1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a 27-year-old mother of one eight year old girl. I am also a daycare/preschool owner and teacher in Philadelphia. My hobbies include dancing, rollerblading, running, my favorite pastime of all – cooking and creating new, healthy. clean low-carb, mostly wheat free recipes.
2. When and why did you commit yourself to losing weight?
I recently committed myself to losing weight after year’s trial and error. I always was athletic in high school but struggled tremendously after, gaining a whopping 52 pounds during pregnancy and keeping most of it, if not gaining more after. I tried to be confident in my skin but I never felt comfortable residing in this heavy body. After trying every fad diet such as cabbage soup diet, three-day fast diet and master cleanse, just to name a few, I decided that losing weight only to gain it right back was even more devastating than being heavy and unhealthy. My doctor told me the big O word, “obesity,” was causing arthritis in my right knee and that’s when I decided enough is enough.
3. What steps did you take to lose over 70lbs?
I started by buying all packaged foods appearing to be healthy but still couldn’t keep the weight off. Clean eating was the only way I felt sure that I knew exactly what was going into my temple – my body. Cleaning out my cupboard was the first task. All white refined sugars, wheat, salty seasonings, sugary drinks, granolas, 100-calorie snack packs, and other snacks were thrown out. I started making weekly trips to the produce junction, farmers market and spice house and learned to stay out of the middle aisles of the supermarket. More fresh foods and lean meats were on the menu.
4. What led you to join Lucille Roberts ?
After losing about thirty pounds and feeling amazing I hit another plateau. My weight started to stall and I knew my exercise needed to be bumped up to increase my results. Many gyms were around with lots of high tech equipment and I tried them, but I never felt comfortable with men staring at me and I also felt lost with no instruction.
My mother encouraged me to join Lucille Roberts on a visitor pass and I knew this was the place for me. I loved all the classes with step and chick boxing being my favorites, but I was soon at all the classes daily. The instructors were so motivating and the gym staff was so helpful. My boss Jacaira J. encouraged me to take the instructor introduction course and I knew I would get certified. I got certified and taught my first fitness class at Lucille in December 2012 and has currently have been employed at Lucille Roberts PA, Olney and Bala Cynwood Location since with packed classes weekly.
5. What were your biggest food and exercise challenges and how did you overcome them?
This practice and new lifestyle meant much more time in the kitchen and I must admit that was the hardest part of all, preparing all meals, snacks, and even condiments. I knew exactly what I was consuming and the weight started to fall off. A new me was born. I tried to switch it up not just consuming salad salads. I love steamed and sautéed veggies and seafood always made me feel as if I was having a treat.
Another key part to my weight loss was my water intake. The old eight glasses are said to be not enough. Frozen smoothies and juices always satisfied my sweet tooth. The lure of just enjoying meals carelessly, eating whatever I want and revisiting old habits were tempting and sometimes emotionally draining. I knew that the new lifestyle was worth more than five minutes of satisfaction but still struggled at times. I always got comfortable. After losing twenty or so pounds it’s hard to find continuing motivation.
6. What are some of your favorite healthy recipes?
- Buffalo Chicken Salad: 3 cups romaine lettuce, 2 tbsp. reduced fat blue cheese crumbles, one 4-6 oz. chicken breast, buffalo sauce and boiled egg whites. First cook chicken 6 min on each side or until thoroughly cooked. Add buffalo sauce and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Lay chicken on the bed of romaine and top with blue cheese crumbles and egg. This is a delish and fast alternative to hot wings.
- Tasty Taco Salad: First prep iceberg lettuce, tomato, half red onion, 3tbs black olives and reduced fat cheddar cheese. For dressing: 3 oz. of nonfat Greek yogurt 3 tbsp. of salsa, half of avocado. Cook 1/2 of ground chicken breast to 160 degrees, drain and add cumin, sea salt, dried cilantro and cayenne for a spicy homemade taco seasoning. Place on top of salad and mix together salsa and yogurt for a creamy taco dressing,
- Mango Raspberry Sorbet: Add 1 frozen mango and half cup frozen raspberries to a blender with a little less than 1/4 cup of water and blend until smooth. Voila!!
I hope my Lucille Roberts Fit Family enjoys these as much as I do 🙂
7. Was there ever a moment when you felt like giving up? What did you do to stay motivated?
Most people don’t realize that food is an addiction. Drugs, alcohol etc. usually manifest as teenagers and adults, but unhealthy eating habits are instilled as children. These habits become customs that we pass on happily to our families as food is often associated with comfort, love, and celebration. The only way to break this cycle is to start introducing our families to a new way of living. The rewards that came from eating clean were all day energy, weight loss, glowing skin, amazing self confidence, and pride. A good way to monitor weight loss is the “hope dress trick.” Hang up a hope outfit and keep trying it on weekly documenting progress, and when it fits share it with family and friends. It’s the most amazing feeling.
8. Do you feel that having a support team is important? Who is on yours?
My students are my biggest supporters besides my mother and sister who are also members. I never thought I would be such a motivation to others and so passionate about something. We all need a support system as mothers, wives and employees we do so much for others. Do this for yourself, own it and never give up.
9. How do you feel when you look into the mirror?
When I look in the mirror I see a healthy, fearless, confident young woman who conquered her fears, is living her dreams and is owning it. She is also eager to show others a better way of living. I even got my tattoo as a treat for my weight loss as koi fish are said to represent good luck. They are also the symbol of my Zodia sign since I’m a Pisces.
10. What advice do you have for women who are trying to lose weight and meet their fitness goals?
Don’t start over, start living. This is truly for yourself you are worth it and deserve it!!