Ensuring a Brighter Future

Teri Kendhammer

Discovers a Healthier, "New Normal"

As she biked up the final hill for the Y’s Got Energy Triathlon, Teri Kendhammer felt overcome with emotions. She knew that she couldn’t have competed in this race just a year ago when she was 50 pounds heavier and out of shape. Teri thought about all she accomplished in 12 intensive months to get to this point. Although she still had the running leg left, she felt elated that she had come this far.


It was her first triathlon in June 2010, and Teri won second place in the Athena Category. This year, she took second place again. Always striving to improve her time, she was proud to beat it by 1-1/2 minutes.


Teri’s physical and mental transformation started with a painful realization in June 2009. She was vacationing with her family, including her husband, Mike, of 18 years, and their children then ages 10 and 13. Hiking around a beautiful lake in the Grand Tetons, stretching majestically into the blue sky, Teri was struggling to keep up. Finally, her son carried her back pack and her daughter kept encouraging her.


That sparked a humbling “ah-ha” moment: She wasn’t happy in her body. Her outside didn’t match her inside. It wasn’t always this way. Throughout high school and college, Teri was active and athletic. Although she battled her weight since she was 12, playing sports helped her to maintain the numbers on the scale.


After Teri had children, she became inconsistent about exercising. The trip brought her the awareness that she needed to change – and she planned to begin as soon as she returned home. She tried out the Y for about a month, before making a commitment to join. She enjoyed exercising in the Wellness Center and meeting new friends. She did cardio, Zumba, spinning, and weight training. Following her excellent example, her family joined the Y, and they all grew healthier together. Teri also has been a great role model for her students at Longfellow Middle School, where she teaches.


From July to November, Teri lost 20 pounds. Although she was pleased with her weight loss, she wanted to lose even more pounds. She hired a personal trainer at the Y as a Christmas present to herself. Committed to success, she worked with the trainer four times in December. She did the exercise routine from her trainer, who pushed Teri harder than she thought possible, twice a week on her own. By the new year, she regained her confidence, believing once again that she was a strong, disciplined woman.


Having a solid exercise routine intact, Teri desired to take the next, more difficult step for her health: to improve her diet. With the help of a holistic nutritionist, she shed 30 pounds and 44 inches from her 5-foot-7-inch frame in four months. When people ask her how she did it, she says she stopped eating processed foods and instead consumes “real food,” such as fruits, vegetables, and proteins.


Today Teri, at age 44, remains consistent with working out and competing in various races. It’s become her “new normal,” she says. Yet with all she’s achieved in a year, her most important reward is that she’s finally found peace with her body – because

she knows she’s truly healthy inside and outside.


By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC. 2011