By Liana Jacob
THIS TEACHER whose three thousand calories-a-day vending machine addiction was finally crushed by her new obsession for pumping iron has become a bodybuilding inspiration for her students.
Teacher, Terri Nicole (26), from Florida, USA, had a lifestyle of binging on vending machine food, making her gain weight until one day she saw a picture of herself that spurred her to lose over three-and-a-half-stone in six months and has now sculpted a stunning bodybuilding physique.
Terri grew up in an unpredictable upbringing, bouncing from family to family when she was predominantly raised by her babysitters and random caregivers. This lifestyle motivated her to achieve her dreams and go to university, where she began binging on junk food, including fast food and vending machine snacks. She drank nothing but soft drinks that resulted in her weight peaking at 10st 5Ibs.
This would cause her to feel insecure, but it wasn’t until she saw a picture of her with her siblings that reality sunk in. Feeling disappointed, she turned to a fitness coach, she started going to the gym and now counts her calories and macro, which helped her shrink to a tiny 6st 11Ibs and has come third in a national bodybuilding competition.
“I first binged on vending machine food in my last year in of college, between January and December 2013 and even more so my last semester (August to December 2013) because I was a full-time student, full time intern and worked a full-time job as well,” Terri said.
“I would even post pictures on Instagram of my unhealthy eating habits because I never saw it as a problem, and even found it cool to spend five to ten dollars on the machines.
“I got hired on as a teacher from my internship during my last semester in November 2013 and graduated early as I still had to do on campus classes though until Dec when I was supposed to technically graduate.”
Terri explained how her childhood contributed to her junk food addiction.
“I grew up with a lot of adoption and bouncing around from house to house. I didn’t have the best childhood, but I feel like that helped me become successful as an adult,” she said.
“My siblings were given up for adoption and I actually just met them for the first time four years ago. My parents chose to keep me and then were unable to care for me, so I was raised by baby sitters and random caregivers.
“When I gained weight, I was devastated. I never weighed more than one-hundred-pounds and never was athletic or made healthy choices. I was just ‘naturally’ small.
“I saw Christmas photos that were taken with my siblings and I was embarrassed. I was huge. Knowing these were the photos that was going to be sent to my family made me realise I had to make a change.
“One day, I woke up and decided to stop drinking soda and start drinking water. I quit binge eating junk food and candy and began eating healthier. I also got my first gym membership.”
The turning point for Terri came when she found out about the sport that now plays such a huge part of her life.
“I’ve always been intrigued by bodybuilding especially after I initially lost all the weight. I never imagined in a million years I would ever make it to the stage,” she said.
“Over the summer of 2017, I tried really hard, but I kept failing as life would get in the way and needed someone to hold me accountable.
“So, I got a coach to help me with my posing and nutrition as it is a lot more than just ‘eating healthy’.
“I began working with my coaches when I was at 16 percent body fat and dropped down to five percent by the time I stepped on stage – not ideal or healthy for women but it was only for a short amount of time.
“I did my first show in December and placed third; only a few points away from placing second and being nationally qualified.
“Because I did so well in one of the biggest shows in Florida with women who had been competing for years, I’m stepping on stage again in May to do a steroid tested show and again in June.
“I’m not sure what I will do after these two shows or what the future holds but I love eating healthy, lifting weights and everything about prepping for a show while giving it one-hundred-and-ten percent. It’s something I am very passionate about.”
With her new passion for fitness and weight lifting, Terri says that her new attitude did not sit well with her friends and has even lost some friends because of it, but otherwise has been supported on social media, with over 16K Instagram followers.
“Losing weight made me more appreciative and I had to work for this – it wasn’t just given to me,” she said.
“I am happier. I feel good in my skin and am no longer self-conscious and love that I can inspire and help others.
“I quit drinking alcohol – except for special occasions. I quit drinking two litres of soda every day and I stopped eating candy and dozens of donuts.
“I’m a huge binge eater – I would eat until I got sick. Knowing this, I have to make conscious decisions when I do decide to have a ‘cheat’ meal.
“Some of my friends were not supportive of my fitness habits and teased me for eating healthy and exercising.
“Because of this, I lost a lot of friends and some of my family doesn’t even know how dedicated I am to the gym.
“Mostly people are VERY supportive and proud of me. I often get asked for advice and help anyone and everyone I can.
“My advice to anyone who wants to achieve a similar goal is not to give up. No matter what, don’t give up.”