Today’s #TransformationTuesday is Lifestyle member Melissa Blazer! Here’s what she had to say:
“I have always been a bigger girl. I’m tall and “big boned” and I always thought that I was fat or overweight as a teenager. My weight fluctuated a lot during those years, usually maxing out right at or slightly above the “normal BMI level”. I started gaining in my early twenties, and when I got pregnant with my first child, I gained 60 pounds during that pregnancy. I settled in after I had her at about 220 pounds and stayed there pretty much through my next 2 pregnancies. After I had my last child in 2007, I gained about 100 more pounds, due to life, suffering from depression, new medications, being sedentary and quitting smoking.
I was tired of feeling bad physically and mentally. It was hard for me to do things I used to be able to do. I would lose my breath so easily just walking. My resting heart rate was over 100 bpm and I had developed sleep apnea and was using a cpap machine at night. My cholesterol was high and my blood pressure was in the stages of prehypertension. I didn’t realize how much my self esteem was suffering either. I made many excuses not to go to social functions; I avoided people I knew when I saw them in stores, always thinking in the back of my head that they would be thinking about how much weight I had gained since they saw me last. I actually missed my grandfather’s funeral in TX due to issues directly related to my weight and the anxiety that it caused me.
When I made the decision to lose weight and get healthy, the first thing I did was consult my physician and connect with a nutritionist who helped me see what I really needed to be eating. Food is such a HUGE part of losing weight. A fitness instructor friend (Sandra Talford) told me that losing weight is 20% exercise and 80% what you eat, and I believe it! Favorite quote: “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” My current diet consists of a protein forward approach with low carbs. I rarely eat bread, rice, pasta or refined sugar. I eat protein first and foremost and also eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I try to also manage good fats and good carbs to make my diet well rounded. I do eat a lot of dairy for protein (which may not work as well for some), as well as vegetarian “meats”, eggs and nuts. I also supplement with protein shakes and protein bars, especially on the run. I never drink sugary drinks and never drink soda.
When I started losing weight I started doing 1 hour of exercise 3 times per week. I’ve worked up to 6-7 days a week for at least one hour (I’m trying really hard to take a break on Sundays!)…a lot of times I do 2-3 hours in one day. My body craves the activity. I prefer group fitness classes to any other type of exercise, because I feel like I out forth 100% effort in a group setting, versus giving it maybe 60% on my own. I started out taking Zumba classes at Lifestyles and, I have to say, I felt pretty disheartened after the first class (with Sandra). I had no idea what salsa was and I said I’d never come back. But I did, because part of me knew I loved it even though I was a mess! And then I realized that I love to dance! I became a regular in Club Zumba and WERQ and moved my way up to the front row. I would never have been able to achieve the level of fitness that I have if I had never stepped foot into that Zumba class at Tri-Cities Lifestyle Center. The people that I’ve met over the last couple of years have been a huge part of my weight-loss journey/getting-healthy journey (because it isn’t all about losing weight!) and I’m so grateful for them!
My total weight loss is 150 pounds. I never felt like myself when I was at my highest weight. I always felt like I was hiding inside somewhere. I’m so glad to be the best me I can be, through a well-balanced diet and exercise. I am very happy with my current weight and my fitness goals now are to maintain my weight, build muscle and tone up. Most recently, I have decided to pursue teaching group fitness classes. I just recently became certified to teach Pound!! I also have my Primary Aerobics Instructor certification. I have been able to sub a few Pound classes and am looking forward to having a regular weekly class of my own. I never would’ve been able to do anything like this 150 pounds ago.”