7 min read
"I came to The Edge Fitness in Stratford, CT in October of 2019 because I needed a change in my life...a BIG change. Being plus size for the majority of my life, I quickly realized I hated going to the doctors to hear what they had to say. I know it's their job and they want to help, but it's hard going in for a checkup to hear things about your health and body that you already know but just don’t want to hear because you don’t want to admit it. I weighed in at the doctors at my heaviest 374lbs… I felt pure shame in myself that I had let it go that far. I was disgusted at the person I was staring at everyday when I looked in the mirror. When I heard that I was pre-diabetic and borderline high cholesterol I knew I needed a change in my life. I needed to fight for my life & take back control.
Doctors and I discussed weight loss surgeries over and over but I just couldn’t commit to any of them. I did not want to go through surgery for weight loss. It was scary to realize that I was literally killing myself with food and lack of exercise. I met with Courtney Manciero, a personal trainer at The Edge of Stratford for the first initial workout session and I thought I was going to die. I could barely do anything-struggled to catch my breath. She was extremely encouraging and supportive and knowledgeable about how to work around causing pain to my joints (as a heavy individual my joints could only take so much). I felt at ease with her and comfortable. I didn't feel judged and not worried at all that I would injure my body because I knew that she knew what she was doing. It was clear at that first training session that she was educated on fitness and training as well as extremely passionate about it and her clients. What I also loved was that she always educated me regarding nutrition and how important it is and educated me on exactly what foods to eat to fuel my body with. She made the experience wonderful and literally life changing! This wasn’t a diet to me it was a lifestyle change, she taught me healthy habits that will be with me for the rest of my life. She believed in me more than I believed in myself and she barely even knew me!
As months passed I not only saw the weight shedding off everytime we weighed in together but more importantly I began to gain confidence, self love, and hope. Fast forward one wild year later to October 2020 I was back on the scale for my one year weigh in. My first weigh in with Courtney was on October 5th, 2019 and I weighed in at 353.7lbs. I had lost about 20lbs on my own before starting the gym but it had been over a time span of 1.5 years to lose those 20lbs on my own. So I didn’t have high expectations when getting on the scale this October 5th. I was hoping to lose around 50 pounds in 2 years realistically for what I felt I was possibly capable of. I stepped on the scale and felt extreme pride that I had lost a total of 136.5lbs! The number on the scale read 217.2. No one, and I mean no one, could have told me that this would be the end result of a year of hard work and dedication by both my trainer Courtney and myself because I simply wouldn’t have believed them. 136.5, I literally lost an entire human being off my body!!! I am still in utter shock and elated with such happiness and pride at what we accomplished this year. There were a lot of sweat and tears, but it was all worth it and I am beyond blessed to be able to share an accomplishment this big with such a caring, strong powerhouse woman. She is the best trainer that there could be, she has such a positive attitude and she went above and beyond to challenge me to be the best version of myself. I know 100% if not for her I would have never gotten to this point. I am so incredibly blessed and grateful for the opportunity to have her as a trainer. She never gave up on me even when I wanted to give up on myself. She was right there day or night, in person or through text to encourage, support, and push me to my limits so I could see what I was truly capable of. She pushed me to do more and expect more of myself because she knew what I was capable of! She gave me the tools to be able to walk into the gym and not want to run right back out . I believe in myself and I know now that I can do it. She will always be a part of my life no matter how many years go by. She truly saved my life. I will undoubtedly be forever grateful to have met and trained with Courtney. I changed both physically and mentally. I am in a completely different place than where I was a year ago. I know I am worthy, I am strong, I am confident, I am beautiful, I am enough, I am capable, I am unstoppable, I am a lioness!!!
I hope sharing my experience this past year will encourage, motivate and positively impact others and let them know they are not alone, that they can do this. Sometimes we just need a cheerleader to pave the path for us, to teach us, to push us past limits we didn’t even know we were capable of and for me, that was Courtney. Looking to make a change? Book an appointment with Courtney, don’t second guess it, I promise you won't regret it. You need her as your PT!!! She will push you to be the best version of yourself, to be the version you didn’t even know was there. For anyone who needs to hear this, I learned this from Courtney, you are worthy and capable of all the goals and dreams you have, you just need to believe in yourself enough to go after them. This past year has been a roller coaster ride and I can’t wait to see where I'll be in October 2021!
I am beyond lucky and blessed to also have some of my biggest supporters always with me by my side since day one: My Father aka my other half (Papi) and my Twin aka best friend Christina (Toobla). They are everything to me!!! I love these two individuals more than anything, more than myself and I don’t know where I would be in life without them. So many wonderful things can be said about these two, I could go on and on and on without enough room to truly put my love for them into words. I hope that they know how incredibly important and loved they are to me, they’re my heart and soul. Family is everything and I thank the Lord everyday for putting me in the family that he chose for me and for putting in bonus people in my life like Courtney, not blood but family nonetheless. Forever blessed!" - Gabby, Stratford Edge Member