Over the past three years we have gotten to know this inspiring person at annual conventions of organizations including the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), Obesity Help and Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA) – all of which are non-profits dedicated to supporting people affected by the disease of obesity by helping individuals along their journey toward better health through education, advocacy and support.
It wasn’t until this past May at the WLSFA conference in Nashville where we finally had the chance to hear this individual speak.
We were blown away by her enthusiasm to inspire others affected by obesity. All we could think was “WOW! We have got to share her insight with our readers!” Needless to say we are thrilled to introduce our very first guest blogger! We are so excited for you to gain insight from someone who truly knows what it takes to live a healthy, active and happy life while combating obesity.
Meet Pandora Williams
When Bari Life first approached me about writing for them I was super excited. I’ve been keeping my own blog at DesperatelySeekingSlender.com since before my weight loss surgery and anytime someone asks you to write for them is quite a compliment.
Sharing my story with others and helping others lose weight is a passion of mine. Several years ago that passion prompted me into a new career as a weight loss and wellness coach as well as a fitness instructor.
When I am not helping others lose weight by providing one on one weight loss coaching sessions, holding weight loss challenges, doing one on one training or instructing weight loss boot camp, (a small group personal training session that I designed especially for a population of people that are affected by obesity) you can usually find me lacing up my sneakers and squeezing in a run.
I am far from a fast runner
I average an 11-12 minute mile most days. I have been running since my father passed away a year into my weight loss journey and have found that it is a great way for me to deal with emotions that typically drive me to food. Exercise in general has served as an amazing alternative to emotional eating, and helps insure that my weight stays in my comfort zone during my weight maintenance.
Some people would say they run as a hobby. I run as a way of living. That sounds strange I know, but before I realized how much I loved to run I really would have defined myself more as a survivor. A survivor of sexual, verbal and emotional abuse as a child. As an adult, I am a survivor of obesity. And while I had survived, I really didn’t feel like I had started enjoying life or really started living it. Fitness, exercise and running have changed that for me.
My fitness journey started by just taking a few steps
In the months before my gastric bypass surgery when I needed to lose 100 lb. and get my Body Mass Index ( BMI ) under 60 before they would operate on me, I started walking on a treadmill. I could barely walk 20 minutes at a time and I started walking at 2.3 MPH pace. Even back then I realized that these numbers were something I could change. Something I could improve. Something I could use to help me motivate myself to to a little better each time.
Now, six years later, I have lost 260 pounds, run 28 half marathons (13.1 miles), 1 full marathon (26.2 miles) and currently run anywhere between a 5.0-6.0 mile per hour pace.
However, more dear to my heart than that accomplishment is the people I have trained to run their first 5k, 10k and even their first half marathons. Having the privilege of helping others cross the finish line for the first time have been some of the biggest highlights of my career as a fitness instructor and coach.
Tracking your exercise data and being able to look at it and compare where you’ve been to where you are now is not only a great way of tracking your progress, it’s also a good way of celebrating yourself and your accomplishments along your fitness journey. In fact, I think it’s almost as good as those side-by-side before and after photos so many of us have.
As a weight loss coach and motivation speaker one of my biggest goals is to help others recognize the tools that they have in their arsenal in the fight against obesity.
You’ll be hearing from me quite a bit as a guest blog writer for Bari Life. In the next six months I’ll be hitting on topics related to exercise, training and nutrition in regards to weight loss post-weight loss surgery.
We’ll also be talking quite a bit about running because I have quite the adventure ahead of me. BariLife is sending me to Paris to represent the Bariatric Community in the very first RunDisney Disneyland Paris Half Marathon in just 15 weeks and you get to follow me on this adventure!
We’ll be discussing my training plan and guess what? If you want to you can even train alongside me. I’ll be providing you guys with my 12 week training plan and all the tips you need to modify it if you wanted to take on your own half marathon.
I’m looking forward to getting to know all the BariLife blog readers and sharing some of the tips and tricks that I’ve gathered to get the results that I wanted out of my weight loss journey with you as I take you along with me on my Parisian running adventure.
Be watching for my blog next week (Click Here to Read it) where I’ll discuss base metabolic rate, total daily expenditure and my concept of the weight loss teeter totter.
Until then, Au revoir, BariLifers, I have some miles to put in.