I had grown up as always being the chunky kid. My parents call me stocky and thick, lol! I always think back to that description and laugh.
I have a sister that is 2.5 years younger and she has always been blessed as a thin girl. To this day she is naturally about a 2 or 4. After high school, my weight just kept packing on. I felt like if I looked at food, I gained weight. I started working at Alltel in early 2002. I was in customer service at the time, which was just sitting. I got to the point that I was just in plain denial with it. I remember making excuses to myself, that the reason my pants were too tight, was that my husband must have shrunk them in the dryer. I would not accept the fact that I knew what I was eating was terrible for me and I was not doing any exercise. I had McKenzie, my daughter in 2003,and this certainly didn’t help my weight issue. By the time I had her I was up to 278 lbs at 5’6. I was a size 20/22. I remember not being able to bend down and tie my shoes. I would literally have to pull my leg up over my other leg and tie the shoe, which would leave me out of breath, and that was just tying 2 shoes. So what did I do? I stopped buying anything with ties, buckles, or clasps. I made sure that I only wore clogs, or slip on type shoes. This way I never had to acknowledge how simple something like tying shoes was so hard for me. We have a 2 story house, and I used to be so out of breath from just taking the laundry from downstairs up to our bedrooms.
When it came to family vacations, we loved to go to the beach. Here is the description of a beach or pool outing: My husband and daughter always in the water, running, playing and having a great time, where was I? On the sidelines, wearing knit pants and tee shirt, not daring to get into a swimsuit!!!! I remember McKenzie looking at me and saying Mommy, why don’t you ever swim with me? This was heartbreaking to hear! This was part of the process where I knew I had to change. I couldn’t even cross my legs!!! Those are little things you don’t realize how hard if you have ever been big!
Here are some key points, however I stayed in denial until 2009. I did not set foot on a scale for those 6 years, after the nurse told me how much I weighed when having McKenzie.
In 2005 I won a trip to Miami with my work. I had not been on an airplane in years and was so excited. My husband was getting to go with me. We were stepping on the airplane, and I went down the aisle and realized just how small the seats looked. I sat down and attempted to buckle up and realized that I could not get the seat belt to buckle! My husband just looked at me, and said we can get a longer one, he was always very supportive!! The attendant came over and got me an extension. I was mortified. I was dreading the trip home the entire trip!! We went to Carowinds Amusement Park in 2007, and i waited in line for an hour to ride the “vortex!” It is a stand up roller coaster that goes upside down. I got on all excited, and I realized that I couldn’t get the shoulder bracket to lock on me! I kept pulling and pulling, and finally an attendant came over and of course kept trying to push it down to lock, and they finally said, “mam, you are going to have to get off, this will not lock!” Talk about humiliation, all these people had to watch me get off this ride due to not being able to fit in it. That’s when I realized there was a MAJOR problem, I realized that my body was out of control, but I still didn’t take responsibility just yet.
Finally in February 2009, I drew the line in the sand! I got on the scale and weighed in at 308lbs wearing a size 24!!!!! I finally decided that I had to make a change. I committed to myself that I would start the diet on 2/15/2009 (day after Valentines Day, had to get that last good dinner in at the Melting Pot 🙂 ) I signed up for weight watchers online and started doing Zumba® at home!! I had heard a friend tell me how much fun Zumba® was, so I figured I would try it. With the combination of eating right and doing Zumba®, that first week I lost 10 lbs! I was so excited, that’s all the motivation I needed!! I kept it up. In the beginning, I could only do about 2 Zumba® songs and I was beat, but I started looking forward to that part of my day. I was doing Zumba® at home about 3 days a week. I ate a lot of salmon, no fried foods, only grilled! No sweets, unless weight watcher treats. I got off soda within the 2nd week, which was the hardest! I only drink water!!! The pounds just kept melting off! People were starting to notice and that’s the best part of all!!!! I was able to start buying new clothes which made me feel so good!! Finally in December 2009, I had dropped about 70 lbs, feeling much better, I finally got enough guts to join the gym so that I could do Zumba® classes live!!! I was so excited yet so scared, and worried what someone might think. Because, even at 238 lbs, I was much bigger than most in my class. Immediately the entire class was so supportive and FUN!!! I loved every minute of it, I met lots of friends, and best of all the weight was coming off and I was gaining control of my life!!! That’s the best feeling to know that you can control what happens to you!!!
The one thing that I did have under control since 2002 was my job! I was a very hard worker, despite my out of control eating habits and under active lifestyle. I started Alltel at 19. I started in customer service, and immediately grew for the love of the wireless industry. At age 20, I went into the retail store world and LOVED it. I knew immediately I wanted to pursue this as my career! At age 23 I was promoted to Retail Store Manager and was in charge of several locations. It was After the Alltel/Verizon merger, I came in contact with T-mobile, and I decided to explore them. I got hired on with T-mobile in October 2009 as Retail Store Manager. By August of 2010 at the age of 28 ( one of the youngest district managers there was) , I was promoted to Coastal Carolina District Manager, overseeing 9 stores along the coast. This required me to move my family to Myrtle Beach SC. This job required tons of driving and traveling!. I quickly grew tired of this, meanwhile my love for Zumba® was growing and growing.
With that being said, I joined the gym in Myrtle Beach soon after arriving and the Zumba® love just kept growing. I was going 6 days a week and just couldn’t get enough. I have muscles I never knew existed. I have all the outfits, the shoes, the bracelets, the whole bit!!! I started telling people my story and I loved the look on their face and I could tell they were inspired! Anyone that is overweight and I know they are struggling with it, I try to talk to them and share my story and give them the possibility of change!! Zumba® made me feel alive again!! By March of 2011, I was Down 155lbs and wearing a size 4!!!I lost my evil double twin!!!I realized in 2011, that my heart was not in my current District Manager job any longer, my heart and passion was inspiring people to get healthy and do Zumba®!! It changed my life and I knew I wanted to help change others. I talked to my Grandparents back in Anderson SC and decided that I really wanted to open my own studio up back home in Greenville SC. They have always been so supportive of me and agreed to help me get it started. They are the most wonderful people I know. I know they are so proud of me for getting the weight off. I made the hardest decision and gave my notice to my job on 3/11/2011. I was leaving my career (which by the way paid extremely well) to live the life of my dreams!! I just felt it was the right thing to do!!! I told them my last day would be April 5th. I told them my dream and plan and they respected it and wished me the best. My dad died at age 45 of a major heart attack, and I wanted to make sure I made my life count for something!!! Best choice Ever 🙂
My goal in ALL this after losing close to 170 lbs is to HELP other and give HOPE!!! If I am able to change ONE life, then its worth EVERY RISK out there 🙂 I LOVE WHAT I DO 🙂 I now own Fitness Shakers and have 2 locations!! Check it out at www.fitnessshakers.net