Monday, January 26, 2015

ZINspiration Mondays with Claudia

Claudia's account of her experience going from 330 pounds to 160 is honest and raw, and speaks to her incredible strength! Here it is.

I have taken Zumba classes for over 13 years. Zumba was my first step to changing my life. I was close to 330 pounds when I started. I always felt that everyone watched me when I walked by. I felt like everyone at a gym stared at me, not just because of my size but because how I was trying to hide my looks with one extra long shirt on top of another one - even longer - plus my sweater tight up on my waist to cover my booty. Ugh! It did not feel comfortable.  
Zumba was the very first class I felt comfortable doing. No one there cared what I was doing or how was I moving. In fact, they cared about me having a good time. I will never never forget my first Zumba instructor. He made me feel normal, which I was, but not to many others. Zumba took me out of a hole in which I was hiding. I suffered from a severe depression condition that kept me from moving. When depressed, each leg of mine felt like 200 pounds each.  I felt even heavier; I had body pain, and stayed in bed whenever I had the chance.  This is why it is so important for me to stay active and find positive things to do.
One of the reasons of my depression was my body. I was so unhappy with it; yet, I didn’t know how to fix it. I couldn’t go anywhere even if I wanted to because of embarrassment, because putting on clothes was a struggle for me, because I couldn’t fit in a theater chair comfortably, or those smaller chairs to eat outside the restaurant on summer. It was much easier to stay home with comfortable clothes, snacking on chocolates, salted snacks, and eating fast food. Ironically, while eating all that garbage, I would cry my soul out at asking myself why I couldn’t lose weight? I knew I wanted a better me, but I wanted it the easier way.  So many times I dreamed about being skinny that I thought that maybe one day, a miracle would occur and I would wake up skinny.
I never had thought of killing myself, but I had thought of how someone else could end my life either by accident or not. I dreamed about being in a taxi or someone’s car stuck in a middle of a railroad, the train would run over me, just me; I have imagined going to the bank where a robbery occurred while me there and got shot. I have even dreamed about being kidnapped and starved in a room so when someone found me, I was skinny.
Not all my dreams were horrible. I also had nice ones like being on the beach in the best shape ever in the company of a handsome man; or in the disco, dancing my booty off wearing the hottest clothes I couldn’t wear when I was younger. I have been overweight since I was very young and it seemed like I couldn’t find a way to fix it, none of the 20 doctors or “dieticians” I have visited in different countries and states.
Years passed by and I did not get better and I also was not getting any younger. I kind of realized that there were not going to be miracles and that I was going to have to do the work. I went to get a gym membership, tried the treadmill…no, tried bikes…no, tried ellipticals…no. I could only do it for so long and all I cared about was “is someone staring at me?” I didn’t come back.
But a miracle did happen. My roommate asked me to go to a ZUMBA class with her. I said no, because everyone would stare at me and make me feel uncomfortable. She insisted and I ended up going. I have never felt so comfortable in a work-out class before. No one cared about what I was doing; instead, they smiled at me. At one point, I remembered slowing down and looked around the room. Everyone, skinny, not that skinny, overweight was having a blast dancing and singing. I was so happy and sweaty!
After class, the instructor approached me and asked me how I liked it. He made me feel special, because no one approaches big people. Since then, I followed him everywhere, sometimes even twice a day.  A few months later my oversize shirts were extremely big on me. I WAS SHRINKING. I was so motivated that I did not give myself a chance to stop ever. I was adding small changes like cutting bad meals; I did add some weight so my skin would tone while losing the weight. Did I fall off the wagon? Heck yes... but did I give up? Heck no! I never never never gave up! Even in my hardest time of depression and stress, I never gave up.
I had fears. How would my body look once losing the weight? I had thought that maybe I should stay big cause at least my skin was tight. I was afraid I would look worse than I looked.  But then again, I remember how much I wanted to go places I couldn’t because of my weight. I had a lot of fears but I decided to not worry about them until the time to deal with those came.
160 pounds! Reaching my goal was the happiest day of my life! Funny thing was, I had to discover myself all over again. What I thought I liked to do wasn’t quite true. The only reason I was doing it was because my weight permitted it. I became a much stronger person. I am still a very nice person, but now, no one can take advantage of my kindness. For long months I used to wake up in the morning and think of what I was going to wear still picturing myself at 330 pounds.
Shortly after losing all that weight, I got my Zumba license, in June 2012.  I realized there was no better way to stay active than doing what I love. Not just stay active but also to make sure I stay fit to be able to teach all the classes. Most importantly, helping others with their goals; proving them wrong when they say, “it is impossible”.
My advice? Be consistent! Consistency is one of the keys to weight loss success. Have a work out routine a few days a week with a healthy daily eating.  Ask for help or find support! Surround yourself with people with same goals as yours, or active lifestyle.  Make it a priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, eventually, you won't be able to take care of your loved ones. Most importantly, never never never give up! You might trip on your way, but you must get up and try again and again. It may take you longer than you expect, it might cause you tears, you might feel exhausted, but at the end, it is all worth it. I know it is possible because I did it! And so can you!

Want more ZINspiration? Check out more stories here!


  1. You are an inspiration! I'm crying happy tears for you! Keep rocking!!! Much Z love to you!!!!

  2. What an amazing transformation story. Thank your for sharing it and inspiring others!

  3. Amazing and awesome!!!