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When Rebecca hit 350 pounds, she knew it was time for a change

Rebecca Cottingham

RICHMOND, Va. — My name is Rebecca Cottingham and from a young age I have been considered to be obese. As a high school student, through college, and even as an adult my weight was always a factor.

A little over three years ago all of that changed.

I had a local Beachbody coach reach out to me and tell me that they had a solution they truly believe would work for me.

I was extremely skeptical of trying an at home workout program.

On top of that, I have had really bad experiences with drinking shakes that I dismissed the idea.

I figured I would stick to the newest diet pill that was just put on the market instead because it was so much cheaper.

Little did I know at the time the diet pill I tried would make me sick to my stomach.

So that was another failed attempt to try and lose weight at being over 350 pounds.

My next step was to start researching the different surgery options I could have since the multiple diet pills I have tried failed. I knew a lot of people have had great success with surgery to lose weight.

The thought of actually going to the doctor and admitting defeat did not settle well with me since they would probably just give me another kind of diet pill.

I had tried everything that I knew to try from diets put out by experts, starving myself, eating extremely small portions, and everything in between.

Most of the time I either gave up or it caused more problems than it was solving.

I went to one of my doctors and he gave me his normal speech about my weight being too high. He told me once again I had to do something about my weight that it was truly out of control.

Otherwise he would be sending me to see a nutritionist three times a week on a post college graduate salary. He gave me three months in August 2014 to figure myself out and make some changes.

I started my journey on my own with the support of my family.

I started reading the labels on my food, measuring everything out with a measuring cup, and keeping track of calories.

The weight started coming off by correcting my portions I was eating.

Counting calories can be challenging sometimes when one smartphone application tells you one count, but another tells you another calorie count.

It also takes ten times the amount of food preparation time than I had scheduled per week.

In November 2014, one of my former coworkers announced that she was holding a holiday challenge group and prizes would be given away.

The challenge would be from Thanksgiving to Christmas, which is a time where most people gain weight and I wanted to stay on track.

It grabbed my attention and I started talking to her. I ended up signing up as a Team Beachbody member at that time and went through her challenge group.

In the end to my surprise, I lost weight during the holiday and did not gain the normal five to ten pounds.

I was beyond excited and proud of myself for that accomplishment.

I loved my Shakeology and the community of people in the challenge group.

In December 2014, I took a huge leap of faith and decided to join Team Beachbody as a coach. I had no clue at first what I was getting into but it was the best leap of faith I have made to date.

My coach, Brandi Pope, announced that I had joined as a member of Team Mission Possible in our team page as well as our upline team: Destined for Greatness.

The outpouring of my weight loss so far and me joining was overwhelming.

There was an extreme amount of love, positive comments, congratulations, and we cannot wait to see where you get that it put me in tears.

For once in my life they were the happiest tears I have cried to date.

When I decided to become a coach I thought I would just help me stay on my own journey. I did not realize that I would gain another family and community.

I would gain people in my life that would kick me in the butt when I needed it or loved me through difficult times in life. Becoming coach may have been a leap of faith in the beginning along with selfish reason, but it turned into way more than I ever imaged possible. It

has helped to save my life by keeping me active and on the path to becoming the healthiest version of myself. It has helped me go from being over 350 pounds and size 30 in jeans to 240 pounds and size 18/20. Even more than that my journey has helped to encourage others to start their personal journey and save their life as well.

Celebrity fitness trainer Autumn Calabrese will be leading a group session at the Richmond Women’s Health & Fitness Expo on February 4 in Richmond. Calabrese is a Beachbody trainer and has inspired many women to get in shape.