Oh, those pink overalls… Beautiful, baby pink overalls.
I walked with my mom through the department store for our back-to-school shopping extravaganza. I was no more than 8 or 9 years old, but new clothes were becoming more exciting. T-shirts, jeans, socks, underwear… and then I saw them. OshKosh, baby pink, corduroy, short overalls with silver buttons. They were the most gorgeous piece of back-to-school apparel I had ever seen. I had to try them on. My mom grabbed a size, the biggest they had, and we went to the dressing room. I envisioned my first day of school, sporting my new pink overalls. I slipped my feet in, pulled… and they stopped at my thighs. I looked down to make sure I had undone the little buttons on the side and I had. I pulled and pulled, but they weren’t going anywhere. The tears started to fall and my mom consoled me, telling me it would be ok and we could work on some healthier eating and then buy the overalls. When I brought this story up with my mom not too long ago she didn’t even remember it happening. I like to think she was too traumatized by her daughter’s emotions that she blocked out the tragic event, but that’s beside the point. I was devastated about my gorgeous pink overalls.
When I was 10, my extra weight actually became somewhat of a blessing. I was feeling sick all of the time. I had no appetite and when I was finally able to eat something it stayed in my body for a matter of hours. My digestion was completely off. I was VERY tired and missed weeks of school. My weight all of a sudden started dropping off at an alarming rate. The first doctor gave me a depression test and told my mom I might be giving myself laxatives to lose weight. I didn’t even know what laxatives were. The second doctor gave me some antibiotics to fight an infection, which was interesting since there was no infection. The third doctor was a little closer and put me on a very strong cocktail of drugs which made me even more sick. At this point I was 13. I was tall for my age, about 5’8″ and had lost so much weight I was now barely 85 pounds. I have a picture of me holding my brand new baby sister when I was at my lowest weight. It’s truly terrifying how skinny I was. Finally the miracle doctor was found in the form of a dermatologist my mom happened to take my brother to. She brought up my condition with Dr. Parkinson who insisted on seeing me immediately. Strangely enough, he knew exactly what was wrong with me, because he had been diagnosed with it too a few years earlier. It was Clostridium Difficille, C. diff for short. The easiest way to explain it was the good bacteria in my stomach had been destroyed, most likely due to an over-prescription of antibiotics when I was young. 3 weeks, and a lot of Vancomycin later, I felt better for the first time in almost four years.
Food tasted good again! I hadn’t loved food at all in years and now, everything tasted amazing! My mom and grandparents weren’t about to curb my appetite when they had watched me become so emaciated. In a very short amount of time I was heavier than I had ever been with the stretch marks to prove it.
Fast forward past the many instances when my weight made me self-conscious in middle school, my binge eating made me hate myself in high school, the zero school dances I was asked to, the zero boyfriends I had, and the thousands of times I committed to getting skinny.
I was working as an Assistant Manager at a clothing store at 22 years old. I loved the discount on clothes, but frequently layered an unnecessary amount of extra-large tops to hide my body. I had dealt with my fair share of difficult customers since my first job at a movie theater when I was 16, so one particular lady didn’t seem very special when she called to complain. This particular woman felt one of the other store workers was dressed inappropriately when she came to shop that morning. “She was showing too much cleavage!” the (completely unreasonable and horribly delusional) woman said. Being good at her job, my manager continued to listen to the woman as she described other girls working in the store and how their attire was inappropriate. We’ll just skip over the fact that no one was dressed inappropriately. She had attacked everyone except me. And then she said, “…and there was a bigger girl working at a table and I could see her underwear over the top of her jeans!” That was me. First of all, I’m pretty sure I was wearing blue undies with cute little penguins that day, so you’re welcome lady. Secondly, she said bigger. Her adjective of choice was bigger. Bigger. I was horrified. Had I really reached that point? When people talked about me and needed to explain who I was, did they use the word “bigger”? That day I left work, drove to Wendy’s, ordered a Spicy Chicken Combo with no lettuce, add American cheese, large fry and drink, Dr. Pepper, two sides of ranch, and hated myself.
Let’s skip to the positive stuff. July 25, 2010 my husband bought Turbo Fire for me as an anniversary present. I had seen the infomercials, I had actually owned Turbo Jam at one point, and I loved Chalene Johnson. Something about Turbo Fire just told me it was, as Chalene puts it, my “soul-mate” workout. I opened it and immediately went to the TV to watch the “Getting Started” DVD. This was it. I was committed. I was ready. I was sick of feeling like crap.
The workouts were amazing. 5 lbs. down. The nutritional plan was flawless. 10 lbs. down. I was able to make it through almost all of the workouts low-impact. 15 lbs. down. My old jeans fit. 20 lbs. down. “Tia you look so good!” 25 lbs. down. Cupcakes became really popular. 2 lbs. up. Chalene told me I wasn’t tired. 30 lbs. down. I felt amazing! 35 lbs. down.
My life had quite literally, changed. I became more confident, I became more nice, I loved myself physically and mentally. It was like a snowball. I couldn’t get enough of the workouts, I missed them when I couldn’t do them, and healthy food tasted amazing.
Honestly, I don’t even remember how, but I connected with Molly Richards on Facebook. Molly was in the cast of Turbo Fire and I always loved her Meet the Cast interview: “Hi, I’m Molly Richards! I’m from Huntington Beach, California and I love happy, positive, motivated, energetic people!” Those of you who have done Turbo Fire probably have those interviews memorized because, like me, you sit on the floor, drink your water, and listen to it after every workout. The first time I talked to Molly I was super scared and shy. She was on my DVDs! And she was the probably the nicest person I’d ever talked to. She talked to me about becoming a Beachbody Coach. She told me about Shakeology, so I tried it. 40 lbs. down. (And I’ve had it everyday for the last two years.) And then I made the best decision I had made since starting Turbo Fire. I became a Team Beachbody Coach. Coaching made it possible for me to help others use programs like Turbo Fire to change their lives.
In May 2011 I reached one of my biggest goals of becoming a certified Turbo Kick Instructor. For those who don’t know, Turbo Kick is the gym version of Turbo Jam/Fire created by Chalene Johnson. Shortly after I certified in Hip Hop Hustle, another one of Chalene’s gym formats and most recently completed my training in PiYo Strength. In December of 2011 Chalene came to Park City, UT and taught 3 classes. I made the 45 minutes drive to go to two of them and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Molly had told her about my transformation so when I met her she knew who I was. She is one of the most genuine, amazing people I have ever met. In 2012 I was able to attend Chalene’s Camp Do More in Southern California, which was another life changer.
I have confidence. I have good health. I have energy. And my passion is to help others get the same things.
And if I had one wish, it would be that OshKosh, baby pink, corduroy, short overalls were still in fashion…
Chalene Johnson and me. Park City, December 2011