BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Naomi Collier, a graduate student at LSU, has lost more than 135 pounds. Here's her story.
"I'm young, I still have time to lose it " That was always my reply whenever I was asked about my weight. My weight loss journey has not been an overnight success story. It has taken alot of sweat, tears and complaining to get to where I am today. I have been big all my life and overcoming stereotypes and society was my claim to fame. I had convinced myself that I loved the way I looked, and that it was my mission to make everyone else love it too. So for years I embraced my size and the thought of losing weight seldom crossed my mind.
My "Come to Fitness" moment happened about two years ago. My best friend got a job as a lifeguard at the YMCA and she suggested I come and hang out sometimes. I began taking classes like Kick Boxing, Boot Camp and Water Aerobics and by the end of the summer I had lost about 23 pounds. After the summer ended my friend returned to school and I discontinued my visits to the gym. In the fall of 2011, I went to the doctor for my annual blood test and I received some unsettling news. My good cholesterol was low and my bad cholesterol was too high. My results indicated that without losing weight I was at risk for heart disease. My doctor said "this is an easy fix. You just have to increase your exercising five times a week and eliminate all fatty foods from your diet." Well after a good laugh, reality set in and I began to worry.
I was a full-time student, worked part time and five days a week just did not seem possible. So I approached the executive director of the Southside YMCA and expressed my concerns and he recommended that I get a personal trainer, someone who could motivate me and to keep me accountable. He assigned Gina Stonich who at first glance looks sweet and easy going, but little did I know she would be a "gladiator in sweats". She has been the motivation I needed to get where I am today. Anytime I wanted to quit she encouraged me to keep going. She let me know that excuses were not an option and failure would not be tolerated. I am 135 pounds lighter because of hard work, dedication and a great support system. The YMCA has saved my life and I will forever be grateful. The struggle is real, but so worth it. Stay tuned. this is just the beginning.
Send us your story and before and after pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.