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JOEY: Hi Priscilla. Thanks so much for doing this interview. I just know some people are dying to hear your story. Youíve lost 40 pounds and 10% body fat. That is such a huge accomplishment and I am so proud of you. I see you working so hard in the gym and I know you do Aqua Aerobics also. Your motivation truly inspires me and I hope other women read this interview and become inspired also. Why donít we start by you talking a little bit about yourself?

Priscilla Before
PRISCILLA: Well - I am 47 years old Ė soon to be 48 in a week! I am married with a teenage daughter and IĎve worked in a retirement community for 12 years. Iíve been watching my weight forever it seems. I grew up with 4 brothers who were always teasing me and I took everything they said to heart. I wasnít ever really that heavy but I saw my self that way. I gained weight when my daughter was born but I lost it within a year or 2. But then it came back on and I couldnít seem to get the weight off or if I did, I would quit a few weeks into the program. I couldnít understand why I was hardly eating anything some days and I still continued to gain on the scale. I decided to call you for help in the hopes that you could change things for me.

JOEY: I am willing to bet you were surprised when I told you that working with a personal trainer will help but typically you wonít lose much weight! Particularly women over 40. Of course, now you know that working out is only part of the prescription for losing fat - that you could work out every day of your life and still not lose a great deal of weight/fat. I always get a laugh when I tell new clients that. Of course, I clarify it with a talk about the real work being done at home, changing the way you eat. I think I say this several times a day - you canít out train a bad diet! Obviously Ė you understand that concept now.

So, when you first came to me in early 2007, you weighed 199 pounds. The thing that impressed me about you was that you seemed determined to lose weight and you were hoping that working with a personal trainer would be the ticket. I remember thinking that you might make a good before/after client and I asked you if you were willing to put a ďbeforeĒ shot in one of my ads and then thru the months, my website and ads would follow your weight loss journey. In retrospect, that was a HUGE request on my part and an even bigger risk on yours. I think I freaked you out, but a few days later you called me and said, ďLetís do it!Ē I think I was right about your motivation. Unfortunately, shortly after you started working with me, you took a fall and injured your back.

I know you had a difficult time recovering from that injury but about a year later, you called me and said you were ready to start working out again. I was completely shocked when you walked in the door because you had dropped a considerable amount of weight and you actually looked like a different person to me. At that point, how much weight had you lost and how did you do it?

PRISCILLA: I believe I had lost about 20 pounds at that point. I had been following Weight Watchers for about 5 months when I started back with you. I also was doing Aqua Aerobics.

JOEY: Why was this, finally the point in your life where you realized, ďIím really going to do it this timeĒ? How motivating was that? What made you, after so many failed attempts to lose weight permanently, finally do it for good this time? What was the spark, the impetus, the "aha" moment that told you this time would be different than before?

PRISCILLA: My health is very important to me and I have a Mom who is going to be 75 in a few weeks and she works out 5-6 days a week! She always had problems with her weight but at the age of 50, she started really taking care of herself and now she feels great. I think that had a lot to do with my state of mind and motivation before the back injury. After I injured my back, the recovery took a really long time. It began to sink in that I truly needed to lose weight to help me recover from my injury, that I needed to strengthen my back and get healthier or I might very well be in pain for the rest of my life. I knew I couldnít fail this time because I was heading to 50 and if I didnít start taking better care of myself, I could be in big trouble Ė health wise. So I think I succeeded this time because of my health concerns and my Mom as an inspiration.

JOEY: Your health is a pretty good reason. Interesting that it wasnít about what you looked like anymore, but about your health. If more people started thinking that way, maybe it would be more of a motivation. To what do you credit most for your weight loss? Changing eating habits? Exercise? Change in thinking? Something else?

Priscilla After!
PRISCILLA: I definitely think following Weight Watchers was instrumental in changing the way that I eat. And as youíve said, itís all about the food. You always told me that clean eating would take care of losing the fat and that working out would re-shape my body and that is exactly what happened. I did the Aqua Aerobics to burn some extra calories and I started strength training with you again and lost another 20 pounds. I think the strength training is what really changed my shape. Building muscle has leaned out my whole body. I feel like I look fitter and I am better proportioned. My lower body is so much smaller. Iíve lost weight before but never looked like this!

JOEY: Exercise was and is a major part of your weight loss success and you give it proper credence along with the changes in your diet for helping you reach your goals. What exactly do you do for an exercise routine?

PRISCILLA: I strength train at your gym 2-3 times a week and I do Aqua Aerobics twice a week. For anyone that has never done one of your strength classes, they are great. I love the way you mix it up Ė some days doing all dumbbell work, other days doing circuits both with weights and utilizing body weight. I also like that you do at least one day of strength training that incorporates high intensity intervals in between strength moves. I feel like I am getting that 3rd cardio day in the same amt of time Iím strength training so itís more bang for my buck, so to speak. The fact that the classes are always less than 8 people is great too because you are always watching us. I donít know how you do it, but you are always fixing my form or giving me a modification for the exercise so I donít hurt my back. And you do this with everyone in the class. Itís great!

JOEY: Thanks for the compliments! I absolutely love what I do so I think that helps make me a better trainer. I just love the energy I get from the group setting. But back to you, my readers will be especially interested in hearing that you did Weight Watchers to gain control of your eating. As you know, I donít necessarily promote any specific diet plan since we are all different and must find our own path Ė that people should find the plan that works for them, follow that plan as prescribed, and then keep doing that plan for the rest of their life. What led you to try Weight Watchers and why do you feel this is a diet that "is as good a place as any" for people to begin with?

PRISCILLA: First of all, I never use the word DIET. The first 3 letters spell DIE Ė need I say more? I call my new eating habits ďa healthy life style changeĒ. I plan to eat this way for the rest of my life. I was never one to try all the fad diets but I had tried Weight Watchers several times before and always gained back the weight I had lost. But I like Weight Watchers specifically because there are no restrictions on the type of food you can or canít eat. Itís portion control more than anything else. So this worked for me. But the thing is, I was never working out before so that really changed everything. I watch my portions carefully but I know that my strength workouts keep muscle on my body and you have always told me that muscle burns more calories daily than fat. So I think that really helps when I over indulge. And the intervals we do during your classes and the Aqua Aerobics I do twice a week burn more calories, so I think the combination helps keep the weight at bay.

JOEY: What tips would you offer someone trying to lose a significant amount of weight like you have lost?

PRISCILLA: You really have to clean up your diet. I fill myself up with lots of veggies and fruit with all my meals and I also drink a lot of water. I still have my favorite foods but just in smaller quantities. If I over eat, I feel so uncomfortable and if I have overindulged, I always start right back up with the clean eating the very next day. I also recommend that anyone who wants to lose weight should definitely start weight training. It changes everything about you. I had to start all over again after my injury and you were right there Ė telling me to take it slow, that I could do this. With your guidance and praise, here I am 40 pounds lighter! I havenít felt this good for many years. I am a better woman today, knowing and working with you. I have my confidence back and I am so happy! I love telling my story to people and letting them know that they can do it too if they just take small steps. I tell people to start off with a goal of about 5 pounds a month and by the end of the month you will probably have lost more that that. I never deprive myself of any of my favorite foods. I just eat smaller portions. When I work out in your strength classes, I work harder than I could ever imagine doing on my own. You just push us so hard but itís all great. I definitely recommend working with a trainer.

JOEY: What is it that keeps you motivated and energized to exercise especially on the days when all you really want to do is crawl back in bed or plop down on the couch watching television eating bon-bons?

PRISCILLA: Looking at my BEFORE picture!! I canít believe I EVER looked like that!

JOEY: Did you have any stalls along the way and what did you do to keep your head in the game when that happened? Did you change anything about your routine from the norm?

PRISCILLA: Believe it or not, when my weight loss stalled, I ate more! I think I needed more protein. You always say that most people donít eat enough rather than too much and itís true. I used to starve myself and could never figure out why I wasnít losing fat. I also exercised more when I plateauíd in my weight loss. I think that helps to break the cycle.

JOEY: How do people that have not seen you since your weight loss, react to you when they see you?

PRISCILLA: My brothers saw me over the Christmas holiday and they couldnít believe it was me! And my 34 year old nephew said I really looked HOT!! It was so great to see them and hear their kind words. My mother still does not know how much weight Iíve lost since this summer and how hard Iím working with you, so I canít wait for her to see me.

JOEY: Do you worry about gaining back some of the lost pounds?

PRISCILLA: Oh - definitely. So I keep on doing what I do. I cheated through the holidays but I didnít pig out. I definitely had more chocolate! I donít know if I gained weight but I know I will definitely get back to the clean eating and the exercise come January 2nd!

JOEY: How do you stick with it day in and day out? Any advice?

PRISCILLA: That BEFORE picture! The one thing I advise people to do is drink lots of water. I try to drink 30 oz. while working out and an additional 50 oz. during the rest of the day. Itís great for every part of your body Ė especially your skin!

JOEY: What are some of your fitness goals for the future?

PRISCILLA: I definitely want to maintain my weight loss and maybe even lose a bit more. So I plan to keep eating clean, smaller portions. I try to eat 5 times a day Ė 3 meals and 2 snacks - so I plan to continue doing that. I also plan to stay with you, strength training at The Fitness Connection. I want to up my strength training to 3 days a week so I plan to take a Saturday morning class with you in addition to my regular Tuesday/Thursday schedule. I also plan to continue the Aqua Aerobics. I really want to start seeing some muscle definition. I know the muscles are there, I just need to uncover them and continue working on getting rid of that last layer of fat covering some of my muscles. My hope is that clean food and a little more strength training with you guiding me, will get me to my goals.

JOEY: I really look forward to continuing to work with you, Priscilla. Thanks you so much for doing this interview with me. Your journey has inspired me and I think it will inspire others to work on changing their bodies. My goal is to make women feel better about themselves by helping them to lose weight - guiding them through the process. I am so happy that you feel so great about yourself and I am so grateful to have you for a client. Keep up the great work and I will see you in the gym!
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