Never Give Up on a Dream

Paula lost 80 lbs. and is now addicted to fitness.
Paula lost 80 lbs. and is now addicted to fitness.

I never had a weight problem growing up, in fact, I was always busy with lacrosse, field hockey and women’s rugby in high school and we didn’t really have much junk food in the house. When I went off to college, I faced the Freshmen 15 or in my case 50+ over the next couple of years. The weight crept up on me with the partying and eating junk food late at night, it’s hard not to! February 2012 was when it all changed. It was the day I couldn’t button my size 12 jeans that I had just bought a few weeks back. I layed down on the bed, sucked it in, and pulled the two sides together as hard as I could but the jeans just wouldn’t button. I couldn’t believe it. I thought maybe I left them in the dryer to long, that’s it! They shrunk. I couldn’t have let myself grow out of the jeans I just bought. I stepped on the scale, 210. No, sadly they didn’t shrink – I grew. I was never one to weigh myself. In fact, the last time I weighed myself I was 180!

I told myself that I couldn’t buy a pants size bigger – I was finally going to do something to lose the weight. But where do I start? With all the many “diets” and “lose weight fast” fads out there, it can be overwhelming. So I read. I first began with my diet, or lack thereof. I cut out all the processed food, soda (diet soda too) and sugar and ate very clean and started taking vitamins. It was tough at first making such a drastic change to my diet but I soon found new ways to make some of my favorite foods. Instagram was also great for my new lifestyle as many other clean eaters shared some great recipes! Discovering Quest Bars made my journey (and life) that much better!

I also knew that exercising would go hand in hand with eating right but that meant going to the gym, which I was really nervous about. I felt too big to be there, I feared running into someone I knew or doing something wrong. Each day that week, I stuck to the elliptical, since I knew nothing about any of the machines. It wasn’t until the end of the week that I noticed some girls walking into the group fitness classroom decked out in all sorts of fun, bright colors with Zumba printed across most of their shirts. Through the years

I heard the music turn on and watched the enjoyment on the girls faces as they worked out. How could so many people be smiling while they work out? There was nothing exciting about working out (at that time)! I quickly gathered my things and headed over to the room where I hid in the far back corner. It started out as me being worried about how I looked in front of others while I danced, I was worried they would laugh at me if I messed up or that I was too heavy to even be in there. I was so wrong. Once the music starts playing, you sort of let loose, stop caring, and every person in that room has the same worries as you. But we were all there for the same reason, to get our hearts pumping and work up a sweat. Week by week, pound by pound, I slowly moved up a row until I was almost next to the instructor. This past May, I actually became an instructor myself! I lost well over 60 pounds with Zumba but really wanted to tone more.

Paula's boyfriend, TJ, is her biggest supporter.
Paula’s boyfriend, TJ, is her biggest supporter.

My boyfriend TJ really introduced me to the love I have for strength training! I always knew that more muscle burns fat but I feared being the “big” or “bulky” girl with muscles, like most girls do. TJ showed me the ropes and introduced me to a lot of great workouts. My body fat decreased, an additional 20 pounds came off, and my muscles became more defined. I realized that lifting weights does not make girls bulky!

I now find it hard to get myself to do cardio since I love weight training so much. My biggest motivation through my journey was seeing my progress. I weighed myself and took pictures because the scale only tells you so much; it made it more motivating SEEING the changes. My biggest motivator is my boyfriend TJ. I am so lucky to have someone in my life who not only shares the same love for fitness but who also motivates me day in and day out, pulling me through my “off” days – and who loves me for who I am.

I look back on my life before my weight loss journey, its more than just losing 80 pounds. I have gained so much confidence, strength, and happiness. I don’t have to jump into my jeans (unless they’re right out of the dryer!) and I’m not nervous about the gym, in fact I love it! I am extremely thankful how far I have come with the love and support of my family, boyfriend and friends, without them I would not be where I am today! I have met some amazing and inspiring people along the way and am very excited about the opportunities that have come out of my journey. I am going to be featured as a Transformation Story in an upcoming issue of Fitness Magazine and as well in a Zumba commercial. I hope that I can share my story with others and inspire them. I found what I am truly passionate about and there is no turning back. 80 pounds gone forever!

You can find Paula at:

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