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    Posted July 1, 2014 by
    Tempe, Arizona
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    Heart of a Warrior

    The Story of My Life:

    I don’t really remember living until I turned about 27 years old. All the days I spent before that life-changing year are cloudy memories that I have stored in the recesses of my mind. I’ve locked them away from others and myself because they are just too painful to remember and they do not bring any light or love to the life that I lead now. But, I write this message now because the life I have now is one worth fighting for – it is one filled with joy, success, love, energy, zeal, and passion. However, it also one that forces to me to suffer at times, to feel the pain of defeat and the frustration of setbacks, and to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. The old me would have cowered at these type of tribulations and hid among the darkness. That woman is gone. I have evolved into a warrior – a woman who will fight for what is right, just, healthy, and good in this world and who believes in her ability to make a difference in her own life and the lives of others. I am proud of my journey for the small steps I have taken along the way are the ones that help me stand strong at the foot of mountains and keep me poised to carry on with strength, courage, grace, and honor.

    At one point in my life, I tipped the scales at around 415 pounds and was a size 28. I was a young, 27 year-old woman who really had not even begun to live her life. I was too big to sit in an airplane seat, so I never travelled anywhere. I couldn’t fit into the seats at amusement parks, so I rarely went out and enjoyed fun times with family and friends. I was looked at and talked about nearly everywhere, so I just stopped wanting to socialize with people outside my small circle of family and close friends. Physically, I can remember not being able to walk up the 16 stairs at my parents’ house without feeling like I had just ran a marathon. And, I never ever contemplated setting foot into a gym because it would have been too embarrassing. I had become a person that wasn’t truly alive and that was sad and depressed. I knew that I ate poorly and that I didn’t get any exercise, but for years I wasn’t ready to make any changes. I chose instead to eat huge amounts of fast food, sodas, sweets, and processed foods and then not exert any type of physical activity. I had fallen into a black hole lifestyle that kept me shackled underneath hundreds of pounds of weight – taking a toll on my body and my soul.

    But one day, I remember looking into the mirror and thinking, “I’m so tired of being sad – something has to change.” Whatever it was that had been holding me back from changing my life had finally collapsed and I was on my way towards taking the best, most important steps of my life. I began walking late at night around my parents’ neighborhood so that no one would see me walking. I was too afraid of being made fun of to actually do my exercise in the light of day. I was still hiding in the shadows, but I was making my way out – slowly, but surely. I cut out sodas and fast food entirely and began researching ways to eat healthy. There wasn’t one magical diet or workout plan that I followed in the beginning. I was just taking baby steps to becoming healthier. But, changing the way I ate and incorporating moderate physical exercise, helped me shed pounds over the first couple of months. I kept up my walking and healthy eating for about 6 months and I ended up losing about 60 pounds. Once that initial weight came off and I could begin to see a different face and body in the mirror, my whole attitude changed. I knew I could do it! I knew I could make even more progress.

    So, I began to incorporate a more regimented routine of physical exercise. I found at-home workout programs that would allow me to have a scheduled set of exercises, but that would still keep me out of the gym – I wasn’t ready to face that fear yet. I did the Beachbody Power 90 program and continued to lose weight. I had great success and became even more confident. So, once I hit the 100-pound mark of my weight loss, I decided that it was time to ramp things up even more. I found a local trainer to help me continue on my journey. I lost nearly 115 pounds by combining training from him, along with another BeachBody program, P90X, in about a year. I had fully committed myself to a healthy diet and an intense workout routine and I was able to reclaim my life! In total, I have lost approximately 215 pounds and dropped down to a size 10. But, my journey both in my physical fitness and in other aspects of my life is not over.

    Once I had lost all my weight, my entire life changed. My attitude on the world and how I fit into it went through a complete metamorphosis. I was ready to conquer every obstacle that came my way! I decided that because I had embarked upon such an amazing journey that there was no reason to stop. I was meant to keep forging ahead. I took my newfound confidence into a different arena - the classroom – and began law school. While attending law school, I knew that the stressors I experienced academically could be managed and even lightened with a proper diet and continued physical exercise. So, in my last year of law school, back in 2013, I decided to get another trainer. Now I have defined muscles that I never knew even existed! Through his training I felt poised to take on a challenge that I never thought I would ever have a chance to even think about…The Spartan Race. I decided that my law school graduation present and the best way to celebrate passing the Arizona bar exam and becoming an attorney was to finally compete in the Reebok Spartan Race!

    I had seen information on The Spartan Race through Facebook and other social media sights years ago, but I was too afraid to register. I never thought of myself as someone who could participate in such an event. But finally, after my sister and friends took me to another obstacle course event, I decided that with the proper training I was going to do it! I was going to do The Spartan Race!

    With all of that said, on February 8, 2014 I approached the starting line of the Arizona Spartan Sprint ready to face my biggest physical challenge ever. My fiancé, Jules Demetrius, who is battling Stage 3 colon and liver cancer, had hoped to be in those spectator bleachers cheering me on, but due to his diminished physical capacities, he was unable to do so. But, he voiced his support all over social media, touting his love and admiration for what I have accomplished. Everyday he endures horrible pain as he fights against cancer and his strength and courage only spur me to continue to face my fears and give 100% to everything in my life.
    I began that race with the drive of a warrior.

    As I crossed the finish line I began to cry. It had been the biggest physical challenge I had ever faced and subsequently conquered. Years of hard work, determination, and struggles had culminated in the completion of this 4.5 mile race. And as Arisotle penned, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” So, as I finish writing this story, I realize that I am not yet done conquering my fears or facing challenges. For, I have truly embraced a code of never quitting and never accepting defeat. I will carry those virtues with me for the rest of my days, for I am, and always have been a fighter.
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