Transformation Thursday: Rachel Arsenault

This week's transformation Thursday comes from a spitfire that has been a Studio Poise regular for years; Rachel Arsenault. Rachel has found a new love for fitness (and clean eating) through Studio Poise and is creating a stronger, healthier and more fabulous version of herself to celebrate her upcoming nuptials! Everyone at the studio has loved watching Rachel get her groove back.

Throughout my entire childhood I was always the “little” girl who was petite and did not compare to my average-sized peers.  When I was in Kindergarten, I remember being called a peanut by my peers and internalizing it, upset by the moniker.  My mother tells me, to this day, how badly she wanted to explain to me how being called a peanut was not a bad thing!  I have never been one who has had to worry about my weight, per se.  I was raised to never focus on my intake of food (although I was also strictly raised on natural, healthy foods) or my weight.  My family raised me to appreciate my active life where the focus was on health - not a number on a scale.

I was always a size 0 or a 2 until I was in my early 20s was when I realized my food choices were impacting my body.  For the first time in my life, I had to worry about the three bagels I ate every day and face the fact that my pants did not fit as good as they once did!  Moreover, I bought my first size 6 pants. For someone who is 5’2” on a good day the weight gain was very hard to hide!

Although I became more aware that my body was changing I could not control my desire to eat until I was beyond full. Food was comfort during stressful times navigating life post-college etc. While I ate I naively assumed there would come a point where my body would just go back to my pre-college weight – it would figure out I wasn’t meant to be this size and regulate itself back down to a 0.  Again, I have always been a petite girl so why wouldn’t my body just go back to how it was before?!  Of course, that never happened and I became depressed about my appearance.  With my depression came my uncontrollable eating of anything that was in sight.  I knew I needed to change, but never had the motivation to begin the change.  Until…

In July 2015 I got engaged!  Even though I was already feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, the realization set in that I had to wear a wedding dress. In front of people! More important than the dress, I had to feel good about myself again because it had been too long.  I needed to get my confidence back, which is something that I naturally had all along and lost touch with somewhere along the way.  

One of my best friends (and bridesmaids) Courtney Falite, fabulous SP instructress, had turned me on to the studio right before she started teaching.  I have been living the Studio Poise life for 3 years now, enjoying fitness classes and loving the workouts.  I distinctly remember my first class (which was Poise taught by the Queen D herself)!  I have always been devoted to the studio and thoroughly enjoy taking classes, but it wasn’t until my engagement that I focused on how these classes affected my body composition.  I started mixing up my schedule, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Doubles and triples became my norm! I was kicking ass and taking names. I found myself giving my all to every workout, every time.

I also began working with Janie on nutrition, focusing on eating clean and learning how to listen to my body. I never realized the strong connection between what you’re eating and how you feel! Soon I was actively prepping my meals, planning my days out and filling them with healthy foods instead of quick finds.

Although I love each and every class at Studio Poise, you will most likely find me at the Poise or SPiit classes.  Through SP, I have made some amazing connections and friends who all share a similar journey to my own.  Studio Poise’s positive environment allows me to work hard to reach my goal while also making exercising fun – something you just can’t find anyplace else!

I can’t lie and tell you it’s been easy. Easy would be going back to the old “Everything bagel with Jalapeño cream cheese from Bagel World” Rachel.  However, the journey has been worth it and I am so proud of myself for sticking with it!  Seeing the results has motivated me even more to never give up and to believe that I am worth it.  I am back in size 2 jeans and feel confident in almost anything that I wear!  For all of my fellow members of #poisenation, I want you to remember that you are strong enough to accomplish anything!  No matter your size or shape we all deserve to be healthier and stronger.  The first step is to believe in yourself!

Rachel and her fiance Pete during their engagement shoot!

Rachel and her fiance Pete during their engagement shoot!