Growing up, I was always the “big girl.”
At 14 years old I weighed 195 pounds. I grew up in an obese family and it seemed like I was destined to grow up to be just like them. I had tried countless diets of starvation and deprivation. Just a heads up, living on string beans is miserable. So I always ended up giving in, feeling worse about myself, and gaining more weight. Then during my sophomore year at Byrd High School something snapped in me. I was tired of being the “big girl.” So I made it my goal to lose weight. And I did. Eighty pounds! In less than a year!
Now I know what you’re thinking, “That’s awesome! How’d you do it?” And my answer is...THE WRONG WAY! I stopped eating and did endless hours of cardio. I never changed the shape of my body. I was only a smaller, flabbier version of “fat Jami.” After being forced to go to a nutritionist by my mother who was scared by how thin I had gotten, I started to do some research on my own time. I read journal after journal and article after article on proper workouts and nutrition to reach my goal which was no longer to lose weight, but to be happy with my body.
In 2009, I started attending classes at Centenary College. I finally had access to a gym! Following a basic strength training workout from a book I found, I stepped into the gym for the first time and fell in love! I loved the feeling of the weights in my hands and knowing that I was pushing my body to its limits in order to reach the goals I had set for myself.
In June of 2011, I walked into Anytime Fitness desperate for more knowledge on lifting and nutrition. Conveniently for me, the owner was desperate for help cleaning the gym. In return for three hours of cleaning a week, I gained years worth of knowledge. In the 2 ½ years I was at that gym, I have learned more than the four years I spent at Centenary studying Health and Exercise Science. So I studied, got certified through the ACSM, and immediately started personal training.
I love helping others reach their goals. I love watching them make improvements each week and the joy that shows on their face when they get one more rep than they did the week before.
Now I am that girl you see on the right above. A girl with so much more confidence than the girl on the left. A girl who is proud of her accomplishments and happy with the person she has become. Anything can be done as long as you set a reasonable goal, put your mind to it, realize that you will encounter struggles, yet push through them anyway. I did it. You can do it. And I can show you how!
TAKU’s NOTE: In this week’s podcast episode #37 we share a powerful story of transformation. The pictures give only a tiny glimpse into this young woman’s amazing journey.