I stopped weighing myself when the scale hit 282 pounds, so I will never know how much I weighed at my highest. My whole life had been a series of diets and bursts of exercise to lose weight. Id lose 90 pounds and gain back 80. Id lose 75 only to gain back 95. In 1999, I finally figured the key to getting control of my body and my weight: Dieting would never work for me in the long term I loved food far too much, so diets and deprivation always resulted in falling off the wagon. The answer was moderation and movement.

Being conscious of what I was eating and making smarter choices allowed the weight to come off in a healthy way for the very first time. I dreaded the thought of exercise, so I looked for what would be most effective in helping lose weight building muscles. In order to hold my feet to the fire, I found a personal trainer who held me accountable and taught me the right way to lift weights. I was becoming stronger every day and loving my new and powerful muscles.

Unfortunately, the only cardio activities I knew at the time walking, running, step classes and aerobics bored me to tears. And, although I hated it, I rode an exercise bicycle because I knew I needed to exercise my heart too. It wasn't long before I could see and feel not just the weight loss, but other exciting changes in my body. This was the first time that I had lost weight and could see muscles under the fat. My weight settled around 160 pounds a comfortable place for me at the time. I could eat what I wanted in moderation as long as I continued to move. I maintained this weight, as well as this exercise and eating pattern, for the next seven years. However, as anyone who has ever been overweight knows, the battle with food never completely ends.

Three years ago, at the end of a bad marriage, I found that I had not only gained 35 pounds (how did that happen?) but had slowed my exercise to a crawl. I knew it was time to start paying attention to my food again by making smarter choices. And, even more importantly, it was time to GET MOVING.

Within a month of beginning to exercise again, I attended my first Nia class. By the end of that first class, I knew I would some day teach Nia. Finally I had found a cardiovascular exercise that I loved. I had been smaller for almost 10 years, but this was the first time I ever felt really in touch with my body; what it could do and how much potential it had. With Nia in my life, I dropped those extra 35 pounds (and an additional 20 that I thought were a permanent part of my healthy body). Im now smaller and healthier than I ever thought I could be. More importantly, I love moving every single day.

I continue to look for new ways to move and have fun with my new body. A year ago, I began taking Pilates classes, and it didn't take long before my Nia students started asking me what I was doing differently. These are the people who stand behind me all day long looking at the parts of me that I cant see, and they were seeing something good. My body was getting longer and leaner, and I realized it was time for me to bring this to other people. I now teach Pilates in addition to Nia.

Exercising and eating in moderation have helped me lose more than 140 pounds, and now Im lucky enough to be able to share my knowledge with others. Its all about small steps that anyone can take. Move just a little more today, decide whether that bacon cheeseburger is worth it (for me, sometimes it is) and learn to make healthier choices you can transform your body, and your life, by taking small, consistent actions every day.