HEALTHY LIVING
09/05/2011 01:40 am ET | Updated Nov 04, 2011

Healthy Eating And Zumba Classes Helped Natasha Lose 125 Pounds

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Name: Natasha Coleman

Age: 33

Height: 5’9"

How I Gained It: After the birth of my now 8-year-old twins I was more than 400 pounds. I assumed that my weight was just too far gone, so I hid behind makeup and colorful clothes and hoped nobody had noticed I gained more than 150 pounds since their arrival.

Breaking Point: I am and have always been very confident in myself and my appearance. In April 2010, I came back from a vacation in Mexico. When I stepped off the plane, I began thinking about the issues I had just experienced with getting my seat belt around me with an extender. I realized that I had to do something -- NOW -- before I developed health issues. Up to this point, my blood pressure and lab results have always been good, but I knew that would not last if I continued to live the life I was living of not exercising or watching the things I was eating.

How I Lost It: I started my lifestyle change by putting myself on a pretty tough and strict very low calorie diet. I lost 40 pounds, but realized that I could never live my life eating cabbage and baked chicken alone. It was just not realistic. I began to incorporate different foods back into my diet, but still sticking to limited eating out. I ate nothing fried, cut out diet sodas and bread, pasta and rice. My weight loss did slow down and I realized that with proper dieting and exercising, I could begin to feel better about myself. I began walking on the weekends and taking Zumba classes four days a week. I have always hated exercising but Zumba is more like dancing. Walking on the treadmill could get very boring, but Zumba is fun and it makes me feel like I am getting a great workout since I burn a lot of calories and sweat! I have since gone back to the gym doing 45 minutes on the elliptical and light weightlifting. I still attend my Zumba class at least two days a week. I have made exercise part of my daily routine. I have a growing family and I know they can’t do much without me -- if I don’t take care of myself, who will take care of my family? They now understand and support my new lifestyle.

I am currently down 125 pounds and I would like to lose an additional 60 pounds to finally get to my long term goal. I went from a super-size plus 36 to a normal size 16. Now, a size 16 may still be too big for most, but I am very comfortable at this size and am looking forward to reaching my final goal. I know with the proper diet and daily exercising, I will make it there! I thank God every day for how far I have come and for how far I am going to go.