Road to Competition: How Nadia Lost 80lbs and Overcame Depression to Become a Fitness Competitor

Nadia Before and After

Nadia Before and After

My name is Nadia Exama-Mwamuye and I’m a 29-year-old waitress from Boston, MA! I’ve recently lost over 75 lbs and am currently training for my first bikini competition which actually falls on my 30th birthday, November 9, 2013.

I’ve been overweight most of my life, since I was a child. I hit puberty and basically started ballooning from there. It didn’t help that I’m of Haitian descent and my mom loved making us the staples: rice and beans, fried chicken and pork, and fried plantains. I eventually learned how to make most of that myself and would eat until my heart’s content. I quickly got bigger and bigger but it wasn’t too much of a concern other than my mom giving me the side eye and saying I should try to lose weight—meanwhile she was also overweight, so I paid her no mind.

Through the years I tried every fad diet, pill and fitness craze you could think of—low carb, The Zone diet, different videos etc. I became obsessed with trying to lose weight. Some things worked but then as soon as I stopped, the weight came right back and then some! I wasn’t learning how to live a healthy lifestyle, I just wanted a quick fix.

In 2010 I hit rock bottom. I was over 205 lbs, lethargic, unmotivated and just lifeless. I spent most days in my basement apartment with my dog on the couch watching TV. I would only get up for work or on my off days, I would take my dog out and get the delivery. It got to the point where the delivery people knew me intimately!

Nadia and HusbandThen everything changed at the end of 2011. I met my now husband and found I had a reason to live again. I had been depressed for so long and alone and thinking that no one would want to be with someone like me and here he was accepting me the way I was. He never asked me to lose weight, he thought I was beautiful as is but for me I wanted to be the best me possible because that’s what I felt he deserved. I found my king and I needed to make myself a queen to match him.

I started my transformation by doing home workouts with videos by Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser. I then transitioned to TurboFire by Chalene Johnson, a 90 day DVD program that is dance and kickboxing oriented! I lost 30 lbs doing that. Eventually I was confident enough to enroll in a gym. With all my weight loss attempts throughout the years I knew what I needed to do in order to get healthy—I just had to put it to practice. I used Jamie Eason’s 12 week free trainer on to lose another 15 lbs., or so. Now I’m working with my fabulous coach, WBFF Figure Pro Tabitha Sierra, in preparation for my first bikini competition, the WBFF New England Show in Providence, RI on November 9th.

Nadia MarathonMy transformation hasn’t merely been physical! I love living a fit and healthy lifestyle. In addition to working out 5-6 times a week I run a road race every month. I am currently pursuing certification as a personal trainer so I can help others achieve their health and wellness goals. I am a Beachbody coach because I believe in TurboFire and the other products they offer. Some people aren’t comfortable in a gym setting and this offers them the opportunity to make a change at home at their own pace. In the future, I would also like to start a nonprofit organization that helps women and children in urban areas adapt a healthy and fit lifestyle!

I’m so grateful that I made this change in my life and my biggest message to people is always make small healthy changes and eventually it’ll lead to big results. You didn’t gain 50 lbs overnight so don’t expect to lose it overnight. It takes work and dedication but in the end it is so worth it!

Nadia Before and After

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Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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