"I feel great about myself and have a lot of confidence I never had before. I am a stronger person both physically and emotionally."
As a child, I was overweight and was teased constantly. I did lose weight in college, but I put it back on after getting married and having children. Last year, I weighed 196 pounds and I was very unhappy with my appearance. Although I exercised, it was not consistent. I also thought that exercise gave me the license to eat more. I joined the local YMCA but still only exercised sporadically, and my eating habits had not changed.
I knew it was time to start a weight-loss program when one of my students mistakenly asked me if I was pregnant. On my 37th birthday, I decided to give myself the best gifts of all: health and happiness. I decided that enough was enough and that I was tired of being unhappy with myself. I wanted to get fit and be the best me that I could be.
I did several things that were turning points for me. I heard about Jillian's program from a friend. I'd read her book and have always been inspired by the success of her teammates on The Biggest Loser. Joining this site was a huge motivator for me. I also started going to the gym religiously and became friends with a wonderful group of people. We still go to group exercise classes together and motivate each other. Along the way I hired an amazing personal trainer who pushes and encourages me every day. I was able to lose 26 pounds by the end of the year, but I knew I had to keep going because I hadn't reached my goal yet.
In January, two things kept me focused: One was Jillian's New Year Challenge (of which I am proud to say I ended up as a runner-up), and the other was a weight-loss competition at my gym. I was very determined to win this competition because I am extremely competitive and love a challenge. My trainer, as encouraging as he is, did not think I could win because there were other contestants who had more weight to lose than I did. Well, I showed him! There were 26 contestants, and I ended up losing the greatest percentage of weight. First I saw Ali announced as the first female "Biggest Loser" on TV. Then, the same week, I was the "Biggest Loser" at the gym. I beat the boys just as Ali did! I now weigh 140 pounds and feel like a new person. I am healthy and happy and would like to dedicate some of my time to helping others reach their goals. In fact, I am currently working on my personal training certification so that I can assist others.
Losing the excess weight and getting in shape have changed my life in many ways. I am healthier and happier. I feel better about myself and have a lot of confidence I never had before. I am a stronger person both physically and emotionally. To stay motivated, I just keep focusing on my goals, envisioning where I want to be. I also have an amazing support system with the wonderful people I have met, as we encourage and motivate each other. What I love about the new me is that I am happy with myself and proud of my accomplishments. I am not hiding in a shell anymore because I can be myself.
Activities now: I am proud to say that I just ran my first 5K race. I never imagined I could do something like that before. I have also enjoyed rock climbing, I've gone out and bought a bicycle, and I signed up for belly dancing classes. I had always wanted to take them but felt too self-conscious before.
Best compliment: When my trainer told me that I am an inspiration to others.
Advice for others: My advice to others is simply not to give up. You can do anything you set your mind to. The possibilities are endless if you believe in yourself. Trust me, you will be able to do things that you never thought you could do.
*Weight loss varies by individual. You may not achieve similar results.