My story begins just over 2 years ago when at a size 18 and feeling sluggish, I began attending Zumba classes at the local gym twice a week. It was enjoyable but with my 2 left feet, lack of coordination and zero confidence, was a challenge to say the least! My spot was at the very back in the corner,(nicknamed smelly corner), never ventured any further.
On one particular day, my friends couldn't make it to class so I made the effort to go to alone. This was a big step for me as my confidence was so low that doing things on my own was a big issue. I got through the class and had a coffee with my Zumba instructor Clare, who told me all about "Kaboom". She invited me to her class that evening and I've never looked back.
My whole life has changed - The "Kaboom" family has been so welcoming, I have so many new friends these days. I've gone from a shy, quivering person who couldn't talk to anyone or do anything in front of others to a much more sociable, happy and fun existence.
No matter who you are when you walk through the door to your first "Kaboom" Zumba class, you'll be welcomed and feel comfortable instantly, whatever your shape, size or circumstance and your story will begin.......!!!!
I've lost 4 stone in the last year thanks to the love and support of everyone, and I'd like to say special thank you to Clare who has supported me, kicked my butt when I've needed it, (which was pretty often), and who has just been there through every step of my journey.
I want to share my story so far and hopefully prove you are never too big or too old to change your bad habits, get fitter and feel so much better on how others see you, I always felt judged because of my size.
I was once compared by a family member to Dawn French (when she was a bigger lady), he did mean my personality but didn’t realise how much that hurt me because I assumed her size, I needed to change!
My story starts in January 2014 when I first joined Slimming World led by one of my best friends Victoria. She inspired me as herself lost 5 stone and kept talking about a Zumba class she attended and loved. Like my friend I loved dancing and really wanted to try to but told her I will lose at least a stone first as I felt so self-conscious about my size. I was a size 22/24 at that time!
So decided a week later I would fight my demons and meet this Clare Gayler I had heard so much about. I remember I was nervous thinking I am going to be the biggest person there and totally unfit, I thought I will never keep up. So wearing my baggiest clothes I walked in. I was wrong! Clare introduced herself and straight away I realised this was not a “flashy gym” like places I had been to before. The room was full of people of different ages, size and fitness levels.
At the end of my first class I was sweating lots, muscles hurt but addicted. I took it at my own pace as Clare instructed but could not wait for my next class. I will be honest yes my muscles hurt the next day but I had gone from sitting on my back side to this.
As time went on my confidence grew and I went from the back of the class (back almost against the wall) to now near the front and sometimes go up on the stage with Clare and lead dances with her. Amazing for me because I would never have imagined back in January 2014 I could do that, knowing that people are watching and following your every move.
I now attend three Zumba classes per week and one toning session, which have all changed my body shape and contributed to my weight loss. But also as important is my mind set and how I see myself now. I had a total hang-up about my “bingo wing” arms, I would never leave my house without covering them, I had an array of bolero jackets in different colours (now all in the bin I add) I have lost about 4 inches off my arms and they are still loose but hey I am not as young as I used to be and now through my Zumba family I have the confidence in myself to not worry about them anymore.
I have had problems with my back for a number of years but my back is now stronger than it has been for years, I also recently had my over 40s health check and have been told my cholesterol count is low!
And if any future bride is looking for a reason to join us at Zumba, then be inspired by me in my Wedding dress recently. And now my confidence is sky high !!.
Through Zumba High I have made lots of new and fantastic friends, we also socialise outside the classroom and it feels great to be part of a fantastic team now.