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Introducing Coach Pandora! Heres to a new us Slender Seekers

30e6a8b80c6a11e2ab4c22000a1d0350_7About two years ago around this time, I had decided that I wanted to become a personal trainer. I knew I wasn’t anywhere near ready yet, I had a lot to do in my own journey still, but my goal was to get my ISSA Certification and be ready as soon as my body was.

As I started 2012 I had a goal of having several bouts of reconstructive plastic surgery after having lost 260 lb, during my own weight loss journey and I had one of my best friends in the entire world moving in with me to help see me through it. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that three rounds of plastic surgery would take so much out of me.

My plans changed along the way a little. I became more focused on getting through the plastic surgeries and the weeks and weeks of healing that came after each one, and I became passionate about blogging about my weight loss journey and the experience of reconstructive plastic surgery because I didn’t really feel like there were enough people out there doing it.

a868851aa37c11e2934e22000aa800af_7Last year I started 2013 with the same goal, to become a personal trainer and an additional goal to start my own business. In March I started that journey by taking the Personal Trainer Education course at the Cooper Institute. – As much as I thought I would take that class, take the test, ace it, and move on with my dreams, things changed a little when a fourth and final round of reconstructive plastics took precedent in July and the year really became a time of personal growth for me when it came to the mind and wellness part of my journey. In June of I returned to Cooper Institute to take some additional courses in Coaching Healthy Behaviors and Weight Management Strategies because I wanted more education and training under my belt to start my career with.

The truth was, I was intimidated by the Personal Trainers course. I love cardio, but strength and toning and resistance training had been a big missing piece of my fitness profile because I love to run so much and I love cardio so much that when I get out there and I want to exercise, that’s what I want to do. I felt inept when it came to this aspect of fitness and I didn’t know how to get around it. It started holding me back; a lot.

I also realized quickly that perhaps the best thing I could do, was to get a job in the fitness world that would allow me to get some experience under my belt in a gym environment while I worked on these very things myself but still allowed me to do what I am most passionate about doing, helping others achieve their weight loss goals. I started applying at gyms and looking for a place I would fit in.

In October of last year, a visit to my family & friends took me out to North Carolina and suddenly, just like that, things started falling into place for me. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Brian Autry, Personal Trainer and Co-Owner of the Wilmington Ladies Fitness Gym located on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington. Together he and his wife Krista Autry, have been working at getting women the results they are looking for through fitness and exercise for over 10 years.

slide-1.1I feel in love with their club right away. One of my biggest reasons for wanting to help other people with their weight loss journey was that I felt there was a gap in the industry were the comfort of people of size was concerned. When it comes to those of us that have suffered with morbid obesity and have the daunting task of losing over 100 lb., being in a gym can be a very intimidating place. I wanted to create a situation and a program where I could get people exercising in environments that they are comfortable in, be that a back yard, a space in their house, or a private gym. That was the ultimate goal.  Suddenly there I was, talking to Brian about what I wanted to do and how passionate I was about doing it and as I looked around the women’s only gym, I thought to myself “This would be the perfect environment to work in, most of the women I know would be so much more comfortable in a women’s only facility, and it’s very obvious that the club is a positive and welcoming place for women of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels.”

1f3948b8694411e3b28012d40f8b39a1_8Within the next two months, after a few conversations with Brian, I’m excited to announce that this is where the next chapter of my journey is taking me. As of February, I’ll be taking a dual position and joining the Wilmington Ladies Fitness team as a Membership Service Manager and a Weight Management Program Lead where I will be developing a weight management program for women that have 50, 100 pounds or more to lose and working as a Wellness & Weight Management Coach consulting with members on nutrition, exercise programming and lifestyle changes for effective weight loss.

And while I am at it I will be continuing to work on my own fitness goals of making resistance and strength training a big priority in my life and continuing to work on obtaining my personal trainers certification, at which point, I’ll also start working as a personal trainer at Wilmington Ladies Fitness.

I am so excited about taking this job, so thrilled about being a part of their team, and just bursting with enthusiasm at the thought of how many people’s lives I am about to be able to touch through this opportunity.

bariatric-foodie150I started 2013 with so many goals and so many aspirations and I made a lot of them happen, not all, but a lot. I think my dear friend Nikki Massie (Bariatric Foodie) said it best in a Facebook post she made on New Year’s Eve; 2013 was “a healing year that also brought some unexpected new beginnings.” I love the way this woman thinks, if you don’t follow her blog you should, she’s an icon of the Bariatric Community when it comes to all things food oriented.

And now, it’s time for this Wellness & Weight Management Coach to get to packing, I have a two more weeks of half-marathon training for the Tinker Bell half-marathon weekend, a cross-country road trip, a new fitness focus and a new job to get kicked into gear and only a month or so to do it. It’s the second day of 2014 and I’ve got the beginning of a lot of new chapters started. Now it’s time to write the story Slender Seekers, now, it’s time to rise.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Celebrating Our Weight Loss Journeys – Do The Slender

1175659_10201206136427476_1515660317_nJust four months ago this bariatric fitness guru was in Phoenix with some fellow Weight Loss Surgery Patients at the Second Annual Your Weight Matters Convention put on by the Obesity Action Coalition. We were getting ready to start the Walk from Obesity put on by the ASMBS and I was on a scooter because I wasn’t allowed to exercise after just having my fourth round of reconstructive plastic surgery.

It had become a tradition for me to throw my hands in the air in pictures. People ask me how it started; it’s really a simple thing. As I started getting involved in the Weight Loss community by means of social media I saw that lots of folks posted their successes and achievements and I wanted a way to cheer them on. So, I started posting this symbol – \O/ –DssButton2FB2-150x150

You might notice that the logo for Desperately Seeking Slender includes a little stick figure throwing their arms in the air in this manner.  It was my way of saying…

“Yay! Go you! You’re doing a great job!”

Soon I started taking photos in the same pose as that little stick figure and let’s be honest, they haven’t all been flattering. But they were all fun, and they were my way of celebrating not only my weight loss journey but that of my blog readers.

You’ll often seem me throw that \O/ behind a comment on a post where I want to celebrate someone’s success, cheer them on and give them a “Way to go.” – It’s like a virtual cheer, a Pandora high-five. Every once in a while if I’m really feeling the need to cheer you’ll even see me throw some pom poms up there and the symbol looks like this @\O/@

Back in August at the OAC Convention I had just had a brachioplasty and my arms got sore very easily. Knowing this, one of the more predominant bloggers in the WLS community looked over at me and asked “Do you need us to do the Slender for you?” The Slender! She called it the Slender, and in that moment, I was so excited. “The Slender,” I have no idea why someone giving it a name felt like such an accomplishment to me but it did. It validated it for me in a new way; it made it something that was a recognized aspect of something I have worked hard to bring to the community.

The Slender; is something that motivates the heck out of me. Every time I get my fellow obesity fighters to throw their hands up in the air I feel that passion in me to help others with their weight loss journeys burning inside me.

It’s Motivational Monday and I thought I’d share with you something that motivates me. Here are a few great shots of some Slender Seekers doing the Slender. Thank you all for motivating me to motivate you.

If you’re not featured in the above photos, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I just means I don’t have a good shot of you doing the Slender. We can fix that! Feel free to throw your hands in the air and have someone snap a photo and post it on the Desperately Seeking Slender Facebook Page so that I can add it to my collection.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and a Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is the ONLY non-profit organization whose sole focus is representing individuals affected by obesity. If you are affected by obesity or care for individuals affected, I ask that you join the OAC today and help us strengthen our voice. Together we DO make a difference.

I am a proud Member, Trained Advocate and Supporter of the OAC

 

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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