Transformation Thursday: Debra Lee Surface

We are so excited to feature Debra Lee Surface in today's Transformation Thursday post! Debra Lee joined Studio Poise in July to participate in our SixWeeks to Chic program and is currently becoming a regular in classes. We are excited to share her story with you and excited to watch Debra Lee continue progressing and making herself a priority!

From the time I could walk I was an athlete. I played soccer, baseball, softball; I was a figure skater, dancer, gymnast and most important cheerleader. I went on to become a college cheerleader and competed at the national level, placing top 5 with my Salem State College teammates. I would not trade that experience for the world. It kept me in top physical shape, sometimes working out two to three times a day, but mentally I always thought I needed to be smaller. While I didn’t actually need to be smaller, my teammates were a size 2 & 4, I was a size 6. I always felt that I needed to be “tiny,” when in reality, I was strong and athletic. This skewed body image was something I struggled with throughout my teens and early twenties. Based on every chart out there I was “supposed to be smaller” even at a size 6; even though it was not physically possible given my frame and the fact that there was very little fat on my body. In high school, there were days that I ate only yogurt at lunch and worked out three times a day, and I still thought I needed to work harder. Even when I was in great shape, I had an issue with weight and my size.



After graduating from college, I like many others went from working out two to three times a day, to sitting behind a desk. At that point in time, I continued to eat and drink like a college student but gone was the insane workout schedule and level of physical activity that I had been used to. Over a period of 5 years, I slowly gained so much weight that I reached my heaviest and by the Fall of 2009 I didn’t even recognize myself. No one really said anything to me about it, no one said, “Deb, you’ve really gained weight!” Which, I wish they had. My mom would hint nicely here and there but it didn’t register. There is something to be said for the people in your life loving you no matter what – I just wish it wasn’t to the point where I no longer felt like myself and began having health issues that I realized how far I had strayed from the healthy girl I was.


I am a firm believer that in order to make a change in your life you need to want to do it for no one else but yourself and to be successful in reaching that goal you need to have your own internal drive. I have learned however, that you cannot do it alone and it takes a strong support system to help you get there. I started to make some slight changes here and there and a little bit of weight came off. But, in early 2011 I decided that I couldn’t feel the way I did anymore, enough was enough. I met with my doctor for suggestions on how to move forward and decided to completely overhaul my diet. This began by deciding to eat completely clean, I stepped up my exercise by going to the gym every day and slowly building up my work out level. And, in a little less than a year I was down 70 pounds. 70 POUNDS! For three years I maintained the 70 pound weight loss while continuing to refine my routine, and became a vegetarian. All of this while working a full time job, coaching a high school team and trying to manage the rest of my life. And, I tried to do all of this alone. Probably not the best idea, in hindsight! My family was very supportive, but I am Italian, and Italians LOVE TO EAT. No one else changed their diet, and I had to make sure that I stayed on track despite being surrounded by so much pasta and pastry.


Remember I said you cannot do it alone? Enter Studio Poise and 6W2C! Danielle and I have been friends for over 15 years. We were high school teammates, search high and low together for specific sneakers in our size, commiserate over our time coaching cheer, but most importantly we have been there for each other through all kinds of craziness and I am so grateful for our friendship! This past spring, I decided to make some major changes in my life by saying goodbye to my coaching life and enrolling in graduate school. I decided it was time to focus on me and what I needed instead of worrying about everyone around me. I’ll be honest - it felt super selfish, but it was the best decision for my future and I knew that. Along with that, I decided that it was time for me to kick start my weight loss again.


Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with my body, and where I was at, a HUGE IMPROVEMENT from where I had been in the past. But, I wanted to be the best possible version of myself and with  6W2C, Studio Poise, and Danielle I have been able to work to get there.

In just 6 weeks of fine tuning my nutrition plan and taking classes religiously at Studio Poise I lost 10 pounds and 9 inches! Totally amazing! I am focused now on toning, inches and how I feel, instead of the scale. Coincidentally however, along with that focus, the weight is coming off even faster. I am now at a total of 90 POUNDS DOWN from my heaviest weight! I have tried so many different classes at Studio Poise, and work out 5+ times a week. My favorite class is Barreworke and I mix in at least one Poise class a week. Plus, I get to spend quality time with Danielle on almost a daily basis – which is a huge perk!


6W2C is the easiest thing I’ve done for myself - simply staying committed to my nutrition plan and sweating at least once a day are small, achievable goals. At the end of the day it was a lifestyle change that I decided to make, for no one else but me. But, I realized I cannot do it alone and I needed to be vocal with the people who care about me and never be afraid to ask for help. Throughout this journey, I have learned a lot about myself and making myself a priority. I am now back to that size 6 and I am so much happier with who I am. I no longer think I NEED to be smaller; as long as I am happy with my own progress. I have learned that what you do today is enough. You need to be happy with where you are in order to get where you are going. I am happy with who I am, I am strong and I am finally ME AGAIN! Thank you, Studio Poise!