Erin Barstad is a 2019 National Challenge finalist and member at Farrell’s Eden Prairie, Minnesota. We are so proud of Erin’s accomplishments and honored to share her Farrell’s story with you.
Searching for an Answer
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that increases weight gain, suppresses energy levels, and causes depression. In addition to weight gain, it can also limit a person’s ability to lose weight, no matter how hard they try to improve their health.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is something I have personally dealt with for many years. It was one of the many excuses – along with two car accidents, shoulder surgery, and herniated discs – I used to explain my weight gain. But I didn’t grow up being overweight. I used to love running and working out. In high school, I even ran on the track team!
I tried many different things in an attempt to combat the extra 80 pounds I gained since graduating high school. Joining typical gyms didn’t work for me; I always ended up quitting within days. Hiring expensive personal trainers got me nowhere, and group fitness classes failed to keep me accountable.
However, as time passed, I developed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, gave birth to three beautiful boys, and developed a few unhealthy habits along the way. I became unrecognizable. Who was this woman I saw in the mirror every morning? How could I have let myself get to this point? As you can imagine, this did nothing to boost my self-esteem, and my depression deepened.
No More Excuses
As 2017 came to a close, I decided that 2018 had to be the year I would find myself again. I missed running and exercising. I’m a massage therapist and a baseball and soccer coach, and I didn’t like the example I was setting for my clients, my children, and the kids I coached.
So what did I need to do to lose weight? This question was a tough one for me to answer. Then, one day, my massage client, Brooke, told me she was joining the Farrell’s 10-Week Challenge. I thought, why not? At least this time I’ll have a friend to workout with. The next day, I mentioned my plan to another friend, Allie, and she joined the program the very next day. Having these two women by my side gave me the confidence to join the 5 AM workout class for the January 10-Week Challenge. And as it turns out, Farrell’s was everything I was looking for!
When I started Farrell’s, I was 247 pounds – my heaviest weight. I dreaded hitting that 250-pound mark. At first, it was hard! Waking up early every morning was a tough routine to start. But thanks to my two friends and our amazing coaches – shoutout Crystal and Kylie! – I’m proud to say that I did it!
Watching the other Farrell’s members kick-butt every day was so motivating, and my goal was to keep up with them. It worked! Within the first three weeks of the challenge, my massage clients were asking me to back off on the massage pressure – something that was never asked of me before!
After six weeks, instead of wearing oversized shirts to the gym, I found the confidence to wear more form-fitting workout clothes! The pounds were dropping, I had so much more energy, and shopping for new clothes was actually exciting! By the end of the 10-Week Challenge, I lost 31.9 pounds and 6.5% body fat. This was the start of a brand new me!
I’m Not Finished Yet!
This newfound success was incredible, but I knew I wasn’t finished yet! I joined the Farrell’s $10,000 National Challenge. I knew this challenge would help keep me motivated to improve myself – not just physically, but mentally.
My husband signed up for the next 10-Week Challenge, which gave me the support I needed at home. The support I received from everyone around me helped me the most through this journey.
I decided to become a Farrell’s coach and a part-time instructor. It helped me so much to be the motivation that others needed and to be a positive example to others. Through this shared experience, I also learned to believe in myself. Seeing what my hard work achieved helped me keep going, even on my toughest days.
Thanks to Farrell’s, one year later, I have accomplished:
- Losing 80 pounds
- Losing 54 inches (that’s 4.5 FEET!)
- Losing 20% body fat
- Gaining confidence
- Making new and lasting friendships
- Going from size 24 to size 8
- Fitting into a new wardrobe
A New Chance at Life
As I reflect on this amazing year, I want to personally thank a few key people who helped make this dream a reality. A huge thank you to Brooke and Allie, for being my accountability partners and keeping it real. To Crystal and Kylie, for being great 10-Week Challenge coaches, and to Lindsay, for being my Farrell’s coach. Finally, thank you Dale and Greg, for having such an amazing and motivating gym, and to Lance Farrell, for creating a wonderful program!
I would love to win the $10,000 National Challenge prize, not only for myself but for everyone involved. Reaching my fitness and health goals was a shared effort. I’m so proud of what I have accomplished, but it took mountains of support, personalized coaching, and the social experience of getting through a tough workout.
Farrell’s gave me back my life. It brought me back to myself and gave me a bright new chance to live my life, love my family, and be the best person I can be. Farrell’s Eden Prairie, this win is for YOU!