“I had just started my summer vacation in July and I was excited to go back to the cottage with my husband and spend our days on the boat in the sun. Day one we get out in the water and it was HOT! I started to take my tank top off to get some sun when I realized I was not comfortable sitting I’m shorts and a bikini top in front of my hubby or anyone else who may be out on the lake.  I got to thinking that I work out 5-6 days a week but I’m not getting the shape that I want. I knew in my heart that I was using bad foods to numb the feelings I was feeling inside.

I don’t have some sad back story at all, I grew up in a fantastic family and I am close to all of my family members, but I do suffer from severe self esteem issues that also trigger separation anxiety as well. Being alone triggers bad feelings for me and I eat to numb them.

Back to my story, I remembered how I had seen Nichelle prepping for shows at Persechini’s gym in Newmarket about a year ago and thinking how great it would be to be able to do one of those competitions.  I would dismiss those thoughts because I was sure that it would never be possible for me to be in that kind of shape.  Once we got home from vacation I said to my husband, “I think I might like to train for a fitness competition”.  His eyes lit up and he told me to contact Nichelle and find out about her packages so I did.

Upon first contact she was super excited to hear from me and she was very encouraging but I didn’t feel pressured. She was honest about what to expect and she assured me that she would be there every step of the way! I was pumped and ready to start so I gathered up my courage and took my before pictures. I felt ashamed of what I had let myself become but I was excited because I knew I wouldn’t look this way for much longer!

On Aug 5 2013 I started probably the best experience of my life!! I got my first meal and training plans from Nichelle and I knew I had to follow them to the letter because in two weeks I would have to send my progress pictures to Nichelle and I didn’t want to disappoint her! Nichelle also started a group called Team Laus on Facebook and all of her clients are added to the group if they are interested. I joined the group and met some of the most inspiring and strong women I will ever know! They were welcoming and knowledgable and they supported me with all of the crazy things I was feeling about going through such a huge transformation.  I started to notice that I was turning to them to sort out my feelings, and that I was voicing my feelings. I started to feel confidence and pride in myself and I realized that I think and feel the same things as any other woman out there. These girls and Nichelle (known as Mama Laus to the group) were pushing me to achieve things I never thought were possible.

On August 26 I got the worst news I had ever received in my life, my Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. My heart was broken but I was determined to be strong for my Mom, my family and for me. Quitting or stepping away from my program was not an option. Nichelle and the team were an amazing support system for me during that time they encouraged me and offered to help in any way that they could.  On October 8, 2013 my Mom passed away in her kitchen with my Dad and my sister with her. I was 2 and a half hours away at home expecting to see her that weekend. My world stopped and I was heartbroken. I received tons of support from Team Laus and some very moving words of support, love and encouragement from Nichelle over the next few weeks. It’s almost like a greater power told me to start this journey when I did because I would need to become stronger and have people I could confide in and depend on since I live so far from my family. On tough days when I didn’t feel like getting out of bed I would receive a message from one of the girls on the team like they knew I would need it. I decided to dedicate my competition to my Mom, she was proud of me for taking on such a challenge and for not giving up when life was turned upside down. 

The entire competition process in the final weeks of prep was an emotional roller coaster.  With carb intake depleted and water manipulation and double cardio everyday it was tough but Nichelle was there for all of us with any questions, concerns or just to vent. On the actual show day she was there prepping all of is for stage and she was so proud of all of her girls.  There was 6 of us competing that day in London and Nichelle came to each of our hotel rooms to make sure we were doing ok and that we were getting ready to be at our best. Her and Nadine ( a fellow team member) prepped each of us for our time on the stage and she teared up as she gave us each a talk about how proud she is of us and how far we have come. She cried when she saw some of the girls come back stage with medals and trophies!

I feel like a new person and I have the confidence to set high goals for myself now because I know that I have what it takes to make it happen.  Going through this transformation allowed me to lose 40 lbs in 15 weeks! To me it was so much more than just weight loss. I gained strength both physically and mentally, I gained determination, I gained confidence and great self esteem. I gained a wonderful group of friends that I hope to have for a lifetime and I gained Nichelle as more than just a coach she was and still is a great support to me.  I will be training for another show in a new category in the new year and I cannot wait to see what Nichelle has in the works for me! I know that she will work me hard but I also know that she will see me as a winner and she will do everything that she can to get me a medal or a trophy at my next competition!

Thank you Mama Laus you have changed me and my life for the better!”

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