DESTREHAN – When Christina Landry started her fitness journey over two years ago, she could barely walk a block. Just a few weeks ago, she ran across the finish line of her first half marathon.
Landry, a Destrehan resident, remembers exactly what drove her to start her health journey.
“I had gotten so unhealthy,” Landry remembers. “When life got tough, I ate. I was a big-time stress eater, and before I knew it I was close to 300 pounds.”
Landry said her extra weight caused embarrassment, which greatly affected her and her family’s social life, as well as a need for cholesterol and blood pressure medications. At the time her husband Calvin was battling severe complication with Crohn’s Disease, which Christina said almost killed him twice.
“I felt it was unfair of me for my kids to have two sick parents when I could change my health condition for the better by simply making better lifestyle choices,” she said. “I just needed help.”
Christina’s need for help and guidance led her to apply to Get Fit United, a free fitness and health program offered by United Way of St. Charles in partnership with Anytime Fitness Luling, nDurance Fitness and Ochsner Corporate Wellness.
“The Get Fit program taught me about the nutrition I needed to get me and my family where we needed to be, even if they don’t like it some days,” Landry said with a laugh.
Landry said she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of her goals without Shelbi Robicheaux, the Anytime Fitness personal trainer who started out as her Get Fit trainer but continues to train her to this day.
“I also attended nutrition classes weekly at United Way,” Landry said. “A dietician led us through courses that taught us the proper ways to read labels and plan meals.”
Big changes in nutrition, like meal prepping and only keeping healthy food in the house, have helped Landry and her family, including 17-year-old son Cody and 14-year-old Caylee, all get healthier. Exercising five days a week, with two of those days being group training, have led to big results for Landry.
Since joining Get Fit United in May 2017, Landry has lost a total of 123 pounds and gone down eight sizes in clothes. Even so, she said she’s not finished just yet.
“Running was always my greatest physical challenge,” Landry said. “I wanted to be a runner so bad and through time I was able to do a half mile.”
Landry said because running was at the top of her bucket list, Robicheaux started training her to do a half marathon.
“The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon date was posted, but I was on the fence about whether I was ready or not for this race,” Landry, who battled with an training injury early on, said. “Shelbi told me to sign up for the race and pay for it that way I couldn’t back out, and she said she would have me ready. I was nervous but I did it.”
Last month, Landry completed the half marathon with some friends from her training group.
“As a trainer, when someone hits their goals it’s a feeling you can’t really describe,” Robicheaux said. “When Christina started training, we set the goal to finish the race, and crossing the finish line is the ultimate achievement. By finishing the race she knew she didn’t cross the finish line, what she really did was cross the starting line to all her future goals.”
Landry said a text from her husband in the last leg of the race gave her the energy she needed to finish.
“I was exhausted, but so happy I did it,” she said of the race. “This was indeed the hardest physical challenge I have ever done and the most rewarding. I had accomplished running a race of 13.1 miles when I could barely walk a block without getting winded when I first started this.”
Fitness has changed many things for her family, Landry said, adding she hopes her children are learning a lesson that people can always change and make good lifestyle choices. Her future goals include hitting her goal weight and running her first full marathon in December.
“I fight every day for the healthy me,” Landry said. “I do it for me because I am finally comfortable with who I am and where I am now and I will fight to stay here.”