Skilling said she had tried several times to lose and found that nothing was really working for her. "I joined a gym and hated every minute of it," she said. "We even have a treadmill and elliptical in the basement" but that too just wasn't enough to get her going. Unable to find the power within herself she found the strength in a higher power.
"My pasture gave a sermon on why resolutions fail. He said 'its easy to make a promise to yourself and let yourself down. Instead, why not make a promise to God. It's much harder to let him down.
Doing it for a cause bigger than her self provided her with the drive to get back to the gym. This time she thought it was going to be different. Sadly a few months later her visits to the gym decreased. "I was losing interest because I wasn't seeing results as fast as I wanted."
Then everything changed when a friend had invited her to attend a Zumba® class. She attended her first class on April 25, 2011. She remembers at first struggling physically and mentally. "At 330-plus pounds just standing for an hour was hard, never mind dancing," she said
Despite the difficulty, she continued to return to class. Fast forward three years and Skilling is not only still doing Zumba® but has been a certified instructor for over two years.
April marks the anniversary of her journey with Zumba® and she is constantly reminded of how far she has come with an annual photo. However, this also reminds her of the psychological struggle put herself through. "When you are over weight it takes courage to go to a gym or go to a class. I already felt self conscious about my body and now others were going to be looking at me, making judgments," she remembered. I had to get passed the that and be proud of the fact that I was taking the steps to becoming a healthier and happier person."
Having lost so much weight has changed her life and now allows her to do things she has always wanted and dreamed of doing. In the last year alone she has completed two 5K runs and plans on running another one this fall. But more importantly, she is now able to do some of the simpler things that we sometimes take for granted like just sitting on the floor - something that she truly has grown to love doing with her students in her classroom.
Flying in planes is now easier and more comfortable without the need of an extension pieces for her seat belts. Skilling's life changing experience has also lead her to an active life of exciting activities which have included zip lining and skiing for the first time ever.
For her the door has been opened. Less of saying no to things that she would like to try and a lot more of saying yes. "I would love to get down to 165lbs," she said. That is what she weighed in sixth grade.
So what advice does she have for others trying to regain control of their body weight? "Don't look at the big goal - you will only get discouraged," she urges people. "Set small goals." Every time she hit one of her benchmarks she would take a photo and place it in her scrapbook.
Another piece of advice she wants people to walk away from her story is to find a family - a group that makes you feel good and gets you motivated to keep coming back for more. "Going to class gave me friends - something I lacked, and these friends kept me coming back.," she said. "It provided socialness. We would laugh and have fun. The working out part - well that was just a bonus."
Skilling has been so successful in her weight loss endeavors that she had lost 40% of her original body weight faster than her skin could recover. Which translates to loose skin hanging off her body that was once filled with fat. After a long internal debate she finally decided to get surgery done to remove the loose skin which was causing pain and discomfort when she worked out. "I wanted to fix it on my own," she said but then remembered that she was never really on her own. "I had my family, friends and God all backing me up."
Throughout the course of the last three years she has learned that there is really no right way or one way to lose weight. She also has come to understand that there are ups and downs along the way and that "you will slip up - you will get that flat tire."
The challenge is to all yourself the forgiveness of your slip up and continue on to your destination. Skilling remembers when her doctor used to inform her yearly that her tests came back fine but his only concern was her weight. An issue that he said would only change once she was ready to make a change - once she really wanted it. "And three years ago, I decided that I wanted it, she said.
Nowadays one could say Skilling has caught the workout bug. In addition to Zumba® she now does a variety of workout routines that include Bokwa®, P90X, Butts and Guts, and even running.
Want to know more about Skilling's workout check out her instructor page - http://meganskilling.zumba.com/.