“I have always been the bigger girl in my family and amongst my friends. I never tried anything physical because I never thought I could go through with it, that my endurance level wouldn’t last to pull me through.

At my heaviest 268 pounds followed by the death of my husband, at 37 years old I decided that I needed to make a change for me to be better and healthier. Having devoted the last 4 years taking care of my late husband through his illness, coping with depression on my side but still keeping a smiling face through the pain and making bad choices regarding eating and exercising I decided that it was time to focus on me.

CJ approached me on my first workout day, which was actually my first day out in the public following my husband’s death. Poor guy, he was none the wiser when he asked about my family obligations and I started crying. We made arrangements to meet up that following Tuesday and I signed up for personal training. With great sacrifice, it’s a decision I never regretted.

Now I was hearing about the Body challenge and there was a great deal of buzz about it around the gym but never once did I think I would be able to do something like that. CJ sat down with me one session and told me I should enter, that I could do this. I was reluctant and told him I would think about it and get back to him. What was holding me back was the thought of my first few sessions with all the feelings of nausea, the body pains from using muscles I haven’t in years and the fact that I had absolutely no self confidence that I could ever accomplish something so great. The last day for the signing up came and I was on the treadmill doing my thing when he handed me a form and told me to sign, that I’m doing this. Mind you I never entered or competed for anything before, so reluctantly I signed up and the transformation began. Little did I know I was transforming from the inside out.

The main reason I did this was because I needed to focus on something positive for me in my life, I needed a distraction from the sadness I was dealing with. When I entered the challenge I was 210 pounds only able to jog at a speed of 4.0 on the treadmill for 60 to 90 seconds. Now I do a speed of 6.0 to 7.0 for 15 minutes straight without feeling like I’m about to pass out. My personal goal will be to enter as many 5k runs as I can until I am unable to physically to do so. On April 28th, 2012 I met my goal; I entered and jog/walked a 5k in 35 minutes coming in fourth place for my age group. There is no amount of words to express the joy, excitement and fulfillment I felt having completed that race, it will be the first for many more to come for me.

The trainers have played a really big part in my success. My workouts with CJ, Terrance, Steve (aka Daryl), Courtney, Loren and Nick were intense, there were times where my arms and legs felt like rubber and I did not think I could go anymore but I kept at it and kept pushing through the fatigue with their encouragement and motivation. There were nights that I would call Terrance regarding my confusion regarding eating clean, knowing what to eat and when to eat certain foods. Terrance was very straight forward in his approach with me, it was either you’re doing it or not, no in betweens and that no nonsense attitude is what I needed for me to gain a better understanding of healthy eating.

I now know a new way of living and that way is healthy and active. The most important thing that I’ve learned throughout this challenge is that I am capable of accomplishing anything I set my mind to. Finding the strength within and knowing that sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish, putting ME first isn’t a bad thing. As CJ once told me, “if I’m not happy with me, I can’t make anyone around me happy”. I’m now for the first time happy with how I look, happy with the way I feel and happy with the confidence I have gained because of this journey.”