TaVona Boggs spent most of her adult life on a diet. When she wasn’t on one, she was thinking she probably should be. Finally, she learned how to make peace with food and gave up on what she calls the, “all or nothing” mentality. After an 82-pound weight loss, TaVona is competing in duathlons and inspiring other women to break out of their comfort zones.
When did your weight struggles begin. As early as age 10, I remember begging my mom to buy me a thigh master. Throughout high school I kept my weight in check with physical activity, like cheer leading, volleyball and more, but once I entered an intensive physical therapy program in college, the weight crept back on.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I did not know how to eat properly. My solution was to eat what college kids ate and when the weight escalated, I would diet down to what I thought was an appropriate weight only to gain it back once I stopped dieting.
What prompted the change? I stepped on the scale one day and it said 224 pounds. At that point I had become so sick of dieting I couldn’t do it one more time so I said to myself, “I have to learn how to eat real food, and still enjoy myself.”
How did you lose the weight? With my mother’s encouragement, I decided to join a commercial weight loss program. With the support of the ladies in my group and my mentor, I was able to get to my goal of 155 pounds. After a while, counting points and managing my weight through exercise only got me so far. I oscillated, then got stuck and eventually saw the weight starting to come back on.
What exercise methods did you employ? I started with dancing initially, because that was the only thing that I could comfortably do, and then I graduated to Beach Body videos. Eventually I was introduced to the world of cycling, and it opened up a whole new world of opportunities to me.
Never in a million years would I have thought I could ride 25 miles on a bike when my car was fully functioning! Now that is an easy weekday ride for me. I have completed several 100-mile bike rides and I’ve even competed in some duathlons where you run, ride, then run again. I also started a social fitness group for women where I take them to experience alternative fitness workouts like trampoline, aerobics, pole, aerial yoga and aerial dance.
Did you have any “ah ha” moments along the way? To truly make peace with food I had to give up my quest for perfection-the all or nothing mentality. I had to focus on the fact that movement feels good to my body, that it makes me more alert, more patient and less stressed. I started paying attention to how foods affect my body, and started giving myself permission to eat foods that I wanted, within reason, without being subconsciously fearful that I would never get to eat it again because it was a “bad food.”
Current/future goals? I am currently training for my first half marathon in December and when I finish that I’ll make up my mind whether a half Ironman might be in my future.
Advice you’d give to other people struggling to lose weight? Know that it’s a journey, a process. You don’t have to be perfect to make progress. If you don’t quit, you WILL get there.