For this months’ Strong and Empowered Women Series we talked with Shanna, a founding member from Delta Life Fitness – Lumberton in Texas. She has lost 25 pounds with the support of her instructors and fellow members. She cites that the accountability and support she gets is how she has lost so much weight and more importantly maintained her weight loss.
Keep reading to find out how Delta Life has supported and empowered her to become the best version of herself.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am 44 years old from Texas. I was born and raised here. I work at an organization called the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. We serve our three county areas down here in southeast Texas, and we work with cities and counties to help with programs as well as maintenance for the community.
Actually, right now, I am the director of the disaster recovery division. Currently we’re reconstructing or rehabilitating homes that were affected by hurricane Ike in 2008. We are in the process now, and getting close to finishing that up.
About 2 years ago, our HR Director decided to retire, and I thought that would be a great next step for me. The majority of the programs that we have here are all grant funded. Eventually when the money is gone, when we have built all that we can build then the program will no longer be funded. I thought this would be a good stepping stone, being the HR Director. It’s something different. I love people, I love to talk to people, dealing with people, and so I made that transition. It wasn’t really a transition. I applied for that position and got that position as well, so I am the HR director here as well. So I have double duty. I stay pretty busy.
I am married. I have a stepdaughter who is 24. She lives in Denton, so it’s just my husband and I here at the house. We have a dog and two cats. We just do our day to day thing.
How did you find out about Delta Life?
I saw an advertisement in the paper, and then I went the website. Our local newspaper had written an article on the gym opening so I looked on the website and saw that it was going to be right up the street from me. I had always wanted to do a boot camp, but I was a little intimidated by it.
At that time, I was working out at the gym, and I thought I was doing well. (Later I would realize how wrong I was). I went to the gym and would do 30 minutes on the treadmill and think I’m good. Then I would do 10 reps on this arm machine. Even while I was doing it, I felt good but it was nothing compared to what I’ve done with Delta Life Fitness. I wasn’t losing any weight before even though I was going to the gym.
Once you start Delta Life, it’s a whole new different world. My goal was to do Delta for 1 or 2 months maybe lose 10 pounds, get back on track and motivated, then go back to the local gym. But, I came in as an original founding member and I’m still here. It’s clearly working for me.
What has your experience been since joining Delta Life?
I have lost weight. I started around 164 pounds, and I’m sitting right now at about 140 to 145 pounds. So, I’ve lost close to 25 pounds, but the inches lost is what absolutely floors me. I had to get a new wardrobe, work clothes, casual, night clothes, everything. That actually motivates me to keep at it because I’ll be honest with you everybody goes through a rough spot. I feel like when I was getting my most returns, I was doing the paleo diet very strict, I was in the gym 5 to 6 days a week and I was also running as well.
Lately, I’ve kind of came off the paleo a little bit and I was laughing with one of my friends the other day because she wrote a post about how she decided to eat cheese again and she’s gained 3 pounds. So, I’m like oh my God, I’ve been eating cheese too, and I just feel bloated and I don’t feel like I did a year ago. I know exactly what the answer is. I know exactly what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to go back to that strict lifestyle.
If I lived by myself, it would be one thing. I think I have come to terms with the human element of this as well. Yes, I can be strict, but I also understand there is a middle ground. I think I’m sitting in the middle ground right now. Have I seen some differences? Yes. Because of my nutrition I have put an inch on my waist and the hips the last time I measured. I know what to do. I’ve got the tools now. It’s up to me to get back and find where my middle ground is with the help of Delta Life Fitness.
Have you always had struggled with your weight?
I have struggled because I always wanted to be thinner. I’m short, 5’4” and stocky. I’m now 140-145 pounds. I look back at 164 and thought I looked ok, I can lose 5 pounds. Looking back now, I’m like oh my gosh. I don’t think you realize until you get to a place where you want to be, just the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look at it thinking I looked horrible because it’s not really about that at the end of the day. But my mindset back then was different. I would think I can eat what I want to eat because I’m at the gym.
Do you still struggle with food?
I wish I was one of those people that sees food as fuel and nothing more but that’s not the case. I think I have a love affair with food. The smell, the taste. I used to eat for taste a lot of the time. You know when you get to that point when you are full but being raised with the ‘if it’s on your plate you eat it’ mentality, I just want more of it. That’s the constant struggle.
What has Delta Life Fitness taught you about nutrition?
I’ve learned the 80/20 approach, and you cannot out exercise a bad diet. I used to think I can go out and eat Chinese for lunch and eat a big plate at dinner and think I worked out so I’ll be ok. It doesn’t work that way.
How as the nutrition program at Delta Life helped you?
When I first walked in and I got the recipe book, that initially intimidated me. I went to the store and thought what is this coconut milk and special flour? What is all this? I tried some of the recipes and some were overpowering for me. So what I did was take some of the basic premise of the recipes and talked with the instructors. I put together my own meal plan that works for me. It works with my schedule. I will prep on Sunday.
This is something else I would tell someone new as far as your nutrition goes. If you take the time in the weekend to prep you are so far ahead of the game during the week. There is beauty in opening your refrigerator door in the morning and pulling out your breakfast, your snack and your lunch.
If I’m tempted to go out, well I think, it took you 3 hours on Sunday to prep, don’t waste it. That helps keep me stay on track. Delta Life gave me the tools, the nutrition plan, and I adapted it to what works for me. Instead of making a big batch of this and that I decide what I want to eat during the week. I usually do a meat and two vegetables. It repeats itself throughout the week but I do mix it up.
For accountability, if you are posting in the Facebook group it makes a difference. That’s one thing that helped me from the start is the posting. You want to be proud of what you eat, you want to share what is working for you. The whole purpose is to help people out.
This perceive idea that food prep is hard. In my head, food prepping is like leftovers. You have the food there, why not eat it? It’s wasteful to go to a fast food restaurant because I have food prepped and now I just bought more food. A lot of time the real reason we just give into that craving is because we don’t have food ready.
The beauty is your food is there ready. I feel lost when it’s not there, like somethings missing. I have gotten in such a routine with it. I don’t know what to do if it’s not there other than going to Whataburger. It’s part of my lifestyle now. But there are some week where there’s something going on in the weekend that affect my prep and I’m not really a partial prepper, I either prep or I don’t but I feel like even this week, I have bars or my other go-to is tortilla with banana and almond butter, but that takes 5 extra minutes in the morning to get what I need and get it packed up and I honestly feel lost when I’m off my routine.
How has Delta Life supported you in your struggles?
Part of the deal with Delta Life Fitness is the support system. When you walk in there you have your group of friends you are close to but you are also friends with everybody else. I was talking to a lady in another class last night. We stopped to talk about, and I said something about having Cheetos at 10:30 am and she said, “Don’t worry, I had Cheetos at lunch”. I didn’t feel so bad after that.
I try to move on after I make those decisions that I know I shouldn’t have made, but it helps to know you are not alone. Everybody has these same exact struggles; it almost makes you feel human again. You are relating to other people. The struggle is real for everybody.
The teambuilding is awesome too. At the end of the class, we will high five sweaty hands. The workout is done. There is something about that. For me in particular, it’s like a solidarity thing. It’s like a “we did this”, “we’ve got this”, “good job”. It doesn’t matter if you had to modify everything on the wall or you did everything un-modified. The fact you are there is the most important thing. You have taken the time to be there and are trying to make a difference.
What made you take action?
I think because it was something different being a women’s only gym. It was not a traditional gym setting. Basically, that it was going to be normal women who want to make a change. I think sometimes, at least in my mind, when I think of the gym I see people who are there all the time, this is what they do. I just got the feeling that Delta Life was going to be normal women who want to lose weight and again it turned out to be fun. I guess that was one of my biggest surprises. I never felt like going to the gym was fun but Delta Life is fun. I now look forward to going.
It’s knowing that you are going to be successful there. It’s built on a premise that you are going to be successful. You get through the workout. You get it done and there are people there who are supporting you every step of the way regardless of your skill level. There is always someone there to help you through it and coach you.
You are on a journey with these other women. It’s something special. I wish there was one word to describe it. It’s a feeling. I think the one word I would use to describe it is empowering. It empowers you to take the reigns. Being at Delta Life will not necessarily make you lose weight, but if you use the tools given to you, it’s going to happen. If you push yourself, if you follow the program you will lose weight. The program makes you want to take control of where you want to go because it really is all in your hands.
How is Delta Life different?
Honestly, I don’t really think about a number on the scale. In a sense, when I walked in those doors, yes I wanted to lose weight and tone up and build some muscles. It was about the end results and now it’s about so many other things.
It’s almost more social. Don’t get me wrong, I do want results, and I work my tail off but I’m around women. When I would go to the local gym, I would never have gone to a group class to save my life. I was going to do this by myself and do what I wanted to do and that’s that. Part of that was the intimidation factor, feeling like I’m going to get in there and look stupid and people are going to judge me.
Everything I saw on Delta Life’s website told me that this was going to be different than a normal gym. Behold, I show up and it is different. It doesn’t matter if you are walking in at 162 pounds or 262 pounds or 362 pounds. It just doesn’t matter. I have done partner workouts with different women and everybody’s skills are different. Some women who may be in our facility and you would think they can’t do anything, have worked me harder than women that are shaped like me.
It’s unbelievable. It’s a very eye-opening and humbling experience.
What do you like most about Delta Life fitness? What has made the biggest impact on you?
I think for me the support is the biggest piece. You know if you are struggling, and everybody has a bad day, there’s somebody there that says “come on, let do this, you’ve got this, just a few more minutes”. It really is that support. Its also fun. It’s grueling, but its fun. It goes by quick.
What tips would you give other women who are thinking about joining?
You do have to recognize that it is hard. It is a struggle. You are doing this for you. Recognize that everyone that’s in there have their reasons why they are there. Some people walk in and see women who have had great results, and think I’m never going to look like that.
Yes, you can.
Talk to the women that are there. Find out what their journey has been because everybody is on a different journey. Looking back, I feel I have come a long way but I worked for it. There have been times it has been a struggle to get here.
You don’t necessarily have to think about what your end result is going to be because for some women you have to set short term goals first. You will be surprised when you make it to that short term goal. It can be losing 5 pounds this month or so many inches, adding weights to your squats or trying to not modify my workout. If you look at the brag board, it’s unbelievable what women are doing. We get so excited when someone says “I did one unmodified pushup”.
That’s a success. It’s not a minimal success, it’s huge!
I go back to the support at Delta Life. Somebody completes something and the whole class is cheering because it’s a big deal for that person. No accomplishment is too small. You don’t have to do major things to get there. You don’t have to lose 20 pounds to be proud of yourself. You can lose 2 pounds and everyone is as proud of you as if you lost 20.
It’s something special.
How do you feel Delta Life has made you stronger both mentally and physically?
I think physically the workouts have made me stronger. The accountability, the doing the best you can and the overall attitude has helped me mentally. They are not in your face yelling but Delta Life is pushing you to do the best you can do. They will push you past the point you think you can go. Which is extremely helpful because sometimes you get to that wall where you think you can’t do it anymore but when you have somebody in your ear telling you “come on, just do 2 more” ,”come on there’s 10 seconds left”. You just do it. It’s not an aggressive way but you are push to do better than what your mind think you can. Your mind will be the brick wall every single time, unless you have an injury or something wrong, your mind is going to stop you before your body will.
Have you gained strength since joining Delta Life versus that other gym?
I’m the type of person that will push myself harder than I think I can. I’ll look at the row of kettlebells and I want to say when I went in, I started with the one below the pink and then I pushed myself for a while with the pink. There are times, an instructor will come by and they can tell because of my form, I’m struggling and I need to get a smaller weight. I remember starting with the pink, and then the blue and then not too long ago we got the 35-pound kettlebell, so I’m working with that now.
I consider myself as short and stocky and yeah you want to be skinny or thin because that’s what society dictates is correct, which I don’t agree with. That being said, I have always been more interested in being strong. Just because I like to do things. I like to help carry things, move stuff. I heard it a few times that because I’m a girl, I shouldn’t do that.
I want to be strong and contribute in ways other than the traditional ways women have I guess you would say. I love being strong and being able to something that people think I can’t do, just to prove I can. There’s nothing wrong with doing girly things, but I want to be able to do guys things too.
I think it comes down to accomplishment. We all want to feel accomplished. It doesn’t matter how big or small the accomplishment is because sometimes the small accomplishment means more than the big ones. I have always been fairly active growing up, but I was always a chubby kid. A lot of that was comparing myself to kids who were around. Even in elementary school or middle school, there’s always the ideal of what you are supposed to look like.
I love the fact that that ideal has been shattered because 99% of the population is not the ideal. Where does this ideal come from? I think there’s a new movement going towards normal people can be strong and do great things. Some people joined Delta Life just to lose weight. When I first went in that was my goal. If you are just there to lose weight that’s fine but for me it has turned into something so much more. I am here to get more powerful and stronger. I am here to improve my life to the point where I want it to be. That’s kind of the new wave now. 20 years ago, if you saw a muscular woman, not even a bodybuilder but a regular muscular woman that was frowned upon. It was like, why is she trying to be a man? It’s not about trying to be a man. It’s about trying to be the best you can be.
How has Delta Life changed your perception of what it means to “go to the gym”?
One difference is the participation in the accountability group. One thing I try to do is to post something in the group to empower, just 2 or 3 days a week. I come across things and think that fits Delta Life so much. You don’t know what other women are going through. Somebody might have had a terrible day, and you can change that by just being nice to them in the group. Women come from other class times and you bond with them through the accountability group.
There are some people that have been through some pretty bad stuff and something will get posted in Facebook group that helps them. It can be as small as I’m thinking about this person right now and you will see responses like “I’m praying for you, you’ve got this, come through this”.
It’s a unique kind of deal I didn’t expect it to be. I expected to come in and slam some ropes, lift some weights, and go home. That was so far from the truth of how this turned out to be.
Delta Life Fitness is like it’s own little world. It’s a good world to be in.
It’s a family.
Are you finding it difficult to lose weight? Are you sick of doing it all on your own? Are you interested in the accountability and support Shanna talked about?
Delta Life Fitness is here to help. Click below for your free 5 day trial. It gives you a chance to check out your local Delta Life Fitness and see how it can change your life. Don’t wait for even one more second, click now and you too can be a part of the Delta Life family.
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