It's a cold snowy day in Greensboro, NC. My husband is watching TV, my youngest son is in his room, the dog is nearby and I am here in my warm top and favorite sweats. I can't give them up, my sweats. They are comfortable and familiar. I had them since 2009 and I have been bidden by both Terry and my sister to get rid of them. I know I should. When I walk around in them, they fall off of my hips.
I have watched and read about others who have gone through jaw-dropping weight-loss adventures. I admire how the pictures of transformation make each story, from the struggles to inevitable success, real and inspirational.
In the last few years I have become a tale of my own.
When I became a Spark member, I was an Adult College student, working full time, raising my sons, caring for my aging parents. I was in my mid-forties, still in relative good health, and accomplishing things in my private life. But after the deaths of my mom, my sister, and eventually my beloved dad, I didn't care. It was January 2013. My life tilted dangerously to the right and the touch of depression I had took center stage. It was many years before I owned it. I had to wear the mask of the strong Black woman. I was not 'allowed' to wallow. I am a people person, so to admit this flaw in my character would deem me as 'weak' in others' eyes. Yet I couldn't function in daily activities. I loved the darkness of my room, the closed curtains, the safety from the outside would which seemed to close in on me.
With the help of a good psychiatrist, I received the tools to deal with what had happened and to slowing move on. My weight? Who cared? I wanted to be happy again.
One day I looked in the mirror and made myself get out of the house and go to my nearest YMCA. I had a membership, after all. Although I had weights and DVDs at home I wanted to try a different atmosphere, a new approach. I was 180 pounds and 5'2.
Zumba was a blessing I didn't see coming, and the Lord knew I required a tool to have me focus on myself,even though I didn't know how integral the dance exercise would be in my life. I had two left feet, but I had FUN doing salsa, meringue, Reggaeton, and Cumbia. I was free. I was moving along with the music. I was happy.
I kept on coming back for more and more. I went from the back of the row to one of my teacher's "front row divas". I wanted to teach. I wanted to help people have that kind of joy.
I wasn't aware I was getting smaller. I wasn't aware Zumba would jump start my own journey. I wanted to eat healthier. I wanted to pick up my weights again. I wanted to be more for me.
I became a Certified Zumba instructor in 2015. I was more active and the joy I previously lost was back. I was losing weight rapidly, so much so I was asked if I had been sick.
Later, I decided to become a certified Group Fitness Instructor. I wanted to encourage those in their 50s to keep on moving.
Today, I am at 140 lbs. I am working on becoming a Personal Trainer at 55!
I am still on the ride of my life. I would have never thought I would've been here. Thanks to Zumba, the world is my oyster!