Please introduce yourself.
Being raised on a cotton farm in Wall Texas, my parents taught me that hard work was a part of life, but enjoying the journey was just as important. Being thankful and having gratitude for those things and people that surround me was ingrained into my life. As a child, I severed the Achilles tendon in my right foot in a freak accident that led me to being enrolled into gymnastics, so I would avoid having a limp. That, in turn, led to basketball camps, swimming lessons, and all kinds of outside adventures. I continued playing sports high school that included basketball and track and was even the school mascot my senior year.
In the summer of 1982, I was working as a lifeguard and met my husband Kurt. We married and moved to Midland Texas for his work and two years later, we started our family. I gained 30lbs and decided to take my first aerobics class. I enjoyed it so much that I made it my first certification in group fitness! This was the beginning of my love affair with the fitness industry. It was a perfect fit and I was able to stay active and healthy as my family continued to grow.
How long have you been in the fitness industry?
After 28 years in the fitness industry, I’ve seen many fads come and go. What was generally accepted as good practice 10 years ago may or may not be highly recommended today. For example, my first focus was step aerobics. At the time I didn’t realize it, but it was very hard on my body and led to overuse injuries. Since then, my interests have evolved into personal training, Pilates, weight lifting, water fitness, yoga and Essentrics. (Essentrics is based on eccentric strengthening which stretches the muscles then strengthens them in the elongated position creating a lean toned body.)
What do you enjoy about teaching group fitness classes and personal training?
It is awesome to see a client empowered to achieve a goal they set for themselves! I also enjoy teaching classes because I get to be a part of the group. But in either personal or group training, I simply love sharing my passion for health and fitness, especially with those who exercise but really don’t think they can enjoy it.
What was the biggest thing you changed in your diet and workout routine?
Since summer 2017, the biggest changes to my diet include cutting out all sugar and white flour, and limiting cheese and anything that comes in a package except raw nuts. I started by eliminating sugar first because it is my weakness. Each week, I added an item to eliminate or limit. I measured out (ate smaller portions) serving size portions of protein and veggies along with eating 3 to 3 ½ hour intervals with water being the drink of choice. I would say that 90-95% of my diet is comprised of protein, veggies with some fruit. It’s raw / clean eating and food is enjoyed in its natural state as God created it.
My current workout routine incorporates using the treadmill, elliptical, or stair-climber once a week (anywhere from 1 to 5 miles), weight training 2 to 3 times a week, and yoga, Pilates, and Essentrics 4 to 7 times a week.
Why did you make this decision to change?
Pain and age are great motivating factors and the main reasons I made the decision to change. I hit a wall with weight gain and couldn’t move the needle with exercise alone anymore. (And I really tried hard!) I have Spondylosis with a pars defect of both sides of L4 and it’s sliding to the left. It took a journey of four years to determine the root cause; physical therapy, chiropractor, needling, cupping, MRI, X-Rays, and a visit to a spine surgeon. All of this helped to a good degree but I felt I should explore my diet and see if the foods I was eating were increasing or decreasing my inflammation. I still have pain, but it is managed now through diet and exercise. I used to take pain medication on a regular basis, but now rarely do I take it for my back issues. Food is powerful medicine and a wonderful healing agent!
Do you know how much weight you have lost?
Yes, I have lost 20lbs since June 2017. I’ve kept it off over the holidays by sticking to the eating plan. I have a cheat meal each week – or maybe a cheat weekend – depending on how well I’ve stayed with the clean eating.
How do you feel now compared to before?
I feel healthy and fit. I don’t think I realized how sluggish and tired I felt with the extra weight and inches until I dropped them. I feel youthful and sexy again!
What is the best advice to someone who is going into the New Year and wants to commit to making a change?
Start! I started with trying to eliminate sugar. I failed several times, I kept trying until I got it right 90% of the time. I have today to enjoy and keep improving; that is the only thing that is sure. I don’t worry about tomorrow – it will come on its own; and I leave the past in the past – I can’t change it. You have today! Make the most of it!
Describe a typical day of food before and now.
- Breakfast: bacon, egg, cheese burrito
- Lunch: ham sandwich with chips and soda
- Dinner: spaghetti with garlic bread and a salad
- Desert: ice cream
- Breakfast: (my favorite) 2 poached or fried eggs, black beans, 2-3 slices bacon, with avocado and tomato salsa on a bed of spinach
- Snack: 1 handful of almonds (raw)
- Lunch: grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli
- Snack: 1 handful nuts or small piece of fruit
- Dinner: taco meat salad: lettuce, spinach, tomato, avocado, red onion, sweet peppers, lean ground sirloin, cheese, and choice of dressing
- Desert: blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, yogurt and, mini chocolate chip pieces