Among the crowds of people logging miles on the machines at the GB3 in Clovis, few have come as far as 35-year-old Tanya Smith. She started her weight loss journey nearly two years ago, when her weight had ballooned to 280 pounds after the death of her mother and the births of her three children. Tanya recalls, ""I was ashamed of myself. I just basically became a hermit and stayed in my house all the time." Her doctor recommended gastric bypass or lap band surgery. But something in Tanya told her she could do it another way.
So she taught herself about portion control and about macro and micronutrients. She started off slowly, but kept to a regular workout routine that included cardio six days a week and weight training three to four days a week. Her motivation: "Because I did put in so much hard work to lose 134 pounds there's no way I'm ever gonna physically let that weight come back on. I wanna live and that means to be fit. I wanna be happy, and that means to be healthy."
And along the way, she chronicled her recipes and routines on social media -- including Facebook under the page "Reshaping Tanya" and on Instagram under the user name "LVNFIT" where she has over 55-thousand followers from as far away as Australia and Europe.
But some of her biggest fans are much closer to home, including her sister and occasional workout partner Tori Michaels, "Her story inspires people. People need an inspiration, somebody local it's nice to see because it's real, it's in your face, you see it more."
Now, the woman who was once terrified of being made fun of at the gym, encourages others to take that first step? a step that could save their lives, like it did hers. "I want people to say because of her, I didn't give up and I fought for my life."
Tanya's fans have asked her to write a book, compiling her story and struggles, recipes, and exercise regimen. She says that is her next goal, after she reaches just 15% body fat!