Tonian Zarrilli of Scarsdale, New York struggled with her weight her entire life. From overcoming depression after her divorce to finding love again, she shares her story of how Flywheel renewed her confidence, happiness and a sense of amazement at what her body is capable of. Read her story here.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with my weight. In the third grade I was considered overweight and by my senior year of high school, I was at an unhappy and lazy 180 pounds. I knew I needed to do something. I saw college as this new chapter in my life and I was ready to make the best of it!
Unfortunately, this “change” never happened. I remained lazy throughout college—no physical activity whatsoever. I was never big on exercise because it seemed that nothing was able to keep my attention for long, so I changed my eating habits instead. Name a diet and I tried it. I yo-yoed between The Military Diet, Atkins, Medifast, and Weight Watchers, losing about 30 pounds over the course of those four years.
After graduating, I settled into a relationship and quickly got engaged. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this relationship was emotionally, physically and mentally toxic. My partner at the time was a very unhealthy person, and in turn, I found myself settling back into old ways. I quickly gained the 30 pounds I lost during college and then hit an all-time high of 192 pounds.
Nine months before my wedding, I knew I had to do something about my weight. I returned to Weight Watchers, but this time I only lost seven pounds. I was unmotivated, unhappy, and it seemed like there was no relief in sight. My wedding day came and went, and soon thereafter, I found myself suffering from anxiety over my weight and other factors in life. I tried to get myself back to the gym and into a routine. I wasn’t accustomed to working out, and began to experience anxiety and panic attacks because my body and mind didn’t understand what was going on! Of course, this was all just another excuse I made to stop exerting myself.
Deep down, I knew I should have been doing something to lose weight, but I couldn’t find the drive. I found that my lack of self-esteem from being overweight put a huge strain on my relationship; I was miserable and short tempered. I didn’t feel attractive and that, amongst other factors, affected my marriage and ultimately led to divorce.
I began therapy to cope with the divorce, and one of the most valuable lessons I learned was the importance of caring about myself. I should want to take care of myself. Again, I told myself that this is a fresh start; time to really do something that would make me happy. Call it selfish; call it what you want, but for this first time, I started to put myself first.
I began eating healthy and incorporated exercise into my daily routine again. I worked out from home doing light weights and some cardio, but nothing too extreme. I began to not only see the weight come off gradually, but, I began to see a difference in my attitude. I was exuding positivity and even started dating again and walked around with a smile on my face. I had found a partner who also struggled with his weight in the past, but managed to now have it under control. We were able to fight the struggle together. We began to work out and cook together which made it all the more fun.
In November 2013, my boyfriend and I took a cruise to the Caribbean; it was then that we discovered Flywheel. When we were all settled on the cruise, my boyfriend and I decided to check out the fitness area and saw a sign-up sheet for an indoor cycling class. We had no idea what we were in for, but we figured we’d take a chance. At least we would feel less guilty about vacation splurges at the end! Little did we know that signing up for those four classes would change our lives forever. Is it strange that when I book my cruises now, a Flywheel presence is a huge deciding factor?!
When we showed up for our first class the next morning, we were shocked to see there were people dressed in FLYGear. I thought to myself, “OMG what is this? What did we sign up for?” There were multiple times throughout the class when I thought I was going to die, thinking “He wants me to go to 100 RPMs? Is he insane?” At the end of that first class, we were both dripping with sweat, but had a blast. It was actually the most fun I had working out. EVER. I’m naturally a very competitive person, and when I saw my name on the TorqBoard, I knew I had to push my hardest! Despite being sore that night, we showed up for the remaining three classes. When we got back to port, I quickly logged on to the Flywheel website to check my stats from the cruise ship classes.
We couldn’t believe our excitement when we found out that Flywheel Scarsdale was opening that January. A year later, I am that crazy person from the cruise ship, rocking my FLYgear with pride! I take class seriously and admit I get mad when I don’t do as well as I wanted on the TorqBoard. Wherever I am on Sunday evenings, I am able to book my bike for the week with the Flywheel App! I am thankful to Flywheel for the drive and determination I see in myself. Since I have been riding, I’ve experienced immense personal growth. My power score is 100 points higher now than my first class. Additionally, I’ve even incorporated FlyBarre into my weekly routine. I love knowing that I am constantly getting better, and the classes will always remain a challenge.
Both Flywheel and FlyBarre have completely transformed my body and mind. The weight that I was holding on to all these years finally came off. I now look forward to working out- something I never thought I would say! I finally feel attractive in my own skin and am so proud of where I am. I love the technology, checking my scores and stats after every class, and pushing towards my own goals and personal achievements. It’s ever better that I can enjoy Flywheel with my boyfriend…the couple that FLYs together, stays together! I love how instructor Victoria Frosini has an amazing ability to motivate each rider individually – her playlists and rides always push me to new highs and force me to take my body out of its comfort zone. Sometimes I shock myself after seeing what my body can do.
This fall, my boyfriend and I signed up and completed the first ever Flywheel Challenge. I had already been flying four to five times a week, so my main objective with the Challenge was to learn how to eat cleaner and maybe lose a few pounds while at it. Heather Bauer’s nutrition plan significantly changed the way I eat and approach food. I lost a total of seven pounds on the program and saw my mid-section (which has always been my problem area) flatten tremendously. My instructors, Victoria and Eve, were both available for any questions I had, which made this experience that much more complete. The Challenge has forever changed my approach to eating— I still carry around the guide that Heather provided and continue to cook her recipes and log my meals. At the end of the four weeks, I couldn’t wait to weigh in. The Challenge was the push I needed to help me hit a total weight loss of 55 pounds throughout my weight loss and fitness journey. I don’t know what I would do without Flywheel and am so thankful for how it’s changed my life.
Tonian, before and after her weight-loss journey began.
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