Shawn Parker: Overcoming obstacles

Owner of Nordic Total Fitness

After interviewing Lorie Coates recently, I realized that it really hits home for people when they get the story from someone who has been in their shoes. I can put all the motivational stories up that I want, and talk about what you should eat and drink, but when you hear about a local success story, it means even more. 

So, this week I thought I would interview Shawn Parker, as she has overcome obstacles to get great results. She came to me a few months ago and said that she was going to get a lap band surgery because her doctor told her she was out of options, and that was going to be the only way she was ever going to lose weight. However, due to a new approach, she is much healthier and avoided getting the procedure.

Erwin: Why did you decide to start going to the gym?

Parker: I was tired feeling bad all the time. All I did was eat, go to work, and I was tired. When I was tired I ate; when I was bored I ate. I knew it was time to do something, because my health was getting worse. I”m also a pre-diabetic, so I knew if I didn’t get serious about this, then much worse was coming.

Erwin: You seriously considered getting a lap band procedure. What led you to think about getting this operation?

Parker: I basically felt it was my last resort, and I had no other options. The doctor told me I had no other choice, or I would never lose weight. I was overweight, and I thought this was the only thing I could do to lose weight. 

Erwin: So what changed your mind about getting the lap band procedure?

Parker: Actually, you did. You told me, “Give me three months, and if you don’t feel better, have lost inches and pounds, then you are more than welcome to get the procedure.”  
You didn’t push me; you encouraged me and gave me another option that I didn’t think I had. My mom also had a similar procedure done 15 years ago, and it killed her. I knew there had to be another way to be healthier. My husband told me there had to be a healthier choice, as well.

Erwin: So what have been your results and did you get the lap band procedure?

Parker: I have lost 26 pounds and many inches because I’ve dropped at least two sizes in clothes. I have more energy and have gained a lot of self-confidence, and working out gives me and my son even more time together because he motivates to go and we really enjoy it.. 

Erwin: What has kept you motivated?

Parker: I still have times when I get unmotivated where I don’t go to the gym for three days straight, but then my body starts to hurt and it’s telling me that I need to go back. 

I feel so much better when I’m working out. I also have people who are counting on me to work out with. I’ve actually had people join Nordic Total Fitness because I inspired them and they want to work out with me, so we keep each other motivated. And, my son, Vince, is always motivating me to work out, and he likes to come up with me to workout, as well, and my daughter, Kori, keeps me motivated, as well.

Erwin: What else do you do, besides working out, that has helped make this transition?

Parker: I went to see a dietician who helped me with portion control, and I’m drinking a gallon of water of day. My husband has been great as he does the cooking at home and prepares healthy meals now. We no longer eat processed foods, and that has made a huge difference. 

Erwin: What advice would you give to people who are struggling with their weight?

Parker: I think it’s really important to just jump into doing something, anything with fitness. I work 10 hours a day, and you have to just do it, so I still make time for it. I make time for it because it makes me feel so much better. You also have to get your mind right. I know people think there are people looking at them and judging them. They aren’t. Everyone has their own challenge to face. I’m glad I did what I did, and I’m glad I’m on this journey. I’m going to stick with it, and my son keeps me going non-stop, so I have to keep up with him. The fee of $30 a month isn’t a big deal, and you can’t put a price on your health. You can find 30 minutes to be healthier. Really, it’s just a lifestyle change that needs to be made.

Erwin: I want to thank Shawn for sharing her story, as it isn’t easy to talk about. Like I told her, if it helps one person avoid a life-threatening surgery they don’t need and helps them live a healthier life, then it’s worth it. She’s an inspiration to many, and we are lucky to have her at Nordic Total Fitness!

Sam Erwin is owner of Nordic Total Fitness in downtown Paxton. Have a question or topic about health or fitness? Email Erwin at Your topic or questions may be included in next week’s edition of the Fitness Forum.

Categories (4):Fitness, News, Miscellaneous, Health


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