BOLINGBROOK – Determined not to fall victim to a broken New Year’s resolution, Bolingbrook resident Gwyn Eggestein says she began her journey toward a healthier life during the final week of 2011.
A year-and-a-half later, she is a model of perseverance and a fitness advocate – recently speaking at the Bolingbrook Hospital Health Expo, appearing in a local Zip Fitness Commercial and regularly blogging about her workout regimen.
But, Eggestein, 33, said her triumph was not free from trials and tribulations.
After receiving a master’s in social work from the University of Illinois Chicago, giving birth to her son, Logan, and overcoming a severe case of bronchitis, the Bolingbrook native was overwhelmed and punishing herself with food, she said.
“I was up to 293 pounds because I was not working out and eating poorly,” Eggestein said. “I knew what I had to do to change, but I was not doing it. It was a vicious cycle of self-deprivation and self-punishment.”
The Chicago International Charter School social worker said she hit rock bottom after noticing unpleasant bodily changes.
“I realized that there were skin folds overlapping my knees and elbows,” Eggestein said. “One night, I went to a restaurant and could not fit into the booth. I knew I had to make a change.”
Eggestein started adhering to a Weight Watchers meal plan and was one of the inaugural Zip Fitness Bolingbrook members – beginning both in December 2011. Since then, she has lost more than 100 pounds and gone from a size 24 to a size 10.
She asserts that a key component to her physical transformation is continually incorporating new routines – trying everything from basic cardio to Zumba, water aerobics, Crossfit, yoga and weight training. Eggestein is training for the Chicago Marathon, where she will run for the Bright Pink Team.
While accountability and determination push her toward new goals, teamwork, communication and a sense of community is equally important, she said.
“As time went on, I invited all my friends to come work out with me,” Eggestein said. “I also met a bunch of people who shared common stories and had similar troubles with weight loss. I figure that if we eat together, we should work out together, too.”
Eggestein has run with that sense of community. In early 2012, she started blogging about her physical transformation – describing goals, fitness regimen, meal plans and healthy recipes.
After building a steady following by promoting her work on social media, Eggestein’s “Gwynspiration” blog was picked up by Chicago Now.
She said some of her most rewarding work is helping others find the motivation to become physically active.
“When people reach out to me, I tell them that the first step to a healthier life is open communication,” Eggestein said. “You must being honest and true to yourself; that’s the only way to make a change for the better.”
For information about Eggestein, follow her blog at www.chicagonow.com/gwynspiration-weight-loss.