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Salute to Success ~ December 2009

      Hi Everybody!  And happy December!  Are you doing lots of things for the holidays?   Do you feel rushed...trying to get everything done?  Do you sometimes just feel the need to just slow down for a while.

      Well, sometimes we need to slow down with our weight loss too!  I've always told you that it's not healthy to lose weight too quickly.  But we all tend to want that instant gratification...don't we?  We want what we want...NOW!

      So this month I want to introduce you to my friend Rochelle (rmccall02).  Rochelle wanted to lose weight fast too. But she's learned that important lesson that we learned in the fable of the tortoise and the hare... "Slow and steady wins the race."

      Rochelle has struggled with her weight for as long as she can remember.  She had yo-yo'd up and down for years!   Even in second grade, she was the heaviest kid in class.  She says she always stood out from her friends...she had a perm, glasses, braces, and the weight too!  During middle school and high school, her weight crept up to about 200 pounds.

      The summer between her sophomore and junior years of high school, Rochelle went on a high protein diet.   Lunches and dinners were plain chicken breasts, and salads without any dressing.   The weight was coming off quickly.  But Rochelle was also quickly getting bored with that way of eating!!!  But she did end up losing about 40 pounds and says she looked and felt like a different person.

       During college, there was a lot of pressure to stay thin, and Rochelle did a pretty good job of keeping the weight off.  Working out was a cool thing to do, and of course she also wanted to fit in the clothes that were stylish and popular at the time.  So, Rochelle worked out at the recreation center on campus and also went dancing with her sorority sisters 2 to 3 times each week.  She was having fun with her friends, and all the exercise helped her stay slim.

      After college, Rochelle got a job where for the first time she was required to sit as a desk for 8 hours of each day.  Her workouts stopped...and she quit paying attention to what she was eating...going for fast foods and whatever was quick and convenient.  The weight started coming back on...and by 2004 Rochelle's weight was up to 224.

     At that time, Rochelle decided to try a liquid diet.  At first she was hungry all the time.  But she stuck with it and lived off 6 protein shakes a day.  It was hard because family and friends would invite her to go out to eat, and do things that involved meals and food.  But she would go and enjoy their company and resist the food.  For four or five months she lived off those shakes and didn't cheat once.  She was losing 10 to 15 pounds per month...even faster than before.  When she got down to 155, she went on a maintenance program that reintroduced real food into her diet.

     After losing that weight, Rochelle was feeling great about herself...and she began to date someone.  The relationship lasted a while...but ended around Thanksgiving that same year...and Rochelle then became very depressed.  She began eating all the foods she had been avoiding and felt she just couldn't stop herself.

     Over the next two years, Rochelle's weight quickly went from 155 all the way up to 274...her highest weight ever.  None of her clothes fit anymore, and Rochelle refused to even look at herself in a full length mirror.

     Rochelle's back was hurting her, and she felt hopeless.  In May of 2007, Rochelle had the opportunity to move from Texas to Southern California...and she decided to go for it!

     Rochelle says,  "The weather must have put a magic spell on me! I began walking around an outdoor track after work each day... something I had not done in a very long time. I also began buying healthier foods that I found easily accessible and incorporated vegetables back into my diet. The weight slowly but surely started to come off after I started making small changes in my daily routine."

     Then, Rochelle's sister joined her in California too!  "Ever since my sister joined me in Los Angeles, my mom had encouraged us to check out Richard’s studio, Slimmons in Beverly Hills. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate than my sister. She encourages me and is always there when I need her.  In July of this year, my sister attended one of the Tuesday night classes Richard taught and said it was so much fun! I believe her exact words were “I’ve never had so much fun working out before in my life!” I decided to join her the following Saturday which happened to be the day of the Sweatin’ and Tonin’ DVD auditions. I immediately felt comfortable as soon as I walked in the doors of Slimmons; everyone greeted me with open arms and a smile. Richard asked me if I was staying for the audition and I told him I would have to think about it."

      "After class, my sister and I decided to audition and began waiting in the very long line. After about 20 minutes, I let my insecurities get the best of me and I decided to head home and not try out.  I called my mom and told her I wasn't going to audition. I remember her telling me something along the lines of “when you get older, you will only regret the things you didn't at least try to do… please think about this.” After hanging up with her, I turned the car around and drove back to Slimmons and auditioned in the very last group!"

      About a week later Rochelle got a call from my director to tell her she had been cast in Tonin' to the Oldies!   "I was on cloud nine! Being a part of the Tonin’ cast has been one of the best experiences I've ever had. We rehearsed twice a week and I really enjoyed being part of such a wonderful group of people who I now consider family. Every week Richard encouraged us, asked how we were doing, and always listened with open ears and an open heart.  I will forever cherish the time we spent preparing for the DVD."

      "I had so much fun throughout the rehearsal and taping process. Richard was kind enough to allow both my grandmother and mother to come to the set on taping day. My mom actually got to be one of the background dancers in the Tonin’ DVD. I can't wait for the DVD to come out so that we can share what we've all worked so hard on."  

       "Richard continually reinforces this lesson- that I need to find a way to make working out fun, make it part of my schedule, and to find a workout buddy.  That was easy to do in college.  At that time, I did not see exercising as a “chore”.  It was a social gathering, something I enjoyed.  Slimmons has become not only a part of my new workout routine, but also a social outlet for me.  Going to Slimmons is now a commitment I have for myself, and to my sister and friends."

      I've lost an additional 10 lbs since the taping and am down to 216 lbs. Ultimately, I would like to weigh between 155-165 lbs. Just two months ago I was meeting with neurosurgeons considering back surgery due to sciatic pain that has been running down my left leg for the past year. Today my pain is minimal. I am no longer considering the surgery and hardly ever have to take pain medication. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. I feel like I am getting my life back!"

     "Gaining and losing so much weight in relatively short amounts of time has made me realize the importance of slow weight loss. Quick fixes do not work and are setups for failure. I've realized that food is something that I will always struggle with, but thanks to the help of Richard, and my supportive friends and family, I've started to adopt alternative ways of managing both my cravings and emotions.  I write down EVERYTHING that I eat, even if I go off program, as I admit, I sometimes do."

     "I had the privilege of listening to Elijah Jones speak at the taping of the Sweatin’ for Life infomercial. He said something that really stuck with me. He said, “You have to love yourself more than you love the food”. This is something I repeat to myself daily as I count the many blessings I've been given, including the chance to share my story with you."

     Rochelle, thank you so much for sharing your story with everyone here at my website.  I am so glad you're taking care of yourself.  And I'm also glad you turned your car around that day and came back to Slimmons for my auditions!  I can't wait for everybody to meet you in Tonin' to the Oldies!   You keep coming to Slimmons, and keep eating right...and make those workouts fun for yourself.   You'll be at your goal before you know it.   I'm so excited for you!   Keep going, Rochelle!

     And to all of you reading this... I can't wait for you to meet Rochelle, and tone with us!  Slow down, and take your weight loss at a healthy pace.  Be careful to stay on plan this month and take the time to be with your families, friends, pets, and all those you love!

Love,