If you’re looking for fitness inspiration, look no further than 31-year-old mom of three, Tessa, who has dropped half her body weight over the course of five years.
It was five years ago when Tessa saw a photo of herself at her heaviest weight of 330 pounds that she finally decided to take control of her health.
So what’s the secret to her success? Over a five-year period, Tessa has turned to a number of strategies to shed the pounds, including using the MyFitnessPal app to track her meals, running and working out at the gym five to six days a week.
Here’s a before and after shot from her Instagram that showcases her stunning 180-pound weight loss. She shared the photo in June with the caption: “Never too late for a #transformationtuesday photo!”
Her fitness journey was not always easy. After a false start of losing and regaining some weight, she then suffered two miscarriages in 2013 and 2014. In February of 2014, she tried a Zumba class for the first time, which she says is responsible for giving her the motivation she needed to make fitness a serious priority in her life.
“I fell in love with Zumba, which in turn made me love fitness in general,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
Zumba is a dance fitness routine that’s been around since the 1990s and has attracted millions of fans around the world. A recent TIME article about the benefits of Zumba titled “Why Zumba Is Insanely Good Exercise” references numerous studies about the various health and wellness benefits that the routine provides.
Not only can a regular Zumba routine lower body fat and improve balance, research shows it provides participants with a higher quality of life, increased self-esteem and even greater feelings of independence and purpose. Given all those psychological benefits, it’s easy to see why many fitness seekers would be eager to return a Zumba class rather than, say, yet another date with the treadmill.
In August of 2014, Tessa found out she was pregnant with her third child, and delivered a healthy baby boy in April 2015. She continued to exercise throughout her pregnancy. She now shares her newfound love of fitness with her family, as her older son can be seen hitting the treadmill in this Instagram video.
Even though she’s half her former size, Tessa says her work is not yet done. Here’s what she said about her journey on Instagram:
It’s been 5 years now since I saw that photo on the left. The photo that made me cringe. The photo that finally made me decide a change needed to be made. It started out slow and I had lots of bumps in the road including two miscarriages. However, I kept pushing on and never gave up. And here we are five years later and I’m half the size I was in that photo on the left. This journey had a starting point, but there really is not ending point. This journey is for life. I make a decision everyday to life a healthy and active life. Some days are easier than others, but each day you have to try and that is all anyone can ask for. There will be bumps in the road and setbacks, but in the end that is what makes you stronger. Remember to celebrate the victories whether they big or small. I too, have to remind myself of these. We all are in this together and have the same struggles whether our story is on chapter 1 or 10! Keep fighting the fight my friends! You’re worth it❤
If you’re interested in testing out the Zumba waters, you can find a class near you via the Zumba website. Or try dipping a toe first with an at-home workout. The routine below is one of the top-rated Zumba workouts on YouTube and has been viewed more than 57 million times: