It has been 3 years since I’ve lost almost 30 lbs and, most importantly, kept the weight off.
For the longest time I bought almost all my clothes at Mendocino because back in the days it was the only ones that carried size 00.
Being super thin in Eastern Europe is not a good thing. My relatives in Ukraine always tried to secretly stuff my suitcase with smoked sausages, meats and cheeses “na dorogy” (“for the road”) during my earlier visits. I repeatedly told them to take it all back as we are not allowed to bring meat and dairy products to Canada. They would nod their heads and then try to hide a package (or two) in the sleeves of the jacket that has already been folded in the suitcase. It broke my heart to surrender all those yummy homemade goods to customs agents 😦
2005 Montreal Salsa Convention, in my mid-30s, size 0
So I ate, and I ate and I ate and never gained a single pound. In my mid-30s I became size 0, in a year or so I had to buy clothes in size 2. Nothing to worry about…right? People complimented me saying that now I actually looked healthy, not emaciated. But the weight started creeping up on me.
2007 Canada Salsa Congress. Size 4 and not worried yet
In March 2008 I made a decision to stop dancing completely. I stopped teaching, rehearsing, performing and social dancing. It freed 20 hours of my time each week! I could finally catch up with my non-salsa friends, read and do all non-dance related activities. However, I didn’t change any of my eating habits because I didn’t feel I should. After all, I had been thin all my life and I thought if people had “thin genes” they’ll stay thin.
3 months later I was in shock. I was 20lbs heavier! People were congratulating me and asking when I am expecting. Awkward! I had to tell them that no, I am not expecting. It was getting more awkward when they kept insisting that I should admit I was pregnant. Some of them offered “helpful” advice: “Try to so some sit-ups”. I didn’t feel good about myself. I was no longer able to fit into any of my clothes. It was a nightmare to go shopping for bigger clothes and eventually I stopped going out altogether.
For the first time in my life I was desperately trying different extreme diets. I haven’t lost a pound and was constantly hungry and irritable. By 2009 I hit my highest weight, 136.5 lbs and was wearing size 8 clothes. I was bigger than the day I gave birth to my daughter many, many years ago.
I also started to miss the stage and wanted to get back to dancing but who would have me on their team looking like this?
2009 New York Salsa Congress. I am at my heaviest…GRRRR
I was waiting in line for pay for my groceries at Metro and randomly picked up a small Prevention Guide brochure featuring Flat Belly Foods. “I went from size 16 to 4!” – was written on the front page. Yeap, right…. I didn’t believe in any diets at this point. I checked the recipes inside, they weren’t complicated, didn’t require to slave over a hot stove for hours and promised delicious foods. I bought it on a whim and started trying recipes one by one. The foods truly were delicious so kept making them just because I liked how they tasted. I started trying these new foods in August 2009.
The booklet included testimonials of people who lost weight on Flat Belly Diet. Some of them reported loosing up to 4 lbs in one week. It didn’t happen to me. For the first 4 weeks I haven’t lost anything, only my clothes somehow were fitting better. I lost 3 lbs in maybe 6 weeks and even then I thought it was the water weight only. However, by October 2009, just in time for the Canada Salsa Congress, I’ve lost 10 lbs and I was able to wear clothes one size down. I finally started feeling better and became motivated to shed all extra weight. I knew then that this diet was working and started following it more closely.
In late 2009 New Skin Dance Company was conceptualized with the 2 of my close fellow Salseras and I was back in the dance studio working on the brand new Ladies Styling routine for 2010 Vancouver International Salsafestival. Practicing for several hours 7 days a week for 4 weeks non-stop helped to melt extra pounds in no time.
With my fellow New Skinnies at the 2010 Vancouver International Salsafestival. I am at my lowest weight, 108 lbs, size 00 again!
2012 Med Salsa Congress, Israel
Flat Belly Diet doesn’t feel like a diet, it’s a much healthier way of eating. Several of my friends and former coworkers tried it and it worked for them. When we are not training with the Team I gain between 1.5 to 2 lbs, which quickly come off as soon as we go into a “crunch” time, usually 2-3 weeks before the “big performance”.
Hopefully this story will inspire anyone who’s looking to make changes in their lifestyle. I’ll be more than happy to provide answers based on my experience.