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SOUL WELLNESS

SOUL Transformation: How Instructor LOVE Lost Over 70 Pounds

efore becoming a SoulCycle instructor, LOVE constantly struggled with her weight. Now 70 pounds lighter, she shares the story of how she slimmed down and gained confidence.


Growing up in the South, I was always overweight, due mostly to genetics and eating lots of fried and fast food. I attempted several diets through high school, but nothing seemed to work, even though I was an athlete and exercised regularly.


Once I moved to New York City for college, my day-to-day activity level increased, especially since I wasn't able to hop into a car and drive myself everywhere. So I started losing weight before I even decided or realized I could do it. I was studying theater, and my musical theater studio required three hours of dance classes three days a week. For some reason dance, unlike twice-daily volleyball practices in high school, really had an effect on my weight. By the end of my first semester, I'd lost the 'Freshman Fifteen' that most people gain.


But I still dabbled in many different types of diet plans: Counting calories, counting carbs, low-carb diets, no carb diets, high protein diets, no-sugar diets, small meals throughout the day and even a stint on a plan that required only one meal a day -- I stuck with that for three-quarters of a year. You name it, I've tried it.


I always looked at my nutrition as a learning experience. I wouldn't just jump on any diet. I would research all aspects of it and what it did to the body on a micronutrient and hormonal level. I don't believe there's one way for everyone. Every body (physically, genetically, psychologically) is different and everyone's lifestyle is different. In the end, the only thing that worked for me were the plans that fit into my life and gave me the energy I needed to do the things that I love.


I also started thinking about consistency and balance when it came to my workouts, so I focused on only doing exercises and routines that I really enjoyed and would stick to: different kinds of dance, running, lifting weights. I became very interested in health and fitness, and eventually I started studying to be a personal trainer. By my junior year I had already lost 50 pounds. I definitely wasn't at my goal weight, but it was empowering to know that for the first time in my life, I had control over my weight. Knowledge was power.


Along with doing workouts I love, I definitely changed the way I ate. Lunch used to be a sandwich on white bread with the works: lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, etc. plus large side portions: chips, french fries, or anything starchy. Now I have a salad or a chicken wrap that I usually split into two "snacks", and I usually have a piece of fruit as a side. I also love mashed avocado as a dip for veggies or mixed into a salad. And I usually have an apple, snack bag of almonds and boiled eggs thrown in my gym bag. They travel well and are a great snack if I don't have time to sit and eat a meal. Since I'm so active through out the day, I never like to feel full. It's no fun hopping on the bike with a stomach full of food.

Which brings me to SoulCycle. A year ago, Marvin Foster Jr. invited me to his class. I had never ridden at SoulCycle before, but the second the lights went low and the music started, I fell in love. It was the perfect combination of everything that had motivated me through my weight loss journey. Cardio, strength, dancing, weight training, yoga... the list goes on and on, but the best part was the Soul community. From the second you walk into a studio to the moment you leave, you’re surrounded by people, images and words that motivate you to be a better person. SoulCycle isn't just a very effective total body workout, and it's not just a job to me. It's a way of life.


My grand total weight loss to date is 70 pounds, but I can't say that I am at my optimal weight. Am I healthy? Yes. Am I strong? You better believe it, but I don't do what I do for a number. I do it for a feeling. Working out makes me feel good. Period. It makes my body feel good, and it definitely helps my mind and self-esteem.


SoulCycle gives me all of those good feelings I love about being fit. I get to dance on the bike, I get stronger on the bike, and the bike continues to change my body and challenge my mind and SOUL.


Catch Love's classes at Soul E63 and Soul Tribeca. Got a Soul Transformation to share? Email SOULlife@soul-cycle.com!


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