I Lost 75 Pounds with Zumba! Fluffy to Fitness Trainer

I started college at 24, working part time with a full school schedule, so cooking and eating healthy was not a priority. We ordered takeout quite a bit and spent many late nights studying at the local breakfast restaurant. After school, I started a position, requiring late nights, which meant we were ordering dinner out at work and grabbing quick lunches in the City. The pounds came on fast.

NAME : Angela
BEFORE WEIGHT : 225
AFTER WEIGHT : 150
POUNDS LOST : 75

HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? Might sound odd but I didn’t feel as heavy as I was. I had never been overweight and I believe I looked at it as something I would just take care of when I had more time. By the time I realized it, I had two children and seven years had passed. I was self-conscious, I did not like to see pictures of myself or I would try to hide in pictures.

WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I noticed the way some friends viewed me, none of them intentional, just a look (or not looking for that matter) or a little comment here or there. A stranger implied that some Moms are overweight because they eat their children’s food, which made no sense by the way, but my children were very small and I was not.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? One day, I just decided to do something about my weight. I was at a good point in my life, as a stay at home Mom and raising my children, and I was ready and able to give myself some attention. I wanted to start exercising to keep up with them so I joined a local YMCA. I did the elliptical and could last 5 minutes. Then a friend talked me in to a Zumba class there and I found a love of cardio dance to burn calories.

HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? Initially, the weight loss was fast and I got to 185 within a year. When I did a low carb diet, I dropped 30 pounds in 4 months. I maintained that weight for a year and a half on low carb but I was having a hard time building muscle so I changed my nutrition to include carbs. I gained back 15 pounds and stayed there for about two years, still exercising daily. When I started reducing calories to 1600 a day, I dropped to 20 pounds within a year.

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I was lucky not to have any medical issues and I have a supportive husband and inspirational friends to support me in my journey.

DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I was motivated by several things. My instructors and friends at my YMCA were encouraging and supportive.. Participating in athletic events satisfied my competitiveness and gave me purpose to increase endurance and strength. Instructing others now and seeing their accomplishments and enthusiasm also keeps me motivated to keep improving myself and the opportunity to share what I’ve learned.

DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I did plateau at some point with every diet I tried. It wasn’t until I started eating real, clean food with lots of whole grains and lean meats that I have hit a plateau where I am satisfied and comfortable.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? I’ve been on this journey for 13 years. I lost more at different times, with different diets. Today, I don’t believe in diets. I eat about 2200 calories on a regular day, lots of protein, carbs and good fats, and when I splurge, I don’t regret it or get mad at myself. I enjoy good food and don’t ever feel like I am missing out on anything.

DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I have completed 15 Spartan races, a few lasting 5 hours or more, and participated in many local 5ks and even a 10k. At 43, I became a group fitness instructor and at 50, I became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.

WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? We ate out quite a bit. Fast food was convenient for the family as we busy with activities. I would prepare meals at home as well and eat two servings usually at every meal. I ate until I was too full. We ate veggies but they always included a side of carbs and a meat.

HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was heavier, I played softball with a local group but my weight slowed me down. I’m competitive so I wanted to be faster and stronger and I knew I needed to lose weight to get there. Once I found the activity I enjoyed, Zumba/cardio dance, I wanted to do daily. I was obsessed with it, driving to different locations to take the classes I enjoyed. Then I won an auction at my daughter’s school for a Metabolic Makeover program that included nutrition advice and weight training. My passion was cardio but I found a new love in resistance training. I was getting faster and stronger in doing the activities I enjoyed.

HOW DID YOUR EATING HABITS CHANGE? I tried several different ways of eating throughout my journey. I did low carb for a year and half and lost 30 pounds overall. When I decided I wanted to eat all foods, I gained back 15. The most success I’ve had is with an app, logging my food each day and counting calories. I tried meal prepping but got tired of eating the same thing several times a week.

ARE THERE ANY PEOPLE, SERVICES, BOOKS – EVEN QUOTES, THAT UNKNOWINGLY HELPED YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY?
Not anyone famous or nationally known but a local fitness instructor made a huge impact on my journey. She was encouraging and supportive and helped me to build my confidence.

WHAT DID THIS JOURNEY TEACH YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
This journey helped me to be myself, to let my best qualities come out. I was the quiet one who avoided attention, except around those I was most comfortable, but now, I have the courage and confidence to stand up in a crowd, to be myself all of the time, not just with those who know me best.

MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS

  1. Get up and get moving early. I think of how I’m going to feel if I’m still sitting there hours later, having done nothing. I’ll be mad at myself, wishing I hadn’t skipped that class because I’m less likely to do something on my own.
  2. Don’t deprive yourself! If you’re craving something sweet, have a small portion, let that bite melt in your mouth (thinking of M&M’s) and make it the best 5 minute taste of your life. If you do splurge, don’t beat yourself up. Get back on track tomorrow.
  3. Make sure your headphones are charged at all times. I can’t workout without music.
  4. Log your food! You ate it, own it.
  5. Weigh every day. I know lots disagree with this but it’s a lot easier to put weight on than to take it off. I don’t punish myself for a gain, it just keeps me in check.