Jackie Shaheed Lost Nearly 200 Pounds And Started Her Own Fitness Business

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Name: Jackie Shaheed
Age: 42
Height: 5'7"
Before Weight: 375 pounds

How I Gained It: I struggled with weight my entire life. I had always been overweight and tried every single diet and exercise program that came my way. I ate out a lot, and I ate a lot of processed foods and sweets.

Breaking Point: After having my third daughter and reaching an all-time high of 375 pounds, I was afraid I would die of a heart attack as my father did when I was a little girl if I didn't take massive action.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was told I had to wear a mask at night to help with the flow of air to my brain. One fitting of that machine and I was in tears. I knew the sleep apnea had to do with my weight. I was always the type of person to start the diet Monday and never follow through for very long. However this time, something clicked! Whether it was wearing that mask, or the fact that I couldn't get off the coach to play with my kids, I knew if I didn't do something I wouldn't be around to see my girls grow up.

How I Lost It: I started my journey by joining a gym that offered personal training. I not only joined the gym but committed to a year's contract of personal training. Talk about an expensive visit! I also went to a nutritionist and went back to Weight Watchers.

Within a year's time, I had dropped 100 pounds and was feeling great, but still had an additional 100 pounds to drop! The problem at this point was that I was bored with the traditional machines, weights and exercise routine at the gym. My trainer -- who had become my friend and mentor -- encouraged me to join a gym that offered different types of fitness classes. My very first day I tried a Zumba class. It was love at first dance! I could not believe the energy in the room, the moves that spiked my heart rate and the amount of sweat I left in that room!

Within a few short months I had become a Zumba "addict" and took Zumba seven days a week, twice a day if possible! I had dropped the next 100 pounds with Zumba in a year! I loved it so much and was encouraged by my classmates to get certified to teach. So I took the plunge and became certified in February 2009.

Sharing my transformation with my students and seeing what it has done for their motivation encouraged me to share my Zumba story with the Z-Life magazine (a Zumba publication). The next thing I knew, I received a call that a big talk show was interested in my story! In my wildest dreams I never thought the talk show was the one and only Oprah Winfrey Show!

I was invited to be part of the show for her final weight loss episode! On May 10, 2011, I shed my old clothes on the Oprah Winfrey Show and was part of the most amazing experience I have ever had in my weight loss journey! I even left my corporate job to start my own FitZone and FitPalz businesses, so that I can share my passion for helping others lose weight and feel great!

After Weight: 183 pounds
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The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers.

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