Body Transformation: 111 Pounds Gone!

Michelle comes from a long line of obese moms. She was part of the club until fitness and healthy living open her eyes. See what she looks like 111 pounds lighter!

Name: Michelle Carlson
BodySpace: michelleswag

Michelle Carlson Michelle Carlson
AGE 23
236 lbs
AGE 33
125 lbs

Why I Decided to Transform

Weight has been an issue for my entire life. My mom and her mom struggled with weight and tried every fad diet available. I was eventually initiated into the cycle. We attended weight loss meetings once per week and binged after weigh-in night. We only had one night to hit three fast food restaurants and the corner store. After years of abuse from excess weight, my mom passed away at the young age of 42 when I was 17.

At age 20, I married the most wonderful man in the world. By age 23, I was a mother of two children and weighed more than 236 pounds. I should have been happy, but didn't have the energy to be. I didn't know who I was or what my purpose in life was.

My heart lifted and my mind started to grasp the fact that my fate had yet to be sealed and that I could make a difference. I tossed junk food out of my diet completely and immersed myself in training and nutrition classes. More importantly, I found myself. I had purpose and a strong voice inside.

Everything started to unfold naturally. My family adapted well to the new way of eating. To this day, my 13 and 11-year-old give nutrition lectures to their friends about why they shouldn't eat McDonalds.

Through a series of events, I became a certified fitness instructor, a personal trainer through NASM, and started a business dedicated to educating others about the power they hold within themselves. I run several boot camps per year that cover all exercise genres and focus on healthy nutrition and body image. I have a dream to take this philosophy further and bring this message to schools and businesses.

Fitness completely changed my life for the better. To date, I lost 100 pounds, but it's more than a number. I have a purpose. I had to go through valleys to appreciate the peaks. My mom never got the chance to see her kids marry and enjoy grandkids. I'm here to give myself, my family, and anybody who will listen, a shot at a better life. I wake up every day restored with energy to inspire others. I have the energy to live life to the fullest.

How I Accomplished My Goals

I started walking, and then moved to yoga, which lead to instructing. Divine intervention—I truly feel that way—led me to weightlifting. After the initial shock, I began to love what weight training did for me. For the first time in my life, I felt strong.

There were times when I felt like quitting, sometimes for days on end. There were times when the results slowed and I thought about chucking it all. Sometimes friends and family didn't understand and kept wondering when I would outgrow the "phase."

Through it all, I pressed on and told myself to suck it up. I got myself into this mess, and it was my responsibility to dig myself out. It became a job; I clocked in and did the work. Nobody ever got anywhere by quitting. It never hurts to have go-to inspirational videos.

What Aspect Challenged Me the Most

The most challenging aspect was overcoming my internal struggles. For years, I thought I wasn't good enough. Training came fairly easy because I could feel results. When I learned to use food as fuel for my workouts, everything came together. It took a combination of education and support to get me through.

My Future Fitness Plans

I plan to compete in 2013 and want to expand my business. I would love to work with more athletes both during the season and in the and off-season.

Suggestions for Aspiring Transformers

Don't quit. I know there are voices all around that questions your motives, but don't fall prey to negativity. People notice the work you put in.

For the longest time, I thought I was depriving my kids because I was at the gym. Then my son told me how thankful he is to have a healthy mom who provides an example of how to succeed. I'm nothing special, and if I can do it, so can you.

How Helped Me Reach My Goals

The motivation and support is astounding. The store is pretty cool, too. On days when I don't want to work out, I throw on a Fitness 360 video or browse success stories. Then I haul my butt to the gym and get it done.

The BodySpace members are great supporters because they're people like me. Sometimes you feel alone in your little fit bubble, but at BodySpace, you have a family to tell you to get off your lazy butt and keep going.