Welcome to Fit for a Pit!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sandi Kelly Showalter. I am a freelance writer with a passion for animals, television, reading and, of course, writing. I started this blog for my daughter, Brynn and her efforts to get fit.

As a little girl Brynn loved to play outside, jump on the trampoline, swim, do gymnastics and figure skating. Her favorite food was salad, and her Dad and I limited her consumption of soda and snacks. As she grew older and started asserting her independence, her eating habits started to change and her physical fitness lessened. With an active school, work and social life, she found it much easier to grab fast food and was often too tired, or just not motivated, to do any kind of exercise. Now, at 16-years-old, ready to enter her Junior year of high school, she finds herself at 5’3″ and 152 lbs. She doesn’t like being the same weight as her 5’4″ Mom.

I don’t like being this weight either. For years I weighed in at 112lbs. Two weeks after Brynn was born, I was back at that weight. As happens in life, though, age slips upon you and brings with it gray hair (easily colored), fine lines (add some make-up) and weight (not-so-easily fixed.) I look around at my friends from high school and see many of us that were svelte at 18 are now pushing the pudge or downright fat at 40. Some of them are still disgustingly fit and thin, but I believe they do work at it.

It is never easy, at least for most people, to get motivated to get fit. There’s always that bowl of chocolate ice cream calling or that bag of chips chirping in your ear whispering sweet nothings. The couch appeals much more after a long day than dragging your butt to the gym or even going for a walk around the block. My husband, Chris and I, really started to get concerned not so much about her added weight, (she doesn’t like that) but about her health. She complains often of fatigue and upset stomach. We would talk to her about eating better and exercising, but although she would agree that she should do those things, she never did. So, the question is how do you motivate a teenager to get fit? Bribe her!

For Brynn, money can be a powerful motivator, but as we found out last year by offering to pay her to clean the house, it’s not powerful enough. Threats and pleadings don’t particularly work either. Since she has a part-time job at Chick-fil-A and is vice-president of a very active student government, it’s not practical to take away her car to force her to walk. That’s where emotional blackmail and bribery enter the picture. Please imagine me gleefully rubbing my hands together and letting out a hearty, Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Actually, the idea came to me quite unexpectedly.

We currently have two dogs. Shadow is a 12 or 13-year-old beautiful German Shepherd that we rescued in November of 2008, when her owners moved and decided to put her to sleep rather than take her with them. Mango is a 4-year-old Pit mix that we saved from the Hillsborough County Animal Shelter in May 2009. She was so sweet. She turned out to be heartworm positive and we know if we hadn’t taken her, she would have been a dead dog the next day. Before adopting Mango, I was like many other people, very wary of getting a dog with Pit Bull in her. I quickly learned just how wrong public opinion surrounding pit bulls can be. Part of the reason we adopted Mango was so Shadow would have a companion. As it turned out though, Mango is still very much a puppy and Shadow is an old, mature lady. They get along with each other, but Mango’s energy and exuberance are often times too much for Shadow, who would prefer to lay in her favorite spot in the yard. After seeing that Mango and Shadow were mismatched in energy levels, Brynn and Chris wanted to add to our pack. I, on the other hand, had no desire to have three dogs in the house.

When we adopted Mango, we started learning more about the Pit Bull breed. We already watched “Dog Whisperer”, but also picked up “Pit Bulls and Parolees”, “Pit Boss” and watched shows on the Michael Vick dogs. The more we watched, the more my husband and daughter pressed me to get a Pitty. My thoughts were still “Three dogs? No way.” Brynn and Chris would regularly show me extremely cute dogs on Petfinder.com, but my mind was set. She would promise to take care of the new dog, to walk it and feed it and every other thing, which I knew wouldn’t last past the first week of two. Then one night we were sitting around and Brynn and I were trying to find ways to get motivated to exercise. All summer long we kept saying we were going to start a diet and exercise program, but it kept getting put off. Imagine that. An idea struck me. I turned to her and said, “If you lose 15 lbs, then we can get a Pit Bull.” She didn’t hesitate, she jumped at the chance. Chris looked at me and said, “I think she might really do it. Not only will this get her healthy, it will save the life of a Pit Bull.”

Brynn is not known for sticking to diets or exercising, but that next day we set out for Play It Again Sports and picked up some light weight dumbbells and an exercise mat. We also hit the grocery store and added more fresh vegetables and fruits to our choices we had at home. She found out that Lifestyle Family Fitness offers a free two month membership to teens during the summer, so we signed her up. She talked her friend, Sarah into signing up with her, which is important for Brynn since she is a very social person and hates doing anything alone. She’s also planning out her meals and making healthier choices. At work, instead of getting a sandwich, a waffle fry and a Coke, she’s going for grilled chicken salads with light dressing, sides of fruit and an UNSWEETENED iced tea. Brynn giving up soda is truly a big deal. She has already hit the gym three times in a week and also done some workouts at home, thanks to video-on-demand. One night after work, she went out and slipped and had cheese sticks, but what she noticed was after eating them she felt sick to her stomach. She is starting to realize that her food choices from before may have caused a lot of her health issues.

After one week, I am proud to say that she has already dropped 4 pounds and is feeling pretty good. Now, I can’t stand hypocrites, so I decided I have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Although I am not exercising as much as she is, I am getting some and have also improved my own eating habits. I’ve added steamed vegetables to my diet and am trying my best to stay away from my nemesis: chocolate. Brynn and I do allow ourselves one treat a day, but we try to go for lower calorie and lower fat options. I noticed that some of my shorts are feeling a bit looser.

I hope you will join us on our journey as Brynn and I get fit in order to save a Pit. As her excitement and enthusiasm grows for her goal, she has already started her search for the perfect Pit. She found Adrianne, aka Girlie, on Petfinder.com from the Dogma Rescue organization. Since she has shown dedication and indicated a desire to continue keeping a healthy lifestyle, we have already submitted our application to adopt this adorable Pit. Although we still have the home visit to get through and Brynn has another 11 lbs to lose, I can’t help but think that this is a win-win-win situation for all involved. Brynn wins because she gets healthy and gets another dog. Adrianne, or perhaps another pit, wins with a loving, forever home with two other animal companions. Chris, who wanted a Pit just as much as Brynn wins, because he doesn’t have to do anything other than support us and he gets his dog. Finally, I win, because I will get healthier, my daughter will get healthier and I will lose my heart to another Pit Bull.

  1. DEBBIE EDDY says:


  2. Jaime says:

    Great job getting fit! It’s a hard road. The doggies are so cute. Your such a sweetie for adopting dogs.

  3. chris says:

    Brynn is doing a great job! I think she will really do it.. not just for a pit but for herself!

  4. Marni Burgess says:

    Very nice – love the writting style! Good luck to you all!

  5. Karen says:

    Good luck! You go girls!

  6. DoesP90XWork says:

    Hi guys. What a great post, and great photos too. Wishing you the best of luck on your journey 🙂

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