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SOUL Transformation: How Viviana Navarro Lost 48 Pounds at SOUL

When VIVIANA NAVARRO began riding at SOUL three months ago, she had been struggling with bulimia and low self-esteem for eight years. Now a devoted Santa Monica rider, she has lost 48 pounds — and found happiness and confidence she never had. Viviana shares her SOUL Transformation.  

For eight years, I had an on-and-off battle with bulimia. In high school, I played basketball and danced, but I always thought I wasn't good enough. My goal was always to be "thin" and after dieting, I would binge and gain it all back -- plus some more. It got worse in college. I would stress-eat or have huge binges, then take a nap. Or I’d plan my binges, then purge and promise myself I would starve for the next three days. It was such a bad cycle that I knew I had to turn my life around.

SOUL gave me the push I needed. This past June, a friend invited me to SoulCycle Santa Monica. I had not heard of it but I’d recently started exercising in an effort to lose weight so I thought, why not? I did not realize that SoulCycle would soon become a huge part of my life.

My first class was with Denis. I had a blast, and two days later I rode with Jenny Canales. I loved it and I saw a part of myself emerge that I never knew I had. I could tell it was the start of something great. A few days later — on my 20th birthday— I spent an amazing 45 minutes with Trice. Then and there, I knew SOUL was no longer just a workout, but rather a deeply emotional experience that I couldn’t describe.

Soon, I started discovering other instructors, including Sunny. I remember on our sprint "home" I started crying because I knew that the insecure and unsure teenager I had been for so long was beginning to vanish. My life was turning around. I would leave class feeling confident and happy. During our sprints "home" when the instructors would say such motivating things, I would always cry and think about how badly I needed to change my life.

About a month into my journey, I took a class with Heather. At the end, she shared the story of how she had once been 215 pounds, riding in the back row, just like I did. She inspired me so much, yet I always remained on bike #46 because I felt comfortable and I liked that no one could see me.

But my mom always said, "No one puts Vivi in the corner, not even Vivi." One morning in a class with Jenny, a few bikes opened up in front row and she asked if anyone wanted to move up. At first I thought, No way!, but something made me do it. And it was one of my best classes yet. I pushed myself to my limits and loved every minute of it. Even though I couldn't fully keep up with sprints, I knew I was getting stronger. That day I graduated from bike #46 to bike #4.

I started sharing a little bit of my story with instructors like Alba, who supported me so much and made me feel like I mattered. I also would read the Soul Blog and see other people’s transformation stories and it definitely motivated me! Alba encouraged me to share my story!

Each ride pushes me to my limits, and I get stronger both physically and mentally. Feeling the energy of other riders also gives me support and hope. When I get tired, I look at the person next to me pushing it hard, and that motivates me. I’ve also learned that eating right gives me so much more energy — whenever I have greens before class, I have this crazy hulk energy!

It’s been almost three months since I have started riding, and I have improved so much, not only physically but in my mind and soul. I have lost 48 pounds, dropped five pant sizes and have gone from barely being able to run to being able to beast three classes in one day. I have overcome my struggle with bulimia, and I have gained back that confidence and spark I always had, but didn't know how to unleash.

I always leave class smiling. Not only have the instructors inspired and supported me, but fellow riders and the beyond-amazing SOUL SaMo staff (especially Elane, Caitlin and Tara!) motivate me, too. I have become someone who has to reserve her bikes on Monday at noon and whenever I am listening to music I somehow find myself choreographing songs! More than 50 rides in, I have no intention of stopping. This is only the beginning of my journey. So thank you to everyone who has supported me on my Soul journey. I shall continue to tap it back! 

Have your own Soul Transformation to share? Email!

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