The Aha! Moments

These are the moments that have shaped Briana's health and life.

no more ‘little red pills’

It started with my surprise 16th birthday party, the end of sophomore year in high school, when I received a ‘fat birthday’ card.  I realized I needed to do something, but I didn’t know where to begin.

A few of the other chubby girls from high school started taking diet pills, we called them the ‘little red pills.’ I decided I would give them a try.  The pills curbed my appetite, gave me more energy and I started to lose a little bit of weight.  I continued to take them because I didn’t notice any harm or feel any side effects. However, one night during my junior year, while hostessing at a restaurant, I started to feel nauseous, sick, and I felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest.  My co-workers thought I was going to have a heart attack and called the paramedics.   The paramedics sat me in the ambulance, asked me multiple questions, ran a bunch of tests, and came to the conclusion the ‘little red pills’ were negatively affecting my heartbeat.

That moment I knew it was time to make a change . . .

A boss of mine had a massive heart attack in his early 30's

Senior year in high school, I started working part time at The Fitness Edge. I took on a side job babysitting for one of the managers, nights and weekends. One day while I was babysitting for the family I received a call that the child's father had a massive heart attack and had passed away. 

After his death, I realized I needed to do something about myself. 'How could someone so young, an athlete, have a heart attack and die?' I said to myself... 'Since I am working in a gym, maybe I should work on my appearance.' So I signed up with a trainer.

I lost 40 pounds, regained them, and continued the pattern, over and over

While still working at the Fitness Edge, I accepted a position at Wild Oats, a chain of leading natural health food stores.  I started to learn more about supplements, herbs, wheat grass, smoothies, juicing, and much more.   Over the course of the first six months, I gained two mentors, who knew a lot about alternative medicine and supplements.  I started experimenting with multiple supplements, wheat grass shots,  and approaches to working out at the Fitness Edge.   Supplements, juicing, starving myself, binge eating – I never fully got the concept of balance.  I lost 40 pounds, and then gained it back, over and over . . .

After looking at a photo of myself, I realized I would have to do something if I were ever going to be successful in the personal training industry

Working for one of the largest health clubs in the northeast, as a personal trainer weighing 260 pounds, I felt I was hired because I was willing to work the 5 a.m. start times and clean the machines.  I had no serious motivation to become a personal trainer until I started the education process.  Six months after being hired, I took a trip to Bermuda.  After returning, I gazed and gazed at a picture of myself, and it made me question how I would ever succeed.  I was gaining the knowledge, however I didn’t have the look to go with the knowledge. ‘How am I possibly going to do this on my own?’ I thought.  ‘I have never been successful on my own,’ and I started looking around for help.  My choice was among three trainers – a man who looked scary, a woman half my size, and my boss, a former professional fitness model.  I felt I needed someone who was going to teach me all the strategies and motivations behind weight loss.  I chose my mentor, the one who had seemed scary, and he led me on my journey.  I bought personal training sessions with him, trained with him two to three times a week, and took in all his theories of nutrition. I was very strict with what I put in my mouth and kept daily logs on food and water intake, exercises and sleep patterns. It wasn’t until I lost my first 60 pounds that my mentor started to believe that I was “in the game” and wanted to get to the end.

My first outdoor run

One Monday my mentor looked at me, at a weight of 200 pounds, and said, that Thursday, we would go for a run outside to Calf Pasture Beach.  I thought, ‘How can someone who is still 200 pounds and has just begun her weight loss journey go outside and run?’   All week I was so nervous.  Telling him, ‘I just can’t do this! I am not ready yet,’ I even took my car and clocked the distance (6+ miles!). I had increased anxiety, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t eat well, my water intake decreased. The day before the run, he prepped me on what I needed to do – eating, drinking, and so on.  The morning of the run, I was anxious, but excited for the experience, and I knew that I could walk it if I had to.  Once we made it halfway through, to Calf Pasture Beach, and began the return, I started to feel a profound sense of accomplishment.  Since I hadn’t even thought of walking during the first half, ‘let’s try to go all the way,’ I said to myself. ‘You can do this.’  I jogged all the way back...


That was the moment I knew I could do anything!