It’s probably safe to say that most women have body image issues. I know that as soon as I turned 30, the scale started to betray me, and since then, I have continued to fight with my ever-fluctuating weight. With obesity in America at all time high, I know that I am not alone, but the battleground can be a very lonely place.
I was looking for motivation, to connect with someone who has walked in my shoes and has overcome the same weight loss obstacles and body image issues that I am faced with.
Enter Brooklynite, Sheryl Yvette, the author of the award winning blog SherylYvette.com, A Neurotic Glamour Girl’s Weight Watchers Experience and Fitness Adventures. Sheryl Yvette, who can usually be found riding around town on her pink Hello Kitty cruiser, is the real deal.
She has had an amazing weight loss and lifestyle transformation, and candidly shares her stories, struggles and triumphs of her weight loss journey and fitness regimen through her namesake blog. She is an advocate and proud member of Weight Watchers, and credits the program for providing the tools that helped her to achieve and continue to maintain her goal weight.
A self-proclaimed yo-yo dieter, Sheryl Yvette, now a vegan, spent most of her life overweight and sedentary (you can see before photos on the blog too), at her heaviest she topped 200 pounds, and has since lost almost 75 pounds. In addition to her impressive weight loss, Sheryl Yvette also got off the couch and found an athlete lurking about. She now competes in some of the most grueling and challenging races she can find, including the Empire State Building Run-Up and the Down & Dirty 10k Mud Run. Currently, she is training for and earning a spot in the 2012 ING New York City Marathon.
Certainly, it’s all very impressive. But, what you can’t ignore is that Sheryl Yvette is also a woman of uncompromising style – her clothes, her hair, and her makeup, flawless, all the time. Who is this woman?
After spending embarrassing amounts of time on her blog, reading her personal stories and now feeling like she has become an old friend, I wanted to know more.
So, I reached out to Sheryl Yvette, asked her a bunch of questions that I couldn’t find answers to on her site and here’s how it went:
WYSK: What do you do for a living?
SY: During the day, I’m an Analyst in an IT department, but I want to do something in the weight management field. I was recently asked by Weight Watchers to be one of the contributing bloggers on the website. I was more than happy to say yes. It’s a huge honor for me, and a chance to reach and motivate even more people.
WYSK: What makes you a “neurotic” glamour girl?
SY: I’ve always had tendencies to be a tad obsessive and compulsive – in everything I do. It’s always been part of my personality and I’m not shy about admitting it.
WYSK: Why did you decide to start your blog and share your journey?
SY: I didn’t realize I’d be sharing my journey when I started. I initially began the blog because I had joined a gym. My joining Weight Watchers and trying to lose weight again wasn’t a big deal, but joining a gym? That was really out of character for me. The blog was how I showed my friends that I really was wearing sneakers and workout clothing — something they had never seen and some of them probably wouldn’t have believed without proof. I had no idea how much I would change or share or where the blog would go at the time, but I’m so glad I have it all documented.
WYSK: How does it feel to know that you are such a huge inspiration to others?
SY: It’s hard to put into words. I hear from readers every single day who tell me I inspired them – some join Weight Watchers, some did their first 5K and many buy bikes – because of me! That’s such an incredible thing to hear, I can’t even describe it. Sometimes I feel like they’re talking about someone else and then I realize they are talking about ME. I helped them make those changes! It’s humbling and flattering and an unexpected but rewarding part of my journey.
WYSK: Losing so much weight is a great accomplishment, but you have also completed some incredible races, rides, etc., how did you get turned on to fitness?
SY: Prior to 2006 I was incredibly sedentary — I didn’t walk more than a block without complaining about it. That’s why my joining a gym was such a big deal. I had no idea when I started working out that it would lead to where it has — me getting into the best shape of my life in my late 30’s. I never expected to become a cyclist, stair climber or runner either. It’s all pretty amazing to me. I guess I would say I turned myself on to fitness by just forcing myself to do it, and then I eventually got really into it. Nowadays I’d describe myself as a “fitness enthusiast”.
WYSK: Especially in a city like New York, there are yummy treats everywhere you turn, how do you stay on track?
SY: That’s a good question. It can be tricky for sure. The great thing about NYC is that there is anything you could possibly want pretty much at any time you want it. Of course that’s also dangerous if you’re not careful. But part of the journey is to learn your triggers and change your thinking or come up with strategies to manage those situations. Regardless of where you live or the situations you encounter, you can’t remove the temptations, so you have to change how you react to them.
WYSK: What is your greatest indulgence?
SY: I have a few: french fries, dark chocolate and beer. I lost weight while enjoying them and I will never give them up. I don’t believe in giving up anything you love. I may indulge in those things less often than I used to, but that makes them more special when I do have them.
WYSK: What keeps you motivated?
SY: One thing that initially motivated me was that I had turned 35 and it occurred to me that I had lost too much of my youth being heavy and unhealthy. That, combined with just facing my own mortality — the fact that I wouldn’t be alive forever — made me want to give myself a better quality of life and enjoy what I could. The knowledge and acceptance of my temporary existence still motivates me, but now I’m also motivated by my own success. I see how far I’ve come in just a few years and I enjoy looking for ways to challenge myself with new things and pushing myself a little bit more with the activities I already do.
WYSK: Throughout your blog you talk about wanting to work for Weight Watchers… have you ever thought of starting a program of your own?
Actually no, that never occurred to me. I really love and believe in the Weight Watchers program as it is. It’s a sensible approach to eating healthier and changing your life through your thinking and your choices. If I ever did consider my own plan, the only difference would be that it would be tailored to vegetarians and vegans.
WYSK: What’s next for you, maybe a Sheryl Yvette reality show?
SY: That’s hilarious! My Dad has been saying for years that I need a reality show and my friends are on board now too. It comes up in conversation pretty often. There are no plans in the works but if anyone wants to get in touch with me for a casting, they know where to find me.
Thank you Sheryl Yvette for showing us that one can overcome challenges and obstacles when it comes to weight loss and life with humor, style and grace.*Additional photos courtesy of Sheryl Yvette