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Victoria McCloney / FJ Spotlight


Hi everyone, it’s Michelle here.  I met Victoria at Lisa Lowrie’s spin class here in Phoenix.  We wear heart-rate monitors in the class so you can always see who is pushing themselves the hardest and as much as I try I can never quite catch Victoria in class.  She always motivates me to work harder and you can imagine my surprise when she told me she used to be overweight and had spent this past year undergoing an amazing transformation.   You may see me mention her from time to time on my blog as she is now one of my favorite workout buddies. Here is her story!

What was your turning point?

Six months after I had spinal fusion surgery, I stepped on the scale. The scale read 202 lbs. This was the heaviest I had ever been. Before my surgery, I was an avid runner and attended fitness classes at least three times a week. Unfortunately, my injury (Spondylolisthesis Grade III) was caused from running which caused pressure on my lower spine. It was hard for me to even think of starting to work out again because of my excessive back pain. But I knew that my back pain would continue or even get worse if I didn’t lose weight and take care of my health.

Who inspired you to lose weight and get healthy?

I have a great support system through my family and friends. My mother always taught me that health is the most important thing. She has been disabled since she was 22 years old and doctor’s told her she would never be able to walk again. She definitely proved them wrong! My mother taught herself to walk again and gained her physical and emotional strength back over time. Since, I wasn’t exposed to many physical activities as a child, I have made it my goal to show my two nieces how important it is to stay healthy and be active. Moreover, my friends inspire me every day. I have a core group of friends who live back east and we keep each other on track and motivated.

What did you change in your diet?

First off, I completely changed my portioning. I realized I was eating meals enough for 3 people!!! I also cut out fried food. I have a huge sweet tooth and limited my intake of cakes and cookies. I added more vegetables and lean protein to my diet. I mostly eat organic foods and stopped drinking soda. I also only drink water which was a huge change because I love diet soda!

What is your favorite workout?

My favorite workout is Indoor cycling (SPIN). It gives me the same physical affect as running but without the pressure on my back and knees. I also enjoy Barre classes because it because it changes your body quickly!

What were you most excited about when you lost weight/ started losing weight?

I could finally see my face!! When I gain weight, it goes right to my chin. But mostly, I had less pain in back which was the best gift I could give myself.

What advice do you have for someone first starting out so they don’t get discouraged?

My advice is to really understand that fitness is a lifestyle change. I know everyone says this, but it is an everyday change for the rest of your life. I also suggest trying all types of workouts to find what you really like to do. I was fortunate enough to find a gym close to my home that is more of community of wonderful people than just your typical gym. We all motivate each other to come to classes and try new physical activities!

What motivation/tools do you use to stay on track with your journey?

It’s kind of silly, but it works for me. In my bathroom I created a “Motivation Wall”. It’s on a white board where I write motivational quotes and make an exercise schedule for the week. I have noticed that if I stay organized and make it a routine, it keeps me on track. I also use Pinterest to get motivational quotes and ideas to stay healthy and fit.

What are the most helpful things your family and friends have done to keep you on track towards your goals?

My family has dinner every Sunday night. We all come together and have a pot luck style dinner. Each of us cooks a new healthy recipe every week. This helps me with ideas on meals during the week. My Grandma also sends me a new smoothie recipe with the ingredients in a care package for me to try every week so I don’t get bored. She is the best! My friends also have helped me a lot with staying on track. We motivate each other to go to the gym on a regular basis and share new workout tips with each other. I couldn’t ask for a better support system.

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