By Anna Tailleur
In August of 2014, at age 36, Carin Cummings weighed 425 pounds and could barely walk a few yards before needing to stop and rest. Now 38 and 178 pounds, Carin sits at a picnic table outside the Glenville YMCA and recounts her “out of control” weight gain and her ultimate decision to take control of her body.
It all started when she was 20 years old, when her weight first became an issue. “I’d lose weight from time to time,” Carin said. “But then I’d plateau, get discouraged and give up.”
Then, in October of 2014, Carin made the life-changing decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. “I used to believe that weight loss surgery was an easy way out,” Carin said. “I was very wrong; nothing about it was easy.”
Although surgery allowed her to lose significant weight, the harder part — leading a healthy lifestyle — was something she had to work toward alone.
In high school, Carin was someone who, during gym class and sports practices, would run only when the coaches were looking. As soon as they turned their backs, Carin would hide and rest until the activities were over. Carin’s relationship with exercise has changed drastically since then. “I don’t want to cut corners anymore,” she said. “I just want to do it.”
Carin achieved her first major accomplishment when, on May 30th 2015, she crossed the finish line at the Freihofer’s Run for Women and Kids 5k. For years she promised her daughter they would run the race together, but never followed through.
“It took me one-and-a-half hours and we finished dead last out of 3,000+ people,” Carin said. “But I did it.”
For the next year, Carin continued to work hard on her own, accomplishing steady weight loss goals until she found the Glenville YMCA in March of 2016.
Carin was nervous about joining a gym; she worried others would judge her. However, upon entering the Y for the first time, her nerves were alleviated. “It doesn’t feel like you’re just another person paying a membership like the bigger gyms,” Carin said. “It’s kind of like a family; they [the YMCA staff] care about how you’re doing.”
The Glenville Y has become a home for Carin and her boyfriend, Keith. They show up to workout every day for two-to-three hours. Carin takes advantage of the Y’s many amenities including group exercise classes, the pool, weight room, personal trainers and Adult Volleyball League.
Her current goals include running her first triathlon in Duanesburg at the end of the summer, becoming a faster runner, and starting school in the fall to become a personal trainer. “I’d like to work at the Y someday,” Carin said. “My goal is to become a personal trainer and help people get healthy the way I did.”
Her message to individuals struggling to lose weight is to keep trying. “I tried for so long and kept failing,” Carin said. “Every time you fall down, just get back up and keep doing it; eventually you’ll get there.”
Carin’s children help her to stay motivated because she wants to show them that with hard work, anything is possible in life. She now encourages everyone to join the Y.
“Because of the Y,” Carin said, “I have more confidence.”