All my life I have been bullied and teased to the point that I kept gaining weight because I ate myself into an endless cycle of depression, low self-esteem, no self-worth and a food addiction. It started when I was quite young and it never stopped when I got older. I had a hard time standing up for myself and I didn’t really have anyone telling me I was okay the way I was, just how I could “fix it.”
No matter what I tried, I kept yo-yoing and mostly upwards. I tried diet pills, skipping meals, weight watchers, and other money wasting gimmicks. However, I still tried some things to help make me feel beautiful. Like my best friend getting me into the hairdressing fashion show at VIU when she was a hairdressing student; and a photo shoot with Aurora Photography. I found Marjie on Facebook and absolutely loved how she saw my vision of what I wanted and made me feel like a model.
But.. it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t deal with it anymore and I was getting bigger, scared for my health and more depressed. A doctor that was subbing in for my family GP asked if I had thought of weight loss surgery. I hadn’t. There began the process of the best decision I made in my entire life (well my first best decision). At my heaviest, I weighed 323 pounds and just before surgery about 313.
I followed the after care to a tee the first months and did my best following. I had and still have great support from the team at West Coast Bariatric, now called Richmond Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. They make sure you’re ready, emotionally as well as physically, staying with you throughout the entire process, making sure you are on the right track and guiding you through your journey.
I still speak with, I’ll call him my guide, from the Physical Activity Line, who helps me set goals, checks in and has really been a rock throughout this journey and I am proud to have him in my corner as a major part of my support team.
My surgery was February 3, 2014 and I had what is called a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which removed 85% of my stomach.
Surgery is a huge step and decision to make in a person’s life, and for me, a young person’s life. I thought it would be better to do it while I’m young, rather than when I get older and have a harder time “bouncing back.”
Surgery is not a quick fix by any means, you have to work very hard before and after. People have gained their weight back and then some if they don’t fight to keep themselves in check. Yes, you may yo-yo a bit, but that’s normal. For me, the number doesn’t matter as much, it’s how I feel, and how I look (damn good in my latest new duds), and how hard I work.
Back to the food addiction. It’s an addiction. Therefore, with surgery it didn’t magically go away. My bad habits crept back into my life. While I’m still in much better control, I still fight my addiction to make the best choices I can when it comes to daily eating. This means I’ve had my fair share of bad food binges, not as bad as before because my stomach is smaller so it let’s me know when it can’t handle any more, but it’s still a binge nonetheless.
Now, with all this food talk, there’s the exercise. I wasn’t getting much of that either. I’ve tried some gyms, fitness class here and there but nothing I could stick to. After surgery, I was able to walk more but walking wasn’t enough.
Unfortunately for me, there were a few setbacks. I was off work for five months due to idiopathic intracranial hypertension, in English, basically too much fluid in my head causing swollen optic nerves. Then there was my fall down the stairs and broken leg/ankle, which I was off for another five months. Luckily, not directly back to back.
Finally somewhat healed from my latest injury, walking a lot better and over a year later, I still needed something other than just walking for exercise. But considering my injury, it couldn’t be too vigorous, or expensive.
A Facebook friend of mine posted asking who was going to join her at her fitness class at the studio she goes to, and raved about it to be precise, so I decided to give it a shot.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into, especially for my first class. which was intense I might add. But surprisingly, I got bit by the fitness bug. The fun fitness bug. I’m sure you’re curious as to what I mean by that. Well, at Casa LOCA Fitness, everyone seems to work out with a smile, and not to mention it happens to be fitness in disguise!
The great thing about this studio, is it works with my schedule and budget. For someone on a lower-income that’s fantastic. Not to mention, they have great promotions, including trying a class for free. They also have put on some great events like bringing Ricardo Marmitte to Nanaimo for a Zumba Masterclass and teaching opportunities.
It’s a small studio, opened in October of 2017, is ran and owned by Fab Lethbridge, who is such a sweetheart, a great motivator, instructor, and gives great hugs too. Casa LOCA is a tight nit welcoming community of instructors, and fellow work out buds that are extremely supportive and so much fun to goof around with as we groove along to the blaring music you can hear from the bus stop across the street (I can attest to this as when I was waiting for my bus I could hear it, mind you the door was propped open.. haha.. 😉 ).
Another great thing about a studio like this, is that you can go at your own pace, and the instructors will show you modifications for those like me, who have injuries that may limit movement. With the classes being mostly on the “dancey” side, you don’t even have to keep up with the choreography, if you get lost, as long as you’re moving is what matters and even the instructors goof which makes it even more fun seeing them laugh and get back on track.
I googled the meaning of Casa Loca, and according to SpanishDict, the first meaning is “crazy house.” Google translate also agrees with this translation, as did most other sources I found. Which to me, fits so perfectly! We get crazy in our routines, our goofing off, having fun, sweating like animals and partying like it’s 1999! It fits me because to be frank, as you know from previous posts, I’m quite the Harley Quinn XD (who I went as for the superhero party and therefore was the only villain, but forgot to take a photo, oops).
The next translation, according to SpanishDict, individually, casa= house, loca =queen. Well, all the ladies I have the pleasure of working out with are queens in my book, and the few gents that join are kings.
There are a range of classes:
Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FabZumba/
Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/casalocafitnessstudio/?hl=en
You find yourself excitedly hoping they will do some of your favorite songs/routines, while getting lost learning new ones. When the instructors get lost, and you remember, you just keep going and wait for them to pick up. Some get hauled up to dance along side the instructors and kill it while shaking their booty.
Warning: There will be lots of booty shaking!
Not to mention, the last Friday of every month is a themed Party! I’ve had the pleasure of going to the very first, Glow Zumba, and the latest, Superhero themed!
Thanks to my crazy house I am more active, my mood is improving, I have more motivation to work harder at my fitness, food and health goals. I no longer beat myself up if I have a binge day. Instead I look at my days off work and the fitness schedule and pick a class to look forward to! I have managed to surpass my Samsung walking goal for the month of March!
I have more self-confidence, self-love, self-beauty.
But… I still struggle on a daily basis with regular ups and downs. I have to keep reminding myself of how far I’ve come, how hard I’ve worked, and to keep fighting. I’m a warrior, fighting an endless battle in a winning war!