"As we head into the new year, we often reflect on the ups and downs of our days, weeks, months....but this year clearly takes it for many of us.
For years, I’ve struggled with weight (as many of us have). I have gained and I have lost. Then I gained again. At my highest I was over 300 lbs. I hated myself. What’s more, I hated when people told me I was beautiful no matter what. Liars! I wasn’t beautiful. I didn’t want people to tell me I was. I got simple compliments about my eyes or smile. I was dying inside, both physically as well as emotionally. Then came 2014 when my divorce was finalized. Single mom, in grad school, what was I supposed to do? Instead of giving up, I joined The Edge. It was great. I lost some weight. I felt better. But there was something missing. I’d pay for a trainer then quit after two months, using the excuse that I couldn’t afford it anymore. That wasn’t necessarily true. I just didn’t have the motivation. If I wanted it bad enough, I’d find a way.
Fast forward to 2020-what a crazy year it’s been. I decided to give it another go and joined The Edge Challenge in February. Then came the shutdown. For 3 months I was home teaching online and trying to join the online Edge classes. I just couldn’t do it. In June the gyms reopened but my trainer had since left the company. What now? I trusted those at the Orange Edge location to match me with someone who could help me lose the "quarantine 15" as well as push me toward my future goals. They introduced me to Mark Shields. I figured I’ve paid for The Challenge so I’ll work through it and then cancel my trainer and finish on my own. The fall comes, the challenge ends (I took 2nd place at the finisher party), teaching starts up (both online and in person), and the virus sores. The uncertainty was scary. But Mark wouldn’t let me quit. He pushed me and had me making progress I’ve never seen before. I joined the next challenge. Five days after it started my world came crashing down when I lost my stepdad to Covid. That was it. I thought I’d give up so I could find time to heal. I am positive that if it hadn’t been for Mark, I would have thrown in the towel. He didn’t let me. While I’m not done yet, I’m a hell of a lot closer than where I was. The picture on the left was from a time I choose to forget. The one on the right is from Christmas Eve 2020.
Now on the brink of 2021, I want to say thank you to MARK as well as all of the trainers (Josh, Luke, Jimmy, Arek, TJ, and Natalie) at The Orange location. There’s something special about this club. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year." - Tara, Orange Edge Member