The Jeralyn Egger Story

The Jeralyn Egger Story

Transforming Strength Personal Training Stories

In 2008, I was a 5’ 1” 51-year-old woman, weighing in at 181 lbs. and careening wildly towards 200 lbs.  Getting out of cars and chairs, going down stairs, and getting up off the floor, were becoming increasingly difficult.

One day as I was carrying my 1 ½ yr. old granddaughter down a steep flight of stairs I had an epiphany.  I had one of those “what if” moments.  “What if” I missed a step because of my weak muscle tone and compromised balance caused from being overweight? The thought of falling down a flight of stairs with a child in my arms shook me to my core. That “what if” was my wakeup call to do something to get control of my health. I was self-destructing with food and inactivity. I wanted my body and my mind to be strong and healthy for the years ahead with my family. 

That’s when personal trainer Matt Hartsky entered the picture. I was clueless where to begin with food choices and how I was actually going to get the excess weight off. All I knew to do was join a gym and at least begin to move my body.  At the gym I would observe Matt training his clients and wondered if I needed to get some help from a professional who knew what they were doing.  I finally got honest with myself and admitted I needed help. Two friends and I began training with Matt and I’ll always remember our first session.  I know I had a panic-stricken, incredulous look on my face as Matt was explaining the running drill he wanted us to do. I hadn’t attempted any running since high school, and even then, I was never an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.  I didn’t know how I was going to move my overweight body across that floor, but because I was desperate to get healthy; I knew I was going to try with everything I had in me.  Matt knew a secret that I didn’t yet know.  He knew I was capable of far more than I believed I was. 

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My weight loss goal was -50 lbs. and by the time we had trained with Matt for several months I had dropped 40. 

I wish I could tell you I had gone on to finish the last 10 lbs.  Instead, I entered an extremely stressful season of my life and fell back into the “fast food –I don’t have time or energy to cook” excuse trap. Regular work-outs became sporadic and sometimes non-existent. 

A toxic work environment, plus being the sole caregiver for my dad until his death, spiraled me into old emotional stress & eating patterns.  I eventually removed myself from the toxic work environment and continued caring for my dad over the next 1 ½ years.  

After my dad’s death, the reality that I had gained back 30 lbs. could not be ignored. I joined a gym and began to rebuild my body.  A few months into my new routine my husband had a motorcycle accident and I was once again a caregiver.  But I continued getting to the gym as often as I could as he recovered.   

Although Matt and his family had relocated to another state I had stayed in touch through social media.  One day I noticed he was offering an online personal training and nutrition coaching program.  I couldn’t type my personal message fast enough to request more information, sharing that I needed help getting back on track. 

I set my goal to lose 40 lbs. by my 60th birthday in June of 2017 and made my health a priority.  In addition to my once a week check-ins Matt was always available for my questions. 

 I learned to set aside the time to prep meals for the coming week so I didn’t fall into the black hole of fast food. When my body would hit a plateau Matt would adjust my nutritional needs and we would create a new approach. I journaled food intake and activity routines. Each month, for 3 months, I would receive my schedule of daily work-outs. Every day was different with a variety of exercises.  I was never bored and always challenged.  I still follow those work-outs today. 

I was encouraged as I lost weight, gained muscle, and became stronger.  In addition to his online training program Matt had opened a new personal training facility.  Even though it was a 4-hr. round trip for my husband and I, I transitioned from Matt’s online program to training on-site with him twice a month until my goal date.  Traveling to my first session, when we were about an hour away, my stomach started to knot up and my palms got sweaty. (Actually, that happened every time.) I was having flash backs about running, rubbery legs, and burning lungs:) He didn’t have me running this time…. but he did have me pulling tires around a parking lot! What a feeling of accomplishment when I reached my goal by my birthday!  Ever the wise trainer, Matt encouraged me to set another goal to pursue.  Again….he knew what I didn’t yet know…. I was capable of more than I believed I was.  

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Present day confession…. I procrastinated in pursuing the goal I set in my last session with Matt.  I allowed myself to become sidetracked, got lax in doing what I knew to do, and the weight began creeping back on.  As the old saying goes….” If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”  I was NOT going to slip back into the old self-destructive habits. I returned to meal prepping and the nutritional wisdom I learned from Matt.  I picked up the goal that I had placed on the back burner, dusted it off, broke it down into short range and long-range sections and I’m chasing it one day at a time.  I told myself, “No more excuses!” In fact, I wear a copper band with the words, “No Excuses”, inscribed on it.  I never take it off…. it’s on my wrist 24/7.  

I have discovered that taking care of myself is a learned behavior.  Self-destructive patterns can be overcome and transformed into positive life-giving choices by being humble enough to ask for help.  Like everyone, I have encountered stressful life situations that were out of my control.  I learned I am not helpless in those situations.  I have control over the foods that go in my mouth, the thoughts that run through my mind, and keeping my body as strong as it can be. 

Thanks, Matt, for your patience, professional guidance, encouragement, believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and of course, introducing me to tire-pulling!

You can also read more about Jeralyn’s story by visiting a post she wrote on her weight loss journey: