There are some people that when we meet them, we like them instantly. That was exactly the case with Henrietta Tindall and her application for the 2019 RAC scholarship. Her video submission was the first we watched, and while each and every applicant impacted and impressed us in some way, Henrietta’s story stuck with us. Once we offered her the RAC Scholarship, which includes a year of personal training, fitness support, and a generous nutrition package from Colorado Nutrition of Fort Collins, Henrietta’s gratitude reinforced our decision.
What was it about Henrietta that impressed us so much? In a word, purpose. At RAC, we are very focused on our collaborative purpose of inspiring growth and impacting lives. All of us on the scholarship committee could plainly see how Henrietta’s personal agenda fell in line with our purpose and our company values. What she expressed to us was that not only did Henrietta want this scholarship to facilitate her own success, but she also desired to be able to set a healthy example for the rest of her family, particularly her three children.
“I want my family to see a stronger me,” she said. “Someone who can overcome anything.”
Henrietta did certainly have some hurdles to overcome in her life thus far. Growing up in South Carolina, she found that she didn’t really have to work hard to maintain a healthy weight, even though both her parents were overweight. However, that all changed in 2014 when her mom passed away.
“My mom was my best friend,” Henrietta tearfully explained. “She died just six months after my family and I moved out to Colorado.”
Henrietta’s mother had been diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease), which is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The cause of this disease is still unknown, and there currently is no cure. While Henrietta was still in South Carolina, she took care of her mother full-time. As she watched her mother’s health deteriorate, her and her family were faced with a tough choice when her husband’s work brought them an offer to move to Colorado.
“Knowing what I did about ALS, and being as close to my mom as I was… Moving away was so incredibly tough,” she recalled.
Despite the inevitability of the disease, Henrietta’s mom was supportive. She knew her daughter and the rest of her family would be happy here in Colorado. Henrietta and her mom still continued to talk on the phone every day, even in the last few months when the conversations became one-sided as her mom lost the ability to speak.
After her mother’s death, Henrietta quickly turned to food for comfort. Her depression, coupled with weight gain and stress from work, ultimately led to a complete mental breakdown. Even though this was a dark time for Henrietta, she was able to find comfort in her family and her therapist who helped pull her out of a pretty deep hole, but all of this took time.
“I knew about the RAC Scholarship last year, but I was just not ready,” Henrietta admitted. “I was still grieving and I needed that time to set my own priorities.”
This year when she saw the opportunity to apply for the RAC Scholarship, however, she was ready. Henrietta had already been working on eating healthier and becoming more active. She joined the RAC over a year ago. She got a stand-up desk at work, and would do stretches, squats, and other body weight exercises during her breaks. In December, she ran her first race, the Sweaty Sweater 5k. Henrietta has always loved running, but was always too scared to compete in any kind of race. She said her fear of not being good enough outweighed the potential sense of accomplishment. However, something changed for Henrietta this past year. She came from a place of ownership, acknowledging that the state of her health and wellness was entirely her responsibility.
“I decided I was not going to let life intimidate me anymore,” she explained. “I wanted to take control for myself, but also for my family and for my mom. She wouldn’t have wanted me to stop living my life.”
While she did complete the race, Henrietta wound up injuring herself, which seriously derailed her plans for reaching her optimum health. This ultimately was her request from us at the RAC – help Henrietta train the right way to be successful in her fitness goals for 2019. What exactly are those goals? Firstly, Henrietta wants more nutrition knowledge.
“I am kind of afraid of food at this point, “ she disclosed. “I am very limited in what I actually eat now, somewhat out of fear, but also it’s kind of a lack of inspiration. I just want to make sure I can figure out how to eat the proper way for sustainability’s sake, but also so I can cook that way for my family.”
Our friends at Colorado Nutrition will let their expertise shine here, as they will provide Henrietta with a completely personalized nutrition plan that she can sustain for a lifetime. Nutrition education is paramount in the Colorado Nutrition approach, as is science-backed eating. Fad diets come and go, but learning about nutrition and how foods will affect her body are going to supplement Henrietta’s success.
For more information on Colorado Nutrition, click the image above!
As far as fitness goals go, Henrietta wants to run a half-marathon, but not just any half-marathon.
“I want to do the Disney Princess Half-Marathon! I love Disney – I think about Disney constantly,” she laughs. “All the runners just look like they are having so much fun. Their expressions are so happy and bubbly and energetic, and a lot of them even wear fun costumes or tutus!”
Henrietta’s clearly defined goals were already in place when she came to us with her application, and we were so impressed with her direction. We could see that Henrietta was armed with the intrinsic motivation to do the work to be successful, and that she was ready to go all in, she just needed a little professional guidance. Henrietta was set up with our Director of Personal Training and Education, Justin Frank, to do a GMA (Goal and Movement Assessment). This assessment showed Justin the movement patterns and current athletic ability of Henrietta’s body, and also gave him insight into who would be the best personal trainer to match her with for her year-end goal. Henrietta was matched with Personal Trainer, Niki Veldman, who is a veteran runner herself, and also specializes in helping her marathon-running clients improve their form, endurance, and speed.
While Henrietta has come to us for help, we are so inspired by her resilience and tenacity thus far. She has positively impacted all of us that she’s encountered here at the RAC, and we have no doubts that she will succeed. We are still in the early stages of her training and nutrition plan, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates on this inspiring, powerful, wonderful woman.