I never remember feeling “small”, I can remember lying about how much I weighed when I was only 13 years old. When I entered high school at age 15, I was well past 200 hundred pounds. Its not that I was lazy, I just did not know how to eat right. Portion control was foreign to me. Both my mom and older sister are tiny; I felt they never had to do anything to be small. I hated how I didn’t look like I belonged with my family.
My senior year of high school, I joined Weight Watchers, my mom joined as well and I loved having her there to support me. I lost 10 pounds and was down to 230. I liked what I was learning, but I stopped going. I don’t know why either. I gained weight right after I stopped going to weight watchers, I knew I needed to go back to meetings and re-try because so far, that was the only thing that had helped me lose weight. I finally decided to go back and after sitting through the meeting, I remember crying in the car with my mom. I was looking down at my weight tracker and it said I now weighed 256 pounds. I was crushed, devastated, and I was embarrassed. I had let my mom down and myself down. That was the highest weight I ever saw.
I stuck with weight watchers and started going to curves, I lost 30 pounds. Curves was good, but I knew I could push my body harder. It was at this point that I became vegetarian, but I did not like the feeling of eating cheese and pasta all the time. But I loved not eating meat, so I switched to being vegan. I also joined a gym and got a personal trainer, over the course of 8 weeks I lost 10 pounds with her help. I called her the “workout Nazi”, she pushed me so hard. One week I complained about how I have only lost 2 pounds, so that entire workout session she added 2 pound weights to all of my workouts. My arms were dying and she said “I don’t want to ever hear you complain about how little you are losing, a pound is a pound!” I loved and hated her at the same time.
After my journey with a personal trainer, I stumbled across Zumba at a local fair. I received a coupon for a free week of classes. My mom and I were hooked after one class! I literally danced the pounds and inches away! I left for my junior year of college with a whole new look on life. I found that my new University offered Zumba in the gym, so I attended Zumba and cycle classes multiple times a week. I became good friends with the Zumba instructor and she even had me teach some Zumba songs during class.
The next summer I got certified to teach Zumba myself, I moved to Scotland for the school year and I was able to teach Zumba to my flatmates in my kitchen and I was also hired to teach a couple times at a kid play center. Between sticking to my vegan eating, walking, and Zumba I lost 27 pounds that school year. I came back home and I had blown past 200 on the scale. I now weighed 188. I did not have a scale in Scotland, so I had no idea how much I had lost till I moved back home to the United States!
I was so excited and felt like an entirely different person, I was 67 pounds down! Studying abroad for a year put me a couple credits behind so I had to go back to my university for two more quarters. I started teaching Zumba at the school and I loved it! But by this point, my body was used to working hard, I found it super difficult to lose weight. Between the months of September-December 2011 I lost 4 pounds.
At 184 pounds, size 12. I discovered the workout called Insanity. In January 2012 I started the most dramatic transformation my body has ever seen. I now weigh 163 pounds and wear a size 6. I have lost a total of 93 pounds. Along with teaching Zumba I also can add teaching cycling, and ab classes to my resume. My journey started my freshman year of collage, and now almost 4.5 years later, I am graduating with my Bachelors degree. This journey was hard and it took every ounce of strength I had. Its still not over, I have a little more I would like to lose. But I know I can do it! I have come so far and I am so proud of myself. I now get told that my sister and I look like twins, and replicas of my mom, and to me, that means so much.
Losing weight is a science, not magic. You have to eat right and work hard to see results.
When I first started paying attention to my diet I was eating 1200 calories a day, and logging my food in a journal. Now I eat 1700 to keep up with all my workouts. For me, being vegan is what kicked my self-control of eating into gear. I learned that I really didn’t NEED all the foods that I was convincing myself I needed. If it doesn’t grow out of the ground, I don’t want it. That is my new motto I live by!
Exercise, I did and do everything! Zumba, cycling, Body Pump, Boot Camp, Hip-Hop Abs, running, hiking, and Insanity. While Insanity and Zumba will always be my favourite way to workout. I can’t lie and say those are all I do. I found a love for all sorts of activities. It took me a while to find a workout that I love, but once I did, I became hooked! And now I instruct both Zumba and cycling.
This is what a typical day looks like:
- Breakfast: Sugar-free vanilla Iced Soy Late, Ezekiel English Muffin, 1 tablespoon Peanut butter – 365 calories
- Mid Morning Snack: Svelte Sustained protein drink – 260 calories
- Lunch: 2 low carb veggie hummus wraps – 233 calories
- Afternoon Snack: 2 Ezekiel Whole Wheat bread slices baked with ¼ pasta sauce topped with 2oz of
vegan “chicken” strips, served with 1 cup of broccoli – 288 calories
- Dinner: ½ cup whole-wheat pasta with ¼ cup pasta sauce and 6 vegan “meat balls” with 1 cup of
veggie of choice – 340 calories
- Extra snacking: Cliff bar- 240 calories OR 3 Tablespoons mixed nuts – 170 Calories
Total Calories: 1700ish (I aim to be around this number)
I workout 6 days a week. Insanity everyday and Zumba/cycling 2-3 days a week. The important thing to notice is that I did not limit myself! All sorts of exercises work! Find what works for you and stick with it.
Results will come with hard work! I noticed the most change in my body when I started using my body weight as resistance. I have more muscle now then I know what to do with; even though I weigh in the 160’s I wear a size 6. Muscle shapes us! And makes you look good! Way better then any number on a scale can do for you!
How Did You Put On The Weight?
I never paid attention to my portion size. I wish I could blame it on genetics, but everyone else in my family was thin. So my constant snacking and lack of portion control lead to me being overweight.
Where You Overweight As A Child?
Honestly no, but I never felt small. When I look back at pictures, I think I was crazy for ever feeling fat. So mentally I have always felt overweight, but physically no I was not overweight.
How Did You Feel About Yourself At Your Heaviest Weight?
I have never hated myself. I always felt beautiful. But I felt like I was holding myself back. I was angry that I allowed myself to get so overweight.
What Sparked Your Dramatic Change?
I knew it would take both diet and exercise. So I started different things, I did weight watchers, Curves, personal trainers, the list goes on. I always gained the weight back. I had to do something that would make me learn self-control. I became Vegan, and now 4.5 years later, it’s the best decision I have ever made.
Where People Supportive Of Your New Lifestyle?
YES! My parents are so supportive! My mom is still my number one workout partner 🙂
What Did You Do Differently In Day-To-Day Life?
Started counting my calories and keeping a food journal. I continually try new exercises and routines to avoid hitting plateaus.
What Did You Change In Your Diet?
I started out being a vegetarian, then after I realized that eating pasta and tons of cheese was no way to loose weight. I switched to being Vegan. I have not looked back since.
What Exercise Did You Begin To Do?
The exercise that changed my life and made me fall in love with working out, was Zumba! After my first class my mom and I were hooked. Attending 5 Zumba classes a week. I loved it so much I got certified myself and starting teaching both Zumba and cycling classes at my university.
Any Tough Points On Your Journey?
TONS! There were months when I wouldn’t lose one pound! I was so frustrated; I was eating all the correct things and getting a decent amount of exercise but the scale refused to budge.
How Did You Stay Motivated?
I constantly had to remind myself why I started losing weight in the first place. How I felt when I was overweight and how I couldn’t wear the clothes I wanted, and how I always felt out of place with my thin healthy family. Remembering how far I had come, kept me going. And continues to keep me going. I have not met my ultimate goal weight yet, So when I feel like slacking I honestly stand in front of the mirror naked, that is all it takes to make me get my workout gear and get started!
What Advice Would You Give Someone Who Was Looking To Lose Weight?
Losing weight is hard work. It takes effort, time, and dedication. And you will also not lose 239,485 pounds in one day. Once you can accept that it will take work, you can make your game plan.
First and most importantly, Track your calories, it is SUPER easy to overeat when you are not paying attention. But once everything is assigned a number, suddenly 500 calories for a slice a pizza does not seem very appetizing.
Secondly, no diet will do what eating healthy can do! More whole grains, fruits and veggies. Less processed white breads and deep-fried non-sense. If food can go bad, then it’s good for you. If it can sit on your shelf or your freezer for months then what do you think it does inside your body? While I choose to be vegan, that is my personal choice. I don’t believe being vegan is right for everyone. But there is nothing wrong with having fruits and veggies being the main star of your diet.
If you want to lose weight you have eat. Your body will not run on 635 calories just because you decide it should. Eating less then 1200 calories is not only dangerous but it can cause your body to refuse to let you lose weight. Losing weight is not a magic trick, its science. Your body was made to maintain balance, if you decrease your calories to such a low intake; your body’s natural defence is to cling to everything and to start breaking down the important parts in your body. Secondly, if you do manage to reach your goal weight by only eating 250 calories a day, do you plan to eat the way the rest of your life to maintain your weight? You will gain all your weight back so fast because you never trained your body how to deal with food in a healthy way. Learn to eat correctly then you will never feel hungry and deprived, and ultimately lead to a more successful and enjoyable weight loss journey. Use me as an example, I eat between 1700-1900 calories a day and I’ve lost over 93 pounds. Eat clean!
While I believe that losing weight is 70% diet, there is still an extra 30%, that is exercise. Exercise does not have to be dreaded, you do not have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning, go run a marathon, come home and do crunches till you pass out. Unless that is your favourite way to workout. But for me, I needed something that I enjoyed. ZUMBA. After one class I was addicted!
Once I got the exercise bug it was easier for me to try other forms of exercising. I started going to cycle classes and eventually started running out doors. I became a Zumba instructor and most recently starting teaching cycle classes. My newest form of working out and absolute addiction right now is the beach body program called Insanity. Since I started the 2month program I have lost over 21 pounds. This program is not for the faint of heart. But I wanted a workout that was a no fuss, hard-core, bust your butt kind of program. I am in LOVE and I do those workouts EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Key to weight loss: Eat clean and work hard.
Did You Make Any Mistakes When You First Started?
All the time, always. I still make them. Just because I have lost over 90 pounds does not mean I’m perfect. There were months when I did not treat my body right, I was very restrictive on my calories (below 500 a day). And current mistakes would be when I’m too hard on my body. I need to learn that some days my body needs a rest. It’s okay to take a break and sit down and have a cookie or two 🙂 not letting yourself enjoy this journey can be the biggest mistake of all.
Can You Share Some Of The Benefits Of Being Trim?
I have honestly never thought of myself of trim. When you work so hard and so long to reach something, when you get there it’s kind of surreal. I had someone come up to me and place their hand around my forearm. Their fingers were overlapping even while grasping my arm and they laughed and said “you’re so tiny!” I can’t tell you how much that boosted my ego. Hearing the words “tiny” describe me. The clothes I can wear now, I remember dreaming about 4 years ago. Borrowing clothes from my size 4 sister, nothing beats that feeling.
And as far as health benefits, I ran a mile the other day and was not even winded. My endurance is through the roof. I can teach multiple fitness classes a day and still squeeze in my personal insanity workout, and be able to walk the next day without feeling like my legs want to fall off. I have awesome toned legs and arms and soon to be a toned stomach!
Did You Use Any Supplements?
“Univera” changed my life! If it wasn’t for these products, I know for a fact my body would not be able to repair itself as fast as it can now. These natural products are evidence based/science based products that continue to give me the energy and the endurance to persevere through all my workouts. I loved them so much I actually became a business associate and now I distribute the products myself.
How Do You Feel About Yourself Now?
I have always loved myself, but now I feel that my body believes it. Because I am finally treating it the way it deserves. With respect and care. I don’t reward myself with food anymore, I am not a dog.
What Are Your Goals For The Future?
I currently have my ultimate goal weight set at 130. I am not sure of my current weight (I only weigh myself once a month) but at my last weigh in I was 163. So I still have 33 pounds to lose before I reach my “goal.” But who knows, I might find that when I reach 140 I will see that my body looks great and healthy there! I am not too concerned with numbers anymore. I look at how my body is shaping and changing. Another goal is to get my belly button pierced. When I can feel confortable enough to do that, I know I will have reached my Ultimate goal weight.
Your Tumblr Is Called FuneralForMyFat, Could You Explain Your Reasons For Calling It This?
I am not losing weight, I am killing fat. When something is dead, it has no chance of coming back! My fat will never make its way back to my body. I wanted it to sound permanent. Nothing is more permanent than death. I use my tumblr to inspire both myself and my followers, funeral for my fat is what I call my workout sessions. I don’t go to workout, I am off to kill some fat.
AUTHOR: SHAREE HANSEN