There was a time when I thought working out was overrated. I know what you’re thinking…. Even if you don’t work out, you know that statement is absurd. But it’s true. I was always skinny when I was young so I thought “I don’t need to eat healthy or workout to have good health and a normal body.” I was wrong. 

My dad died in 2013 from bladder cancer. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. Not only was he my father, but he was my best friend. The person I turned to for advice on anything and everything- career wise, friend wise, man wise… my dad was my person. While he was sick, I became very depressed. When he died, it got even worse. I gained weight, I wallowed- I basically became a hermit. I needed a change. I moved to Arizona from Philly 8 months after his passing to start over. It was then that I discovered a community called Tone It Up. A community full of women supporting each other and motivating each other to work out and eat healthy and live your best life. It’s what I needed. I started working out regularly and eating healthy. I was losing weight but that wasn’t even what kept me going. It was the community- I made some of my closest friends through it and it completely transformed my attitude. 

Flash forward a year and things started going downhill again. Almost every time I would eat something, I would feel extremely sick. Occasionally even vomiting. I couldn’t work out without getting sick. I went through countless doctors and numerous tests to try and determine what was wrong with me. Eventually, one of the doctors discovered that I had a gastric emptying disordered. Essentially- the food I was eating was sitting in my stomach and rotting instead of moving through. With the right medication, that issue was fixed. But a month after that discovery, I had a grand mal seizure. One so bad that I was blacked out for about 10 minutes and when I awoke, I had no idea who I was, who my friends were, or who my boyfriend was. This lasted about 45 minutes and every time I think about that it scares me. While doing the testing, it was discovered I had epilepsy, a benign tumor called a facial schwannoma and lesions on my brain. I was horrified to do anything because I thought it might cause another seizure. But I was determined.

In April of 2017, I decided to fight back against my body. I recommitted to Tone It Up now that my health was being monitored closely, I started making healthier decisions with food, I started doing yoga and pilates regularly and I focused on getting better within my body and within my spirit. For one year now, I have been seizure free. I have been sick free. I have no signs of the tumor causing any problems. I have been strong. There are times when I “fail”… there needs to be balance and you don’t have to be perfect. You can eat that burger, you can drink that wine, you can miss a workout, and you can get mad at the world sometimes or insecure in yourself. It happens to EVERYONE, no matter how strong they seem. And you know what, it should. Because that’s what makes us human. The most important thing is to have faith in yourself. The strength and courage to fight whatever comes your way… whether it be death or health issues or anything that makes you want to run away.

I have the amazing support from my family, my boyfriend- who I am lucky enough to have as my rock, my friends, the Tone It Up community, and most importantly- from myself. You can try to do your best for others, but you will never succeed if you aren’t doing it for yourself and supporting your own mind and body. So be brave, be strong, fight the world. No one else is doing it for you. You only have one mind, one spirit and one body- so take care of them. You never know when they might need you to the most.

More About Heather

Heather Renshaw is an accountant based in Arizona, originally from Philly. She has a passion for fitness and health, and is a proud member of the Tone It Up community.
Heather is appreciative of her amazing support system of her family, her boyfriend, and friends. She believes in supporting your own mind and body to be your best self.

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