Get inspired by one woman's moving story of how she was inspired to live a healthier life.
Name: Stephanie Erhueh from Washington, DC
Weight Lost: 60 lbs
How She Did It: Started by taking Zumba classes, now she's a certified instructor
Follow Stephanie on Facebook at Zumba with Stephanie
In April 2012, I was hit with the reality that I would turn 30 in a little over a year. I reflected on the time I had spent in my twenties, not living my best self because my weight had held me back. I thought about times when I opted not to go to events or spend time with friends because I couldn’t find anything that fit or because I was just overall unhappy with my appearance. With numerous milestone celebrations staring me in the face, I knew that I had to make a serious decision about my health, lest I spend another decade of my life living in regret. As fate would have it, the following month, one of my line sisters proposed that I take a Zumba class with her. Though I had never taken a class, she convinced me to give it a try, so I joined her the following week. In baggy sweats and an oversized t-shirt, I entered the class and walked all the way to the back. Not knowing what to expect, I thought it best that I lay low and not draw attention to the fact that I was a newbie. During that class, I danced and sweated to a variety of Latin and international songs that kept my heart rate elevated. The class physically challenged me in ways that I didn’t think were possible in a dance fitness class.
After parting ways with my line sister after class, I got in my car and sat there for about 15 minutes and cried. I cried because I couldn’t believe how exhausted and out of shape I was. I cried because I couldn’t believe the image of the person that stared back at me in the mirrors of the dance studio as I attempted to keep up with the the class. Eventually, the pity party ended and I dried my eyes, deciding at that very moment that I was going to commit myself to a consistent fitness and dietary regimen that would put me on the track of improved health and wellness.
Over the course of the next several months, I began working out no less than five days a week. My weekly routine would consist of a combination of Zumba, African dance, Bikram yoga, running, power walking, stationary biking, elliptical training, and in-home strength training workout DVDs. I created a weekly schedule of routines and switched up my workouts often enough so that I wouldn’t get bored. I engaged friends so that I could have a real-time accountability system and workout buddies. My eating habits also changed. I bought a juicer and began to write down everything that I ate. I began eating six times a day, every two and half to three hours.
Six months into my new routine, one of my Zumba instructors began strongly encouraging me to train to become a licensed instructor. I had actually considered it as a fitness goal for myself, but didn’t foresee it happening anywhere in the immediate future. Though I would brush her off when she would mention instructor training to me, the more she brought it up, the more I began to think about it. One night after a class, she took the time to talk with me about the apprehension that I had and put each of my fears to bed.
In January 2013, I trained and received my license to teach Zumba Fitness. Today, I currently teach five Zumba fitness classes a week, participate in a 45-minute boot camp class 3 to 4 times a week, and squeeze in a different type of workout into my own personal routine at least once a week. I’ve recently purchased a bicycle and have convinced several of my friends to do the same so that we can begin biking as a means of fellowship and exercise.
I now see life through a different set of lenses. I have put myself back on my priority list and each day, I make a conscious decision to take strides towards becoming a healthier me. It hasn’t been easy, but I am enjoying every moment of the journey. Some say I have become obsessed, but I prefer the word dedicated!
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