Get inspired by one woman's moving story of how she was inspired to live a healthier life.
Name: Crystal Wall from Houston, TX
Weight Lost: 60 lbs
How She Did It: Zumba and support from family
My family hails from Louisiana, which means we ate good and we ate BIG every day. Go big or go home is our motto in the south. We like big trucks, big rims, and big plates of food! Cleaning your plate was something you automatically did as a child because you knew that was the only way to get dessert. Food was a way of showing love in my family, especially when I was with my grandmother. If we did well, we were rewarded with food. If we fell off the bike and wailed at the top of our lungs, we were soothed with soft words and slices of pie.
Naturally, those actions and behaviors spilled over into adulthood. As the mother of two rambunctious children, and the wife of a high-profile, Southern rap legend who’s always doing shows or handling affairs for the Grammy committee he sits on, my life showed no signs of slowing down anytime soon. I was gaining weight and so was my husband Paul.
Being the leader that he is, my husband made the first move toward a healthier lifestyle. In 2010, Paul lost 135 pounds by having weight loss surgery and got himself a personal trainer to help maintain his weight. Boy was my husband looking fine! I was ecstatic that Paul changed his lifestyle before it was too late, but the urge to start working out didn’t hit me immediately. Fear did. It made me wonder how the heck would I be able to resist all the foods I had adored and settle for rice cakes. Not to mention that working out increases sweat, which ruins a sister’s freshly done hair!
My own self-induced fear was blocking my blessings. I didn’t want to be another statistic, using the same old excuses like “diabetes runs in my family anyway” or “I’m meant to be big boned.” Then I thought about it a little deeper. What if something great can come from this? Now, that made more sense to me! What if I could fit my clothes better, have more energy, and lower my chances of heart disease and all other illnesses that plague African-Americans?
Moreover, I wanted to look as great as my husband. I don’t have to be the thinnest lady in the room, but I should be the most confident. Crystal had to get her sexy back by any means necessary, so I decided to give Zumba a try. Needless to say, it worked. By the grace of God I lost 60 pounds in one year! I loved Zumba so much that I became a certified instructor in 2012. I teach classes at the House of Dereon twice a week in Houston and I love it. Seeing women from all walks of life befriend and encourage one another is priceless. When we look good, our swag is through the roof because we also feel good.
I knew that God had a plan for me. I was trying to figure out what direction to take my career in and was becoming very frustrated. Since becoming a “healthy girl,” I’ve been blessed to be the spokesperson for Feel Rich, an initiative to bring health awareness to urban communities. I’ve also had the opportunity to blog for the American Heart Association’s Go Red Campaign and implement a 45-day challenge for the women in my classes.
I hope that my journey to lose weight will inspire a change in others to start the weight loss journey by making subtle changes. At the Wall House, we “swap out.” For example, instead of ordering refried beans we’ll get black beans. When the kids ask for Snickers; they get an apple. These may sound like small changes, but they make a big difference in your dress size.
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