Sometimes you meet someone and you know they were put in your life for a reason. I remember when I first met Alicia Fechtmeister; we were both standing outside Armbrust YMCA and I commented on how amazing she looked. I had seen her around the Y and noticed she was working hard: it was showing dramatically in the shape of her face and the confidence she bestowed.
Today I talked with Alicia about her wellness journey and what prompted her to change her lifestyle. Alicia and her husband Bob both graduated from Lincoln and immediately after graduation, began to live the American dream. Busy is an understatement to describe her family life. Owning a business and raising five children ranging in ages from 5 – 16, finding time for anything outside of family and work is a daily challenge. Through the years, Alicia really didn’t participate in many wellness activities, her focus was primarily keeping the family up and running.
Bob liked to run and did participate in some races when he had a chance. Three years ago, Alicia took her two boys to watch Bob run the Lincoln marathon. Afterwards, she found a picture of herself with Bob and the boys comemorating that day, and she couldn’t believe that was actually her. Many thoughts went through her mind, including:
“I don’t like how I look”…
“I don’t like how I feel”…
“I want to look good for my husband (although she knows that he loves whatever size she is)”…
“I want to be healthy.”
She didn’t want to wait until a doctor told her she needed to lose weight or until she suffered a heart attack to get into shape, so Alicia started making some changes in her life. She and her family joined Armbrust YMCA and she started attending one class per week. Shortly after that, she began the FAST program and learned about balancing what went into her body with what went out. She was hooked on healthy – she was all in.
Initially weighing in at 236, she upped her classes to 7 days per week. Alicia found she loved spin class and combined with the FAST Program, she began to see changes in her weight and her body. Alicia reports it was “liberating” to not have to shop in the fat aisle at the store!
During this time, her husband continued to run. He and a friend were preparing for a 5K and asked Alicia to join them. She and her sister joined the guys and her sister kept pace with her until she completed her very first 5K! That accomplishment gave Alicia more confidence and she started a love/hate relationship with running. To this day she still doesn’t love it, but it is something that she and Bob can do together.
Alicia has found continued support from her husband and her sisters, along with various members at the YMCA. While her weight has fluctuated some, she continues on her journey and is the first to admit that she is not where she wants to be; but this is also not the end of her journey.
This past weekend, Alicia ran the Lincoln ½ marathon. Admittedly, this is not something she ever thought she would do and she finished strongly with a 12 ½ minute pace! Bob ran by her side, supporting and encouraging her the whole way. She says she is overwhelmed by the number of people who sent her texts and messages encouraging her along her run. She didn’t realize how many people were pulling for her!
Ultimately, Alicia wants to give back. She has invited other Y members to the Color Run with her and she has promised to run at their pace, just has Bob and her sister did for her. Has she made an impact on her children? Bob will say she has. Last week their youngest child was on a workout machine and said,
You never know who you may be impacting or who may be observing. As Alicia has learned, her journey just isn’t about her, but those who are watching and motivated by her determination.