How an Amusement Park Changed My Life
Here’s something you didn’t know—I ended up here totally unplanned. My intention was to retire from my corporate career, but instead I did a last-minute pivot to pursue my passion and purpose: transforming lives and inspiring others to create optimal health and well-being in their lives. I would have never thought 11 years ago, being 130 pounds overweight, that I would be changing HUNDREDS of lives! It’s been quite the ride, and I’ve never looked back. Why would I? I love what I do! When we get out of our heads and into our hearts, that’s when the magic happens. Life begins to change in innumerable ways.
My story begins with a simple decision almost 11 years ago that had a profound impact on my life, in ways I would have never imagined.
I remember that day vividly. What was supposed to be a day of fun, laughter and memories turned into a day of tears, sadness and shame. But it was a traumatic moment that changed my life forever. It was my son’s school picnic at a popular amusement park in Pittsburgh. He was so excited to go on his favorite ride, “The Racer,” and he couldn’t wait.
We arrived at the park and headed straight there. We anxiously waited in line. The coaster car pulled up and he stepped in. And then at that moment my life changed forever. I stepped into the car and almost didn’t fit. The attendant had to literally shove the bar down. It was the most mortifying moment of my life. Not only for me, but also for my son. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I held back the tears as the roller coaster started to take off. When we returned to the terminal and it was time to exit the ride, I could barely get out of the seat car. My son didn’t say a word to me when we got off the ride. I knew in my heart he was hurting for me and he was embarrassed. I immediately ran to the bathroom and broke into tears. I did not want my son to see me like this. What had I done? How did I let myself get like this? I couldn’t bear the embarrassment again, so I told my son I was not feeling well. I could see his disappointment. I sat on a bench the rest of the day, reflecting.
I was only 43 years old and I was morbidly obese, prediabetic, at high risk of heart disease, with no energy, no self-esteem, a withering career, and an unhealthy marriage, all of which left me with no confidence and on the verge of depression. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
At an all-time low point in my life, it was evident I had to get off this other roller coaster of fad diets and embrace a complete new lifestyle.
I needed to take self-responsibility. So, what if it took me a year to do it? I had my whole life ahead of me and, more importantly, I had a 13-year-old son who needed his mother. I wanted to watch him grow into a man, to see him get married, to be here for my grandchildren someday. I wanted to be able to walk without my knees aching. I wanted to have energy. I wanted to feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I wanted vibrancy and health. I wanted a REAL life.
My journey began the very next day, with me taking control of my life and embracing this uncharted territory called “healthy living.” No more hitting the pause button. No more wishing “if only.” No more excuses. It would be nice to say it went smoothly, but it did not. Life is going to happen, and it can be unpredictable, always presenting new challenges and obstacles along the way. But a health program taught me how to jump those hurdles, even if I couldn’t get over them the first time. I knew that returning to the old life, the girl who couldn’t fit in the roller-coaster seat, was not an option.
So I persevered. Over the next year and a half, I was free of 130 pounds and transformed from someone who was barely surviving to an award-winning fitness athlete, Olympic triathlete, personal trainer, half-marathoner and having the honor of being awarded the 2019 Excellence Award in Health and Fitness and the 2019 Woman-Owned Business of the Year in my community.
That’s not the end of my story.
Though my leadership career was soaring, I still found myself empty inside. I realized this wasn’t a lifestyle I could keep to myself. I had to pursue my passion and purpose and help others get to this place.
I know there are so many others out there like the old me. Tired. Disappointed. Beaten up by life. I want to speak directly to you.
I know how you are feeling, I know what you are thinking. You feel like you are being held captive in your own body and there is no way out. You know deep down it’s time for a major change, but just don’t know how to make it happen. What to do? Where to even start? I know.
Remember—I was the YOU that made the decision to take charge. That decision changed my life. You can have the life you want. Know this: I’m here and I would be honored to be part of your journey!
Everyone wants to lose weight and look good, but when you dig deep and uncover the real reasons why—that’s when you hit gold. That’s the point where self-realization meets nutrition and exercise. It’s not about a quick fix. It’s about shifting to a healthier lifestyle that you never want to quit.
Learn more about Maria’s Coaching Philosophy
Experience You Can Trust
During the course of my journey, it became my passion and purpose to help others transition into a healthier lifestyle. My real-life experience of overcoming a lifetime struggle of emotional and disordered eating is the foundation of my success with my clients.
I am a Certified Lifestyle Weight Management Coach, Holistic Nutritionist, and Keynote Speaker. Holding certifications from the ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) in Fitness Training and Sports Nutrition and NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association) in Lifestyle Weight Management. In addition, I am a Master Health Coach (NHWCB approved) for Precision Nutrition, an international organization comprised of the world’s top nutritionists and lifestyle coaches. Furthermore, I am a Certified Master Trainer for the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Prevention Program and a member of the Women’s Speakers Association.
Stop Pressing the Pause Button! Life is always going to be there.
Start your journey with Maria.