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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.


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.

Realistic Resolutions – Promise Keepers and Problem Solvers

dreamstimefree_197178Alright my weight loss oriented friends. New Year’s Eve is upon us and everyone is getting ready to start making those New Year’s resolutions right? It occurred to me after reading an article I shared on Facebook yesterday entitled “Make a new kind of New Year’s Resolution,” that when we make these resolutions what we are really doing is trying to resolve problems in our life.

A man named Eldrdige Cleaver once said “You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem”

So often as we attempt to travel a path of wellness and work our way through our weight loss journey this proves to be true. All too often we are the source of our own problems; as a wellness coach, part of my job is to help people find the answers to those problems. Most the time we know the solution to a problem, we just haven’t decided to act on it yet. We’re contemplating the pros and cons and deciding whether or not the actions and steps we need to take are worth the desired outcome to us in the end.

All too often we set resolutions in the beginning of the year that we can’t keep or that we’re not quite prepared to take the steps towards, often times out of mere obligation to make a New Year’s Resolution because society tells us that we should.

What I want to remind you Slender Seekers, is that although January 1st marks the beginning of a new year, it doesn’t mark the beginning of a new you, and there are three hundred and sixty-five days ahead of you in 2014 where each and every day is the dawn of a new day, a new tomorrow and a chance for you to do something differently than you have done it before. Each day is a new day for you to learn from the last.

Whether you want to lose weight, work on toning your body, work on eating cleaner or healthier, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, or any of the usual things we hear everyone make resolutions about in the beginning of each year; the truth of the matter is, you want to improve something, you want to be a better you, you want to be a problem solver.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned this year comes from two people I look up to immensely, Chris Powell and Heidi Powell. One of the things Chris teaches about changing your mindset is the theory of self-integrity and being a promise keeper. You see me live this philosophy on a regular basis. When I commit to something and say this is what I will do this week, whether it my workout, my eating plan or just making sure I take the time to read and pamper myself with a bubble bath and a good cup of tea; I make sure I keep that commitment. The more little commitments I keep the more personal integrity I have; and if the time comes that I fall short, I make sure that I make it up to myself so that I don’t let myself down.

This promise keeper mentality along with my own problem solver philosophy has become an essential part of how I stay motivated, adhere to my fitness, nutrition and wellness paths, set my goals, decide where I am going next and what problem I will work on next; and is a strategy I often share with those that come to me seeking guidance on their wellness path or help finding their motivation.

So as we begin this New Year together, I invite you to not make specified resolutions or come up with some long daunting list of things you want to do but have no idea where to begin.

Instead, make a promise to yourself that what you will do in 2014 is work on being a promise keeper and a problem solver, work on keeping promises to yourself one day at a time, and resolving your problems one at a time and when you have achieved it, move on to the next one. Look at each day as a chance to be a better you. By doing this, you’re setting yourself up for lots of success and celebrations throughout the year and  hopefully a few months from now you might not look back on that list of “New Year’s” resolutions and be disappointed.


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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