“Save for my 3 kids, chocolate and sweets are the love of my life. The problem is that I was so obsessed with the numbers on the scale.”
Valerie ‘Val’ Lee is a 43-year-old stay at home mom of 3 living in the Maldives. When she was younger, she used sports and exercise as a way to decompress. She ran, swam, and cycled regularly. But, as life got busier, exercise started to become less of a priority. This is her story.
Over the years, Vale tried a few diets to keep her weight below 115 pounds, including various crash diets. But she wasn’t really happy. Not exercising had left her feeling flabby and with no stamina.
During Val’s third pregnancy (at 38 years old), Val found out she had gestational diabetes. She was shocked and fell into a depression during her pregnancy. She went to a dietician, and their advice was to simply exercise. At 10-12 weeks of pregnancy, she was diagnosed with symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), which causes the pelvic bone to become enlarged. It was very painful and she couldn’t exercise.
“Doing simple things like getting in and out of the car and turning while sleeping was so painful. I couldn’t do these simple things let alone do any kind of exercise.”
The pain went on for six to nine months after her delivery. What made it worse was that she started experiencing back pains which lasted for 2 years post-delivery.
“When my baby turned 2, I just wanted to get something started. I started pilates, but after a while, I wanted to do something else because there was no cardio involved. I started running, but my knee started acted up. It was so painful. I went to the doctor, and I was told to stay off my leg.”
These physical issues led Val to become depressed. She was 40 and getting older, she was in pain and couldn’t exercise, and what’s worse, she was going through perimenopause. She saw other women gaining weight because of menopause and perimenopause, and this launched her into action. She started thinking of what she could do and thought back to her younger years when she jumped rope to keep the stress away. So she started looking into it again and decided to try jumping rope last December.
She started out by jumping sparsely because of travel engagements. She discovered that jumping rope didn’t affect knees and that you could do it anywhere. When she started jumping, she noticed her knees weren’t acting up. In fact, they became stronger. She could climb the stairs and do things that were once painful and difficult. One unexpected side effect was that she experienced urinary stress incontinence while jumping. She started getting worried, so she did some research and realized it was a common problem.
“I’m actually grateful for jumping because I would have never known about this if I hadn’t started. I’m glad I found out this way.”
She started doing pelvic floor muscles and exercises, and over time, she was able to gain control.
“I gained a lot of strength and stamina. I was even able to run one or two kilometers with my daughter, even though the doctors told me not to run.”
Val also discovered intermittent fasting. Initially, she considered fasting valuable for spiritual reasons. Eventually, she noticed her weight dropping, but she still wanted to be cautious about her diet. She saw her friend talking about her experience and how she lost weight.
Val tried it and kept eating as usual (no counting calories) and quickly noticed her weight dropping even more. She could finally enjoy her food and not worry about backsliding.
“I felt like I could eat and actually enjoy my food without being worried about overeating, counting calories, or worrying about my weight. I can finally enjoy a healthy, happy, and full life.”
Val turned to Youtube because she wanted to get better at performing advanced tricks and moves with her rope, specifically the alternate foot jump. She found Dr. Sara Solomon, and was impressed by her tricks. She also found the Jump Rope Dudes and they recommended that she check out Crossrope. She was having a lot of fun, but something was still missing.
“In the Maldives, I couldn’t tell anyone that I used jump ropes to exercise, people would roll their eyes. I was looking for something to do everyday and challenge myself, and I found it. But I was also looking for accountability.”
Val joined our jump rope fitness community in July. She enjoys the group because it offers accountability and advice. People are happy to see her improve, and follow her progress. Her family was initially weirded out because they thought jump rope was for young people. Now, they pick up the ropes and join her. Even her husband joined in and he is constantly asking which rope is the best to jump with!
“So many groups are filled with negativity and tearing people down. This community is a very positive place and there is the occasional black sheep. I never encountered a group like this, it’s so motivating. So many people are encouraging.”
She is motivated by her jump rope peers in the community.
“Sylvie from France puts up a lot of freestyle videos. She looks graceful and looks like she’s dancing. I feel peaceful when I watch her videos. Also Vincent’s story was touching, and his videos are so fun, and he makes the impossible, possible.”
Val participated in her first 30-day challenge in August. She lost about 1.5 kg in the first challenge. She weighs herself every day and loses half a pound per week. At the end of the challenge, she lost 3 and a half pounds and was disappointed. But when she went to wear her dresses, she felt very comfortable. She felt like she dropped a dress size.
“I did some research, and I saw that you can be lean and still weigh the same because of muscle mass. I’m slowly realizing that the numbers on the scale don’t matter as much.”
In mid-September, Val got her hands on the Starter Set.
When she started using her new weighted ropes from Crossrope, she realized that she wasn’t tripping as much because the weight in the rope was giving her more feedback; she could feel where the rope was. She has also noticed more definition in her forearms, biceps, and shoulders.
“I learned a lot more skills and tricks in a month and a half of having my Crossropes than in the 6 months with my previous rope.”
In terms of advice, Val would say that you should try not to be discouraged or give up. It’s okay to learn at your own pace. She used to watch a lot of YouTube videos and practiced the different moves and techniques, and eventually, it clicked.
“With encouragement from the community, it will be much easier. With constant comments, encouragement, and advice, it’s helpful.”
Looking towards the future, Val looks forward to every aspect of a healthy lifestyle. And when it comes to jumping ropes, she wants to learn criss-crosses, side swings, and other tricks. She can’t do a full push up yet, so she wants to be able to challenge herself to do it with the right techniques. Her long-term goal is to be able to overcome menopause weight gain.
“If I focus on the lifestyle, I think I can do it.”
Val is always encouraged by the human spirit.
“If you watch the paralympics, you see how we can overcome disability and see the greatness of human spirit. The community that Crossrope offers is a place of encouragement where people are lifting each other up, overcoming challenges and pain. It’s a great feeling, and it’s awesome to be a part of this.”
Thanks for sharing your story, Val! We look forward to seeing you hit your fitness goals. Got questions or comments for Val?Please leave them in the comment section below!