- Annette Miller was selected to be a part of 2013 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program
- Miller lost 100 pounds before joining the program and close to another 100 during it
- Miller and her teammates completed the Nautica Malibu Triathlon
In March 2010 I found out my twin sister, Bobbette, needed a kidney transplant. With a body mass index of well over 50, I was ruled out as a donor.
At that moment, I decided I would get healthy once she got healthy. I decided that my weight would never again keep me from doing something I wanted.
Bobbette got a new kidney in June and was finally getting back on her feet in September.
Then it was my turn.
I weighed 385 pounds -- and no, it wasn't because I like to eat. I grew up as a fat kid, and food was my coping mechanism.
In September 2011, I started walking. By the end of the year, I started making better food choices. In January 2012, I joined my local Y, where I started taking water classes such as H²O cardio and hydrorider.
In June 2012 I was down to 330 pounds. One of my best friends, Anje, volunteered to help me lose even more weight. She figured out quickly that I loved sports; more than anything I wanted to be an athlete. She came up with a plan for us to approach my weight loss in phases. At the end of each phase, I would do some athletic feat.
At the end of phase one, I would run a 5K without stopping. Phase two was a half marathon. She suggested a triathlon for phase three; I laughed in her face and told her she was crazy.
Fate had another plan. One morning I heard Jeff Dauler
on "The Bert Show
" recount the biggest lesson he had learned from being part of the CNN Fit Nation 2012 team
. That lesson was "In times of transition, keep moving forward. It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you keep going forward."
That year was a time of transition for me and to "keep moving forward," I knew I had to be part of the 2013 CNN Fit Nation team.
On Christmas Day 2012, I got the best present ever: a Facebook message from a producer saying CNN had to talk to me. I knew this was going to be big.
"Surprise, welcome and congratulations. ..." I heard those words from Dr. Sanjay Gupta and immediately screamed and started to cry. I finally had a team, and I was going to be a triathlete in nine months.
The biggest obstacle for me was cycling. I had never clipped into a bike, and I was terrified by the thought of it. By the time we got to our midway training trip in Clermont, Florida
, I was doing better but still hated it.
With two words, my trainer April Burkey made me a cyclist on that trip -- and started to heal some emotional scars. We were coming off a huge hill, and she said, "Let go. ..."
At that point she was talking about the brakes, but we had been talking all day about my self-perception. Like braking on a bike, I was holding on too tightly to people, words and situations that had hurt me and to worries about things over which I have absolutely no control.
When it came time for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, I had no fear. I knew without a doubt I would finish. I was so excited and thankful for this opportunity to live out a childhood dream of being on a team. I had lost nearly 200 pounds and was healthier and happier than ever.
As I was out on the course, I would see my teammates, and every time we would yell words of encouragement to each other. It didn't matter who finished first as long as we finished. I had a sense of finally belonging. I never felt more free and confident in my life as I did when I threw my hands in the air as I crossed the finish line.
I left all the words and actions that hurt and haunted me since childhood along with the unhealthy, unhappy woman I used to be at the finish line in Malibu on September 8, 2013.
I had finally "let go."
Now the only thing left to do is keep moving forward.
Follow Miller's journey on Twitter @TriHardAnnette