Chelsea Dozier couldn’t seem to kick the extra weight after her pregnancies.
After baby No. 3, Dozier said, her health was “in jeopardy.” At her heaviest, Dozier weighed 330 pounds. She had high blood pressure and was prediabetic.
It was hard to tackle everyday activities, like going to the grocery store or keeping up with her kids — ages 2, 6 and 9. Walking up the stairs left her winded. Leaving the house left her exhausted.
Doctors suggested weight-loss surgery for the Omaha woman. But Dozier, now 30, wanted to give diet and exercise a try first.
“I had never tried to exercise or diet before. I knew I had to do something,” she said.
Inspired by her aunt, who had success at Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping, Dozier signed up for a 10-week session at the La Vista location.
At home, Dozier overhauled her eating habits. Instead of fast food four or five days a week, she started making home-cooked meals. Candy and sweets are out as snacks. Also gone are the 12 cans of pop a day. Now Dozier eats four or five small meals that include lean meats, vegetables and some carbs.
A little more than two years later, the 5-foot-7-inch woman is down 115 pounds. She kicked the high blood pressure and is no longer at risk of diabetes. She overcame self-doubt in the gym thanks to the guidance from her gym family.
Now Dozier can keep up with her kids when they race in the backyard. She doesn’t skip grocery shopping, and she’s eager to attend her kids’ extracurricular activities.
“My body is capable of doing all these things now. ... I can do this now,” Dozier said. “There’s nothing holding me back.”
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Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: They’re 45-minute long classes. There’s kickboxing and strength training with cardio. In the beginning, I was there six days a week. Now I try to get there four or five days a week.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: Right now, I want to get stronger. I want to run faster and maintain my weight loss. I don’t want to go back, because I know how miserable I was.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: In May, I just ran my first half-marathon. I also traveled with friends from the gym to St. Louis for a Tough Mudder.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: The toughest hurdle has probably been the mental challenges — just learning to believe in myself again, to be more confident and really to love myself again. I was kind of in a dark place for a long time, but now I feel great.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: My gym family, my husband, my kids and friends. Everybody is so supportive. I come from kind of an overweight family, so it was just normal. When I stepped out of the norm, everybody was like, “What are you doing?” I had to do something. I couldn’t keep going down the road I was. I tell people all the time, “If I can do it, you can do it. Just put your mind to it.”
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: People trying to lift really heavy weight and then they’re not completing the exercise. If you would just drop the weight and complete the exercise, you get more benefits from the workout.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I’ve got these busy kids. Besides that, I really like being outside. We like camping and fishing. I like running 5Ks.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: I really like a really big water bottle full of ice water.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: I would tell them that you can’t out-train a bad diet. You have to eat healthy in order to perform. Small little steps in the right direction eventually will add up to big results.
Gymgoers share what motivates them, pet peeves and their proudest accomplishments
You never know who you might run into at the gym.
There's the man who's exercising as he waits for a heart transplant. Or the woman who's made Jazzercise workouts part of her life for more than 30 years.
Some workouts see moms accompanied by babies. Elsewhere you'll find folks well into their 90s who stick with exercise.
Check out their stories.