Transformation Thursday: Lauren Folino

Today's Transformation Thursday post highlights Lauren Folino, a relatively new addition to #poisenation. Lauren participated in this summer's Six Weeks to Chic program, and her results were so incredible, we just had to showcase her on the blog! Read on for Lauren's story and her inspiring progress.

My weight has been an issue for pretty much my whole life. I was always very active as a kid, so at the time, it was never anything I really needed to worry about. I was a gymnast until I was fourteen and I would practice three hours a day, four times a week, so although I was not the smallest gymnast, I was still in shape. When I entered high school I decided to quit gymnastics and start cheerleading. Cheerleading was not as an intense workout for me but it still kept me somewhat in shape. High school was when I really started gaining weight. When I look back on pictures of myself from freshman or sophomore year, I can't believe how much better I looked then than I do now. I constantly ask myself how I got to this place. As many people who are overweight would tell you, that extra weight came from over eating, along with decreased exercise. 

I have worked at the YMCA for seven and a half years now. You would think working at the Y and having a free membership would make me want to work out, but the motivation and time was just never there. By my senior year of high school I would go to school every day while also working six days a week. I was exhausted at the end of the day and never had the energy to workout.

My senior year of high school was when I really noticed a difference in my body. I decided to try Weight Watchers. At first it was great. I liked the program because it did not require you to workout, which I was too lazy and had no time to do. I also enjoyed it because I could still eat all of the unhealthy foods I enjoyed as long as they were in moderation. I lost about ten pounds and then hit a plateau. Obviously because I was not exercising, I was not losing any more weight. At that point I just gave up.

 Flash forward to my freshman year of college, again not exercising. I decided I wanted to continue doing cheerleading so I tried out and made Merrimack College’s cheerleading team! Our practice schedule was a bit less intense than high school, as we only practiced twice a week. This kept me somewhat in shape, but I began to gain more weight. February of my freshman year I hurt my ankle tumbling. The doctor told me it was just a sprain but the pain never went away. I went another year and a half with pain in my ankle and no doctor could find a diagnosis for it. Due to the severe pain, I pretty much stopped exercising all together. I fought through the pain and cheered my sophomore year and then at the end of the school year went to see a surgeon. MRIs were still showing no diagnosis of why my ankle was hurting and all that was left to do was go in and take a look. The first semester of junior year I probably exercised less than five times. I had taken the year off from cheerleading to have surgery so I was pretty much as lazy as you can get. 

I had surgery on my ankle in December 2014, a week before Christmas. When I was in recovery and the doctor called my mom he explained it was much worse than expected. I had broken the cartilage in my ankle and they had to remove the broken pieces and shave down what was left. I was left on crutches for a month, and a boot for another month after that, with instructions not to exercise for another six months to ensure it fully healed. The two months I could not walk normally were awful; I thought I’d never walk again let alone exercise.

So fast forward again six months. I had been going through a lot of issues with my tonsils during my spring semester including strep throat and a trip to the ER at 2am due to the severe swelling in my throat. The only option was to go through another surgery and have them removed.  

My sister had given me a gift card to Studio Poise for Christmas, thinking my ankle surgery wouldn’t be so intense and I would have some motivation to work out. I decided to try the summer 2015 Six Weeks to Chic after recovering from my tonsillectomy and use my gift card to help pay for it. I fell in love with Studio Poise and the 6W2C program! I was eating food that I actually enjoyed and having fun while I was working out. I was so impressed with myself and my progress at the half way point from eating healthy foods and exercising five times a week that I decided to pick it up a bit for the second half. I began buying more and more classes and ended up buying a month unlimited when the 6W2C ended. At the end of six weeks I had lost a good amount of weight that I was really happy with. I decided to continue following the meal plan and working out pretty much every day. Six Weeks to Chic was the start of a lifestyle change for me. It has now been 8 weeks since I started at Studio Poise. I have lost 13.5 pounds, 2.5 inches off of my chest, 4 inches of my waist and hips, and 5 inches off each leg. I am so happy with the success I have had this summer. 

As my summer comes to an end and I head into my senior year of college, I can not thank Danielle and the other instructresses enough for the amazing summer I have had. Growing up as a gymnast, strength was never an issue for me. In my first Poiseboard class with Brittany I was disgusted with the fact that I had just about no muscle on my body. I pretty much wanted to cry by the end of the class. It was a big eye opener to me and I decided I wasn’t going to stop until I could keep up in classes. With the support of the entire staff at Studio Poise, I have become a stronger and more confident person. I feel healthier than I have in a long time. I am sad I will not be able to attend as many classes at Studio Poise while I am at school, but I will definitely still be around! This is only the beginning of my transformation!

Lauren, you look fantastic - but more than that, we find your energy and enthusiasm so inspiring! Thank you for sparkling along with us this summer. We'll miss you when you head back to school, but we're sending you best wishes for an amazing senior year! 

And don't forget, Poise Nation - we're in the middle of our #newyearsinaugust challenge! If you're inspired by Lauren's story, make sure to participate in our social media challenge. Tag your healthy living posts with #newyearsinaugust to share all the ways you're starting the fall off on the right foot, and you will be entered for the chance to win an awesome prize pack!