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Tinker Bell Half Marathon Celebrating a win against Obesity

33e684b278ce11e3bea312e473e15c6c_8It’s 5am on Saturday and I wish I could say that I had a relaxing day ahead of me or that I wasn’t the type of person that gets stressed out about packing. Both would be falsities.  I’m the type of person that normally stresses out packing for a week-long or two-week vacation, let alone a convention, and this time, I am packing for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend and my move to North Carolina to take a new job as a Weight Loss Program Leader and Membership Sales Manager.

Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as I leave OR with Heather and one of my Jack Russell Terriers, Manny, and start making my way to these next two big milestones.

Boxes have been packed, some have been shipped, some will be going with me in the car, but the suitcase of what I will have available to me over the next few weeks is still looming over my head this morning, as is taking down and packing up my desktop computer.

“Second star to the right and straight on ‘till morning.”

Heather is the type of person that can pack a suitcase in 15-20 minutes and never worry that she’s forgotten anything important. Me, I’m worse than Santa Claus, making a list, checking it three, four, five times. Do I have everything? What if I forgot something important? Because you know what, in my world apparently overnight mail hasn’t been invented yet.

Tomorrow morning we will leave Portland and drive as far as we can in the day, likely somewhere near Redding, CA where we will stop for the night and get some rest and then get up Monday morning and head into Santa Maria, CA where we will stop for a visit and dinner with my dear friend Tammy and my Godfather.

Tuesday morning we’ll be heading south to Ventura, where we’re going to stop and see my WLS Parents, Sandi and Chuck Henderson, you probably know Sandi from her website BandedLiving.com, we’ll be stopping to visit with them and having dinner with them to celebrate my new job in North Carolina.

Bright and Early Wednesday morning, ( After a workout even perhaps ) We’ll be heading even more south and arriving in Los Angeles, where Heather and I will spend a day doing something fun and exciting, I’m putting a short run on the southern CA beaches on my to-do list.

a508225c7a7e11e3b7650e1e7e7c6e3f_8Thursday morning it’s time to meet up with my How Do You Celebrate Success contest winner Dawn Brell and begin our Magical Weekend and Disneyland in Anaheim CA for the Tinker Bell half Marathon weekend. Be sure you follow me on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you want to be part of the fun and see all the photos and check-in’s we’ll be posting from the weekend.

We’ve’ve got so much fun stuff ahead of us that weekend. We’ll be spending time at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Expo, a day in the Disneyland Theme park, and of course, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon itself; 13.1 miles of faith trust and pixie dust in one of the happiest places on earth.

The only regret I have at this point is that I didn’t sign up for the Never Land Family Fun Run 5K and the Tinker Bell 10K and do all three on Friday-Saturday-Sunday. If I come back for the Tinker Bell next year which I sure hope I do, that will be my plan for sure.

Sunday morning, Heather, Tammy, my Godfather, Sandi and Chuck will all be driving into LA to be there at the finish line when Dawn and I cross clapping and cheering. I’m so lucky to have such amazingly supportive friends and chosen family in my life.

After the weekend, I’ll be giving some very emotional goodbye hugs as my Godfather and I start the next leg of my trip, getting me to North Carolina in time to start my new job at the beginning of February. But first I’ll be stopping in Dallas for a short visit with some of my near and dear Dallas peeps and for a quick follow-up visit with my Plastic Surgeon.

420Pounds

There is just so much to do, I must go, and I have to get back to packing. But I wanted to make sure that I wrote about how excited I am. Disneyland CA, here comes the new and improved COACH Pandora. You may have seen me most my life, battling obesity, struggling to move around your perimeter, trying to be the most invisible large person known to man out of fear someone might notice me and make fun of me or make a rude comment to me. You’ve even seen me in the middle of my weight loss journey when I came back for a visit with some family, but you’you’ve never seen me like this! You’ve never seen me at a happy healthy weight, running a half marathon and bringing one of my weight loss coaching clients with me along the way.

Watch out Disneyland here I come – “Second star to the right and straight on ‘till morning.” Because this previously 420 lb. morbidly obese girl who had to roll around in a scooter to make it an entire day in your park is about to show you what she’s made of now because “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Remember this before photo? This was me; weighing 420 lb. Standing next to Eeyore at Disneyland. This is me last week on my 14 mile training run:

And lastly, if you’re thinking “Wow she’s about to run a Half Marathon, I sure wish I could do that.” Let me just remind you that you CAN, and hopefully I’ll be giving another lucky blog reader the opportunity to do that with me again soon. As I finish packing and head out for this Half Marathon, which will be my 5th Half Marathon since June – (That’s right, 5 Half Marathons in less than a year) the thought most prevalent in my mind is: THIS is how *I* Celebrate Success; I fought Obesity and I won.

It’s time for me to go Slender Seekers, but for now, let me leave you with some very wise words from Mr. Walt Disney himself to inspire you.

Before I leave you this morning Slender Seekers I want to ask you to please go visit the pages of the sponsors that made this all possible, without them, none of this would have come to fruition and Dawn and I wouldn’t have this amazing opportunity.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

“The way to get started is to quit talking and being doing.”

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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.

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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.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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