes in her and asked why I didn’t try it too. I almost fell over! I reminded him that I have two jobs, no money, and after one back surgery, one knee surgery, and four abdominal surgeries, I wasn’t sure I could handle it physically. He offered support if I wanted to try it! I always said when I win the Powerball, I would hire a trainer and a chef so I could get fit. This wasn’t the same, but it was something. I decided if there was ever a time to do it, it was now. It’s an experience with my daughter.
Orientation was the most challenging day in my Farrell’s journey. The first person I saw when I walked in the door was my husband’s cousin, Steve. He gave me a warm welcome and directed me to weigh in. Elmer, my husband’s uncle, was taking weight measurements. Oh good lord, could this get any worse?! I quickly sent my daughter to his line and ran to the other scale.
I think I embarrassed myself at every testing station after that. I couldn’t find my resting pulse, and neither could the manager. I told him I was already DEAD! I dreaded pictures and told the photographer I was going to break the camera. At that moment, the camera battery died. I wasn’t upset about the camera. I was upset with me and my image in the mirror.
I didn’t expect to make it through the one-mile run. To make things sweeter, my daughter called out to me at the starting line and said, “Mom, I forgot to tell you – I’m not going to wait for you!” (As if I needed to be told.) I kept telling myself this is just the beginning. In my heart, I knew that… But I kept looking at everyone else thinking, “Why couldn’t that be me?”
My 10-Week Challenge
The first few days of my 10-Week Challenge were hard. My daughter even had to drive me home afterward. An experienced member tried to help me with the kickboxing technique, but I still couldn’t get it right. After my first strength training workout, I got home and immediately laid on the living room floor. My daughter stood over me, Facetiming her sister, and said, “I don’t think Mom’s going to make it!”
Fast forward several weeks. I was getting the hang of things and loving Farrell’s. My right knee, which I previously had surgery on, was improving and felt good. Then something clicked. I was looking at photos of past 10-Week Challenge winners and thought – wait, “Why couldn’t that be me?” I asked myself, for the first time, without any envy. I asked with confidence and determination.
Ten weeks later, I was honored to be the Spring 2018 Female Challenge Winner!
This was also when people started to notice the changes in me. I will never forget the day my coworker, Judy, stopped me in the hall and said she wanted to be like me. I was overwhelmed that someone would actually feel that way. I cried… I shared Farrell’s with her, and a short time later, we celebrated her being the next 10-Week Challenge winner!
My National Challenge
Full of hope, I decided to enroll in the National Challenge.
Despite my physical and nutritional improvements, my history of surgeries caught up with me. My right knee became aggravated again. The swelling and pain became too much, and I could no longer ignore it. I tried physical therapy, but it didn’t work. I had an MRI and expected to hear the meniscus was torn again. I was planning to lobby for surgery postponement until I completed the National Challenge. Unfortunately, the doctor said the remainder of my meniscus was too damaged, and there were degenerative issues within the joint. My doctor advised I discontinue kickboxing workouts out for a couple of months. If it didn’t improve, I’d need a replacement.
This was quite a blow. I was devastated. I asked to be able to continue upper-body workouts only, avoiding anything that involved my knee, and he approved. My physical therapist is also a Farrell’s instructor. When I arrived at the gym that evening, she was instructing. I broke down in the middle of the gym when I asked about exercise modifications. Once again, I felt inadequate. After class, I went to talk with the manager, Bob, to tell him not to rely on me to coach the upcoming session because I didn’t know how much I could be there. I was back to my same self-pity. I thought I was done.
I really should have known better than to think that could be me. The next morning, I thought about some family members and the medical battles they endured, and I knew I needed to turn myself around. How dare I feel sorry for myself when so many have bigger issues! I decided I would give it everything I had, and I would focus my efforts on supporting my team and their individual journeys too. We had the best session ever!
Perseverance is the Way
As I reflect on my National Challenge experience, I know I would have quit when my knee started hurting the first time. I wouldn’t have had the desire, dedication, and determination to modify and keep moving forward. But I have. I am certain I could not have achieved these results ANY other way. (Even winning the Powerball!) I cannot say enough great things about the guidance and support I’ve received from Bob, the Farrell’s Oakdale Coralville Staff, and fellow Farrell’s members. I love to see them each and every day. My knee replacement is scheduled for July 26, 2020. It will be very difficult to take a break for surgery. I’m addicted to the workouts, the atmosphere, and the family I now call my second home.
So, why couldn’t that be… YOU?