Weight Lost: 93lbs
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I went away to Penn State for college, came back to Philly, then left for a little over a year and lived in NYC. Ultimately, Philly is where my heart is.
What do you do for a living?
I am a manager at Dr. Coffee, which is a coffee shop inside of The Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia. I started working as a barista back in college and found that I really loved the interactions with the customers and also being an important part of so many people’s day. When I graduated college, I realized that I did not want to teach (I got my degree in Secondary Education), I decided to go back to the barista thing, and I’ve worked my way up in the business.
What do you like to do for fun?
I LOVE Broadway and musicals/plays. If I could go see a show every day, I would. In addition, I love movies. My sister and I do an annual trip for Oscar weekend. We go to NYC where AMC Theaters holds a 24 Hour Best Picture marathon, where you watch all the Best Picture nominees in 1 day.
I also enjoy sports, especially football. From Sept-Jan every Sunday you can find me on my couch watching whichever game is on TV. Running is when I get my “me time” in. I just love it. It allows me to escape whatever is going on in my life and the world and just focus on the here and now.
Then there is FOOD! I love food and it is fun for me in so many different ways. I enjoy eating out and trying new places, which is such a treat here in Philly because there are so many amazing restaurants/cafes/eateries. I also enjoy cooking. Up until about a year and half ago, I could barely make scrambled eggs, now I spend almost every Sunday in the kitchen for at least four hours, doing meal prep for the week.
How did your transformation journey begin?
My journey is a long one. It really started about 8 years ago, when I was a junior in college. I was the biggest I had ever been in my life, 235lbs!, and I knew that something had to change. So I got a gym membership and started “working out”, which consisted of me walk/jogging on a treadmill for 30 min a day. By the time I graduated, I was down to 200lbs, and I was honestly happy with that. I stayed around that weight for the next 5 years. One day in March of 2014, while I was living in NYC, I woke up and I just felt horrible. It wasn’t me looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw, but more so how unhealthy I felt, that got me to really make a change. I looked at my budget and decided that I could afford a gym membership. I met with a personal trainer they had on hand and he set up a workout plan for me. I started going to the gym 3 times a week and running a mile the other two days of the week. At this point I was 190lbs and my goal was to be 160lbs, a weight I hadn’t been since I was 14 years old. In the first two months of doing this training, I lost 15lbs, but then I hit a plateau. That is when I had to take a serious look at the food I was eating and I discovered the Whole30. When I first read about the Whole30, I thought there is no way I could do it. I love cheese and bread way too much, but I made the decision that I loved my body more. So in June of 2014 I began my first Whole30 and after those 30 days were up I’d lost 13lbs. It was amazing how much I didn’t miss the foods I thought I couldn’t live without. From this I basically adopted a paleo diet for my everyday life and I couldn’t be happier.
How did you hear about Unite Fitness?
I spent most of the first 5 months of 2015 training for my first ever half marathon, something I NEVER would have dreamt I could do. After I completed the half, I found myself making excuses everyday not to run or go to the gym. “Oh I’m still recovering.” “I just spent the last 5 months running every day”, “I deserve time off.” In addition, I became lax with the way I was eating. I could not find that motivation that I had just a couple months ago. A friend of my sisters told me about Unite Fitness and it sounded like it was exactly what I was looking for, a place that could give me motivation and accountability. I also really wanted somewhere that combined cardio and strength training. It took all of my courage to sign up for that free trial and walk into those doors but I am so glad I did.
How has Unite Fitness changed your health?
In the words of the one and only Kanye West, Unite has made me “harder, better, faster, stronger.” In all seriousness, in just 4 months at Unite, I’ve done things I never thought I was capable of. Full body pushups (I’m up to 5!), running on a treadmill at a speed higher than 7mph (I’ve hit 12), doing sit ups without using my arms/hands to assist me, bench pressing 60lbs! My time at Unite has improved my running so much. When I ran my first half marathon I did so at an 11:38 pace, I wanted so much to get down to at least an 11min pace. I just ran my 3rd half at a 10:53 pace, and I have no doubt that the interval training and strength training I’ve been doing at Unite is a big part of that time. I also ran a 10k that I had done last year, and I beat my time by 17 minutes.
In addition to all the physical changes, Unite Fitness has strengthened my emotional health as well. Being around all the positivity on a daily basis has allowed me to adapt a more positive and happier attitude in my everyday life. I honestly find myself smiling more and letting go of the little things that I use to let get to me. I’m just a happier person and I believe it stems from the fact that I’m happy with my health and that is because of Unite Fitness.
Do you follow a particular diet?
Yes. I am primarily paleo, which stems from my experience with the Whole30. The majority of my meals consist of protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs), lots of veggies, some fruit and fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds. I try my hardest to stay away from any processed foods, dairy, and gluten. What I like to tell people, especially my family is that you can find everything you need on the outer edges of the grocery store. There is no need to go into the center aisles and you’ll be just fine. A huge part of my diet is meal prep. I usually leave my house at 10:30am and don’t get home until 11pm; therefore, I need to have my lunch and dinner on me. I spend every Sunday cooking my lunch and dinner for the week; I usually just make breakfast every morning. Even when eating out, I usually alter menu selections to fit my dietary wants/needs.
Any advice for others who want to make a change in their body?
Just do it! Seriously, even if you think you can’t, you can! I’ve accomplished so many things that I couldn’t have imagined less than 2 years ago. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who are willing to push you to and beyond your limits. Never settle, always strive for better.
What are your future fitness goals?
My biggest and most daunting goal is to run a marathon before my 30th birthday. I am scared shitless by this idea but completely determined to make it happen. More running goals are to run a sub 30min 5k and a sub 60min 10k. Some other goals outside of running are to do an unassisted pull up and to be able to one day get my toes to the bar.