The article below originally appeared in my Zumba instructor’s newsletter. Marcela is amazing. Check her out here, along with some great videos from class.
It’s hard to get excited about a party when your party dress doesn’t fit.
Back in the summer of 2011, I had finally grown tired of my party clothes being too small. Actually, all of my clothes had gotten too small. And my knees hurt. And I was tired all the time.
Plus, my Dad called and said he had been diagnosed as diabetic.
“Kimi,” he said, “You need to know this because, apparently, diabetes runs pretty strongly in the family. My brother has it, my sister has it, and I guess if your grandmother had lived longer, she probably would have developed it, too.”
It was definitely time for a change. I was more than 70 pounds heavier than when I met my husband, and now, I was flirting with diabetes. No longer did I see being overweight as being unattractive. I began to understand, probably for the first time, that being overweight is unhealthy.
As in: being overweight could kill me.
With that big lightbulb over my head, I joined Weight Watchers on July 20, 2011 (my dad’s birthday). In October, I joined my wonderful gym, ACAC. While I lost 20 pounds before joining ACAC, the weight started melting away quickly once I began dancing with Marcela, our beautiful and amazing Zumba instructor. In just three weeks, I lost more than 8 pounds! Burning up to 800 calories per class will do that for a gal.
While I had been to other Zumba classes, this one was completely different. The room was electric, everyone was excited to be there, and as soon as the music started – WOW! The energy level went through the roof!
I, on the other hand, remained mostly rooted to the floor in that first class. It was all so new! How would I ever get the choreography?
Thankfully, I reminded myself that it took some time to get the hang of Weight Watchers. And as Marcela said, “Don’t worry about the steps, just have fun and keep going. You’ll get it no time!”
She was right! I came to class regularly (3 or 4 times a week), and just continued to work at it. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, and they reminded me that no one was looking at me – they’re all watching (and trying to follow) Marcela and having fun.
Meanwhile, my weight continued to go down, as did my dress sizes. Since I started this journey, I’ve lost 50 pounds and at least 4 dress sizes. As you can see from my “before” and “current” shots below, 50 pounds on a 5’ 3” frame makes a lot of difference.
Not only do I look different, I feel different. I breathe better, my joints don’t hurt, I have more energy and I’m generally cheerful most of the time. It’s a nice change from being tired and grumpy and achy.
Through it all, Zumba has helped me stay motivated, burn a ton of calories and nurture a growing confidence inside. It’s an amazing thing when you look forward to going to the gym! Plus, I’ve made great friends who have inspired me to keep going and have supported me through the process. Keisha, Mark, Caron, Patty, Debbie, Kelly, Jenn, Gail, Helen, Kim, Sheila and all the “stage left” crew, you’ve no idea how special you are. Thank you for being so welcoming and wonderful!
All of our Zumba teachers are awesome and incredibly encouraging. Amy, Haley, Louann and Alex (we miss you!), you are all rock stars!
Most of all, I want to thank Marcela. You urged me to stick with it and to wear my party dress (Zumba skirt) with pride and confidence. Thank you so much, Marcela. You are a teacher of life lessons!!
While I still have another 20+ pounds to lose, I know I will get there. Because now I know the secret of success:
“Don’t worry about the steps. Just have fun and keep going. You’ll get it no time!”
Let’s go, let’s go!
Wishing you a Zumbalicious Day!
Marcela shared these these incredibly kind and wonderful words of inspiration:
Diabetes also runs in my family, and I have lost a couple of my uncles because of that. My father was diagnosed with diabetes a few weeks ago, and if I can change the life of somebody and help them to be healthier, it makes my job worth it. I am very proud of Kim. You decided to change and help yourself, and I was only one of so many helpers in your way to be healthier. You look amazing!!! I love to see you enjoying the class and giving 100%, you look younger, happier and beautiful!!! WELL DONE!!”