The Final Countdown

Many of you readers who are friends of mine on Facebook know that I have put my body through the ringer over the past ten years. For those of you who don't know me, well, allow me to get you up to speed with a couple of essays entitled: "I'm Not a Salsa Dancer" and "New Year, New Me."

"I'm Not a Salsa Dancer" by Danielle Ciappa

I am not a dancer, let alone a salsa dancer. My passions have always been much less movement intensive and as a result, I have been obese for my entire adult life. Attempts were made to become more active, but my weight and inherent lack of coordination and confidence always interfered with my getting off the couch. I’ve tried everything…spinning, yoga, pilates, rock climbing, kick boxing, step aerobics, the list goes on and on. Last year, I made one last crack at athleticism and walked on to a co-ed football team. My career was short-lived, as I tore my ACL on a touchdown grab. Surgery was brutal and the post-operative pain kept me more sedentary than ever. I began piling on more pounds and lost all interest in trying to be fit. That is until, November 28, 2007. 

My roommate and I were in Old City, looking for something to do, and came across Brasil’s Night Club. Curious, we went inside and found ourselves just in time for a salsa lesson with Sonya Elmore of La Luna Dance Studio. I had never danced before and was surprised by Sonya’s patience with my inability to complete a basic step. I felt that she took personal interest in making me feel as comfortable as possible on the dance floor. I had such a good time that I decided to use the complimentary one-week pass to try a beginner salsa class at her dance studio. My life has not been the same since the first day I walked into La Luna. 

My first steps were awkward, but slowly I became more confident in my footwork. For the first month, I made it a priority to go to Brasil’s every Wednesday and Friday night both to attend the free salsa lesson and to practice the things I was learning in class. Initially, I would only stay for a couple of songs after formal instruction was over, but that didn’t last long. I started putting in more hours on the dance floor and with that, began to notice that my clothes were fitting differently. I was having too much fun to pay much attention to my weight, until I actually fell in Noel Rodriguez’s 2A class because my jeans were too big. I decided to step on the scale that night and was shocked to find that I had lost 20 pounds in just 2 months of dancing. I had never been able to accomplish that amount of weight loss on the countless diets and workout regimens I had tried in the past. Feeling motivated, I decided to kick up my dancing to include other salsa venues.

I began talking to and developing friendships with my fellow salseros. Instead of hurrying home from work and turning on the television to catch my favorite shows, I found myself jumping in the shower, only to sweat the soap away at the clubs. My confidence and self-esteem improved tremendously, not only in my ability to dance, but in my personal life as well. As the weight came off, I found myself smiling more, standing taller, and feeling more content with myself as a person. I have now been dancing for 3-1/2 months and have lost a total of 46 pounds. I have a totally new outlook on life and fitness thanks to the opportunities that La Luna Dance Studio has afforded me. I am still a karaoke singer, Spades player, pool shark, jazz drummer, movie buff, and video game addict, but maybe it’s time to add salsa queen to my resume. The End.

After I wrote "I'm Not a Salsa Dancer," I continued to lose weight. I managed to go from 183 pounds in July 2007 to 113 pounds in November 2008. I looked great, I know I did. But there was more going on in my little baby body than met the eye...

"New Year, New Me" by Danielle Ciappa

So, many of you know that I started dancing salsa two years ago. Many of you also know that I lost seventy pounds during the first couple of months that I had started dancing; however, there are a couple things about my weight loss that many of you may not know.

During 2008 and half of 2009, I was very unhealthy. I was smoking sometimes more than a pack of cigarettes a day and started skipping meals to help accelerate my weight loss. I was taking so many dance classes and social dancing so much, that it’s safe to say that I became obsessed. Obsessed with the dance, yes, but also obsessed with the way that it was making me look and feel. Pretty soon, I stopped eating altogether. I was basically living on coffee, nicotine and the high that I got when I danced.

In April 2009, I decided to make a life change. I started eating more regularly, quit smoking and began to live my life in a way that didn’t revolve around salsa. Quite frankly, I’ve learned balance and it’s wonderful. Everything in my life right now is perfect, save one thing: my weight. As you all can imagine, since I stopped smoking and started eating again, I’ve gained some weight. I’m nowhere near where I was back in 2007, but I'm not where I want to be. 

This year, I’ve decided to make another life change and I’d like to share it with all of you, my friends and family. I’m embarking on another weight loss journey and will be posting daily updates on my Facebook page. This time, I will be losing weight in a healthy, controlled way. I am hoping that displaying my successes and failures on a public forum, will be inspirational to those with similar goals and aspirations. My life begins (again) tomorrow. The end.

There you have it! I started my new weight loss campaign on January 5, 2010 with the backing of about 300 Facebook friends. Losing weight the second time was not as easy as the first, namely due to the lack of carcinogens in my diet. Nevertheless, I kept my word and posted daily weigh-ins on my Facebook page to keep myself honest. I changed my whole lifestyle. New food (I'll get into the food part in future posts). New workout routine. New sleep schedule. It was brutal, but it payed off. I may or may not try to lose the last couple of pounds to get back to where I was. Right now, I look good and I feel good. Everything in my life right now is good and that's a good thing because good things are good. The end.

2 comments

Anonymous said... March 16, 2012 at 3:54 PM

I can't see your pictures. :(

Anonymous said... June 5, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Very interesting and informational. I am going thru the same thing. I need to give Paleo a try. Thanks.

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