WEIGHT 275 lbs
BODY FAT 57.8%
WEIGHT 168 lbs
BODY FAT 25.6%
I never made exercise or dieting a priority. I never got why someone would go to the gym and sweat. When I was a kid, I played basketball, tennis, volleyball, cheered, and did anything I could to be active. In eighth grade, I stopped and gained weight slowly. Occasionally, I would get on a kick, work out for a few months, lose 10 pounds, and gain 20 back.
By 2007, I was a size 18/20. My diet included two sodas per day. Donuts were breakfast and the closest thing I got to protein and veggies was a cheeseburger with ketchup. I was called worthless, fat, and ugly so many times I lost count. But I never saw myself as overweight, so I continued to gain. In 2010, I tried CrossFit workouts. That lasted 10 weeks. I saw great changes, but one day I couldn't do one of the workouts, got frustrated, and never went back. I gained every pound back and more.
I went to Europe in the summer of 2011 and was excited to share photos of me in front of Buckingham Palace and on top of a Bavarian Alp. When I got home, I saw myself and realized there wasn't enough photo editing in the world to make me feel better about the woman I saw. Every day was a struggle; I had no energy and little confidence. I went shopping, which I loved, until the only pair of jeans that fit was a size 26. I wanted to cry.
I went home, stepped on the scale, and saw 275 pounds. I stepped off and on a dozen times, but the number never changed. I had to do something, but couldn't go to the gym like that, so I went to the doctor thinking my thyroid was out of balance. Negative. My thyroid was normal. My doctor said I had to do something and that I might be a prime candidate for weight loss surgery because I might be someone who can't lose weight. I didn't want surgery, but didn't know what I to do. It felt like I was standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest in flip-flops and shorts being told to "start climbing."
In December 2011, I was looking on Facebook and noticed a photo with the quote: "You can have excuses. You can have results. You can't have both." That quote stuck with me and kept replaying in my head. I got up enough courage to email Derek Trombetta, my personal trainer friend, and asked if he would help me get started. He said "absolutely." I told Derek I would follow the plan and wouldn't make excuses.
I told my family and friends what I was doing. They didn't understand why, but I had to for me. I'm sure they kept wondering when I would be out of this "phase," but I kept going and realized I could do it.
Walking into the gym for my first workout was beyond nerve racking. Here were people preparing for their next competition, and then there is me; the before picture.
All I could think was "What did I get myself into? I can't do this. I'll never look like them." I wanted to run away. I barely managed 12 minutes on the elliptical during my first workout, but made it at a slow pace. Derek pushed me through my second workout, and each one after that. Four weeks later, I lost 8 percent body fat.
By late August, I started graduate school on Monday and my gym closed on Friday. I was at a crossroads. I knew my time was limited to work out between work and homework, but I couldn't quit.
I asked my good friend Scott Roahrig if he would to train me. That changed everything. He had me lower my weights on every lift, which was a shock at first. I normally leg pressed 270 pounds and he lowered me to 90. It took a lot of adjusting. Scott ramped up cardio and interval training, and incorporated circuit training and bodyweight exercises. He also set me up on a training schedule that included six days of HIIT cardio and six days of lifting with a different body part each day. That's when I saw the biggest changes.
The diet was the biggest change. I didn't go cold turkey on anything. I slowly eliminated soda and incorporated more protein and veggies into my diet. I allowed myself a cheat day each week and learned to say "no" to dessert. As I progressed, I learned to eat more meals to keep my energy up.
I continue to live by the motto of "no excuses." There were countless days I wanted to quit. Between working full-time and graduate school, there were days when the gym is the last place I want to be, but it became my stress relief.
During weeks 12-16, I lost three pounds and five inches. That was tough to digest because I hadn't missed a workout or cheated my meals. In that moment, I thought my journey was done. But every time I thought about quitting, I remembered the feeling I had starting and knew I couldn't go back. In the beginning, I took a progress photo every four weeks because the camera never lied and allowed me to see progress. Those photos inspired me to push harder. They serve as amazing reminders of where I was.
I relied on, and continue to rely on, Scott. His endless support and motivational words weren't always what I wanted to hear. He knows me well enough to know if I ease up, and he will tell me. That keeps me accountable and kept me going.
I had to adjust my meals as I continued. I drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Tilapia and eggs aren't for me, so I find protein in other forms. I allow myself one cheat day per week.
I perform HIIT cardio 6-7 days per week and switch between stairs, elliptical, and treadmill.
- 60 min
My entire life changed. I look at my "before" pictures and don't recognize myself. For me, training is the fun part. It's been challenging, but I can push myself and do more than I thought possible. Cardio wasn't my favorite in the beginning, but it gets me results, so it keeps me pushing harder. I learned to try new things and push myself to do things I never thought I would. I swore I'd never run, but I ran my first 5k on Thanksgiving and finished under my goal time. I can't wait to beat that time in my next 5k.
The diet has been the most difficult aspect. There is temptation everywhere. Learning what to eat and when, and finding ways to eat enough to keep me going has been difficult. I made it known to my family, friends, and coworkers that I was serious about my health and fitness. Overall, everyone was supportive. I'd still get the occasional "Oh, you're being good today?" or "You're still on your health kick?" when I declined to eat something unhealthy. It's OK to say "no" because I'm the one who has to work it off.
My transformation isn't done. I'm just getting warmed up. I plan to keep training and pushing myself. Stay tuned for the "after" of the "after" photos. Maybe one day I'll take the stage and compete. Like my trainer says, it would be the exclamation point.
Believe in yourself. Realize it's about becoming the best version of you. How you get there may not be the same as me or anyone else, and that's fine. Find what you love, what motivates you, and stay with it. Don't give up. The results will come.
The motivation is amazing. Reading the transformation stories and seeing their diet and workout plans helped me keep going. I love the recipe section. I found many great and healthy meal ideas. The store is unbelievable. It supplies most of my supplements.
The endless support from my family has been valuable and kept me going. I wouldn't have made it this far without you. Thank you. Derek laid an amazing foundation and never stopped believing in me. I couldn't have started the journey without you.
To my trainer and amazing friend, Scott, a simple "thank you" will always seem inadequate. You have changed my life. You pick me up when I'm at my worst and push me to be better than my best. You removed "can't" from my vocabulary. I'm forever grateful to have you in my corner.
- "N!**@s In Paris" by Jay-Z & Kanye West
- "Go Get It" by T.I.
- "Till I Collapse" by Eminem
- "Stronger" by Kanye West
- "Work Hard Play Hard" by Wiz Khalifa
- Trainer: Scott Roahrig
- After Photos: Jonathan Hobbs