On the heels of our last success story about Lisa, our next story is about her motivating cousin, Megan. She was so happy to share her story that I will post it entirely in her own words.
LB: When was your first Zumba® class?
March something of 2010. My SIL begged me to join her at Mike’s Gym, Medford. I dragged my arthritic ass there thinking I would hate it. Hah! Joke’s on me!
LB: When was your first class at Latin Beat?
When it opened! After my first class at mike’s with Patricia, I went to Nelson’s classes, too. I went to Studio 239. I tried a few other instructors back in the beginning and decided I liked the Mendoza’s energy the best. Now I have a host of amazing instructors to pick from, but my wallet and schedule limit me to Latin Beat, so I relish the events with guest instructors!
LB: What was your main reason for taking the class? (e.g. lose weight, get fit, try something fun)
I tried the class because I had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left hip. I knew from the age of 14 that I would eventually be old before my time. Sure enough, the summer of 2009, xrays and hip/thigh pain proved what I was told at age 14. Nearly 100% of women who have a slipped epiphisis disc in their hip (a natural occurrence in 5% of girls aged 12-16) get osteoarthritis about 20 years later. I tried PT, acupressure and massage. My massage therapist told me to try bike riding, belly dancing or other activities where the hips rotated regularly. Zumba hits that mark!
I also wanted to lose the “baby weight” I had been holding onto for two years after the birth of my third child.
LB: How often do you take classes?
I take 3-5 classes a week, depending on time. No fewer than three, though. If I could, I would go everyday, my family would be pissed, though!
LB: Do you take any other classes or fitness programs (e.g bootcamp, pilates)? If so, how long have you been doing those?
I have done three bootcamps. I lost about 30 pounds. More importantly I went from a size 12 to a size 6. I can run, jump slightly higher, my Ultimate Frisbee skills have vastly improved, especially being able to control my quick movements. My slimmer self can slide into the corner and score frequently!
I started Pilates reformer in October of 2011. This has helped my arthritis tremendously. I no longer go to PT or take pain medication regularly for it! I notice if I miss a week, though generally I only miss my workouts if I am on some fun vacation, so it is worth it! My poor body will suffer when Patricia is away!
LB: What goals have you achieved since you started?
I lost the baby weight, gained massive amounts of muscle that I never had, slimmed down three sizes. I never ever wore anything smaller than an 8 in my memory, even at age 14!
More importantly to me, I lost a great deal of my shyness. I can remember standing by the huge fan at Mike’s Gym, wearing my first pair of zumba pants (red, now quite loose, then pretty tight). People were chatting all around me. I desperately wanted to chat, too, but my heart pounded in my throat. I was not in a great place in terms of friends. My good friends lived far away, I was dependant on one friend, granted she rules, but I needed someone who shared my other interests. Most mothers I met on the playground turned away when I said something about drinking, or some other taboo subject! I felt judged and no one ever liked my music, sense of humor or desire to go out dancing!
So, after a few weeks I decided that I would have to cowboy up and start talking. I will admit, the first time I had a drink to loosen me up socially. Whatever, it helped and after that I just found talking easier. I would ask someone how to do a step. I talked with Rebecca and Shannon (tattoos) about how to do certain steps. Ida was friendly, as were others. Studio 239 gave me the opportunity to meet even more wonderful people, Brain, Anita, Shannon, the list goes on and on!
In bootcamp, the first time, I met even more people, and found I was good at encouraging people to push themselves. I always have thought if I am there working out, I should work as hard as I possibly can, because it is only an hour. Now I think I enjoy bootcamp for working out and for meeting and hopefully pushing others in a good way. I know now what to eat, how to eat, how to workout safely, but I still crave the social support system.
In Reformer, I don’t talk as much, but mostly because I am too busy breathing and thinking. That class still mentally exhausts me, but I see so much benefit that it is worth the added cost. It helps me in all areas of life, not just muscle strength!
LB: Why do you like it?
Honestly, I don’t know why I liked it so much right off the bat. It is not music I listen to outside class, ever. If I am dancing for fun, I chose other music. But in no other class have I felt the energy, joy and utter lack of self consciousness in a group of (mostly) women!
LB: Any other info you want to share?
The social support system has been by far the most helpful recently. I achieved my weight loss goals beyond my expectations. Still, I am insanely self critical. Women are really whack sometimes. Many of us see ourselves in a funhouse mirror, shorter, fatter, uglier than we actually are. Our husband or boyfriends can tell us we look great, but we don’t always believe them. We think they are wearing “distorted love goggles” or something. Our parents can tell us we look good, too, but that is the unconditional love talking. We believe our best friends the most, but still often harbor a secret voice that speaks the “truth.”
Since I was so successful with the 12 STEPS away from shyness plan, I decided to build my own confidence. Seriously, I wear a size 6 jean, size 8 in shorts, depending on the brand, because shorts are better looser for me. I can’t believe the amount my body has shrunk, but still, I feel fat and sensitive about my body. That is just stupid.
I look in the mirror more often. For every negative thing I notice I have to find 2 things I love, and can’t repeat often. The lack of repeat has helped me notice fewer negatives and more positives. Then for every negative I come up with, I try to think of it when I eat, or work out. I figure this will only help out my body, which in turn will help out my mind.
Sure I know that my whole self reflective/self improvement routine is a result of me being a massive introspective nerd, but whatever. I am 39, and feel better about myself than ever before in my life. I am not afraid of middle age, I know I can achieve pretty much whatever I want to. And I want to share my thoughts with others. I know many of you feel the same way about your bodies. And I know you all work hard at achieving your body goals. You are doing it! You look great, and sure there will be things you don’t like, but don’t focus on those, please! They only serve to degrade you in your own eyes. Listen to your friends and loved ones, make daily Jack Handy affirmations if it will help! You will at least laugh at yourself in the mirror, and who doesn’t look beautiful laughing?
We wish you all the best in your continued goals!! Check out Megan’s before and after pics: