Everyone has their own success stories with overcoming obesity, but not everyone goes through the same process and ends up with the same results. Bree Boyce, crowned Miss South Carolina in 2011, talks about her own journey. Bree shares how she went from being an overweight teenager to being in the Miss America Pageant. At 17 years old, with her highest weight at 234 lbs, being told that her knees and joints couldn’t handle the excessive weight anymore, she realized she had to make a crucial shift in her mindset and commit to the old-fashioned formula of hard work and discipline into a new healthy lifestyle. Discussing the many different diets that never worked for her, she shares about how we should eat healthy not because of the number. Instead, we should commit simply to become healthy. She is now an established premier advocate for health and fitness as well as childhood obesity.
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Overcoming Obesity Through A Healthy Lifestyle with Bree Boyce
We have a great show planned for you. My guest is Bree Boyce. She was crowned Miss South Carolina in 2011. Since then, she’s taken the nation by storm. Interestingly, Bree is not your typical titleholder. She once weighed 234 pounds and was struggling to breathe. At seventeen, she had reached her highest weight and started having health challenges. Her doctor warned her that her knees and joints couldn’t handle the excessive weight. She was placed on an inhaler to make it through the day. She was told that more serious problems were unavoidable if she didn’t slim down. After being on the diet roller coaster most of her teenage years, she finally made a crucial shift in her mindset that allowed her to make a lifestyle change that she could commit to. The old-fashioned formula of hard work, discipline and full commitment to a new lifestyle was Bree’s strategy for extraordinary success. She has established herself as a premier advocate for health, fitness and childhood obesity. Welcome to the show, Bree.
Thank you so much for having me.
You were a Miss America pageant contestant too, right?
I was. I competed for Miss America and I made it all the way to the top twelve.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you went from being an overweight teenager to being in the Miss America Pageant?[bctt tweet=”I’m eating healthy because I want to be healthy. It’s not about the number on the scale or the size of my jeans.” username=”CarolynCRossMD”]
It seems unreal at times when I even think back and see all the times that I’ve been through growing up and be competing for Miss America. You would have never told the twelve-year-old me that one day I’d be on stage in a bikini. It’s very surreal for me and surreal for others to even believe that I did it in this amount of time. To push forward to compete in a pageant is beyond my dreams and beyond anybody’s thoughts that I could ever do. It definitely was me at seventeen years old realizing that the doctor was giving me an ultimatum. He was saying, “The weight is going to affect you for the rest of your life. If you don’t get it off, you’re only seventeen years old, what are you going to be like when you’re 30 or 40 and you keep gaining the weight as you’ve done over the years?” I knew that I had to get it off and my parents couldn’t be the ones to do it for me. My brothers and my sister couldn’t do it for me. I had to set my mind to it.
When did you start having a problem with your weight?
I started having a problem around the age of seven. I was the baby of four. They all have body types where they could eat anything they wanted to and be thin. My body was completely different. I could eat a cheeseburger and you could tell the next day that I’ve been eating something very unhealthy. For me, I kept gaining the weight but our family didn’t know why I was getting the weight. My siblings eat the same thing and never had a problem. As the years went on, my family became so concerned with my health. Every single doctor’s visit or every single year, my weight would keep going up and up. My mom and dad enrolled me in an exercise program. They had me trying all these different diets trying to get me healthy. We didn’t realize that it was the unhealthy foods that our family was eating. The processed junk that we’re putting in our bodies. Just because they were thin didn’t necessarily mean that they were healthy.
You’re speaking my language here. This is what I preach as well. Two things that I think are important that you said. I want to reiterate that being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy because so much of the media focus on obesity is on the number on the scale. People who are thin don’t get told, “Change your diet because your diet is unhealthy.” Everybody thinks they’re fine, they’re thin. I think it’s so important that you brought that up. The other thing when you talk about is body types. I call this the genetic blueprint. You can be in a family where maybe everyone in your immediate family has a normal weight, but you may have taken after a grandmother or an aunt or someone else. Your genetic blueprint was different than your siblings and your parents. Most people growing up don’t realize that if you have that body type that’s going to gain weight, then you have to adjust your eating habits based on your body constitution.
It kills me all the time to hear people say, “I’m so thin. I can eat whatever I want to.” I want to scream at them and say, “Just because you’re thin, does not mean that you’re living a healthy lifestyle,” and that’s what it’s ultimately about is living a healthy lifestyle. I had to completely change the way I was living.
How did it affect you to be on all the diets though?
Being so young and my parents just trying to be helpful, thinking that these different diets would help. They had seen their friends have success with different types of programs. Then me going through that at such a young age and hanging out with my friends and then eating different things and me saying, “This isn’t on my diet,” it affects you whenever you’re young. Instead of saying, “You’re going to eat healthily. You’re going to eat these nutritious foods that fuel your body,” we had a completely different mindset. You don’t realize how that affects you in the long run because for so many years I would think, “I’ll just go on this diet and I’ll lose about 30 or 40 pounds. I’ll be okay.” You’re not being realistic because you can’t keep up with that lifestyle. You have to adjust your eating habits and the way you move. You have to adjust that to everyday life and something that you can keep up with until you’re 80 or 90 years old.
How did you come to the realization that the diets weren’t going to work for you and that you had to use the old-fashioned way?
I tried every diet out there and it all failed. I knew that none of those things work. I said, “If I want to do this and I want to get healthy, I’ve got to put it into perspective and realize that I will have to eat and live like this for the rest of my life because I’m different.” On my birthday, I want to have a slice of cake. That’s fine. Have a slice of cake, but know that it’s within moderation and you’re not eating the entire cake for your birthday as I used to do before. I would eat four or five slices. I have to realize that I’m eating healthy because I want to be healthy. It’s not about a number on the scale or the size in my jeans. It’s, “I want to be healthy and I want to live a long sustainable life.”
How did being overweight affect your self-esteem? Especially in middle school and high school where there’s so much attention to people’s weight, kids get teased and ostracized because of their weight. Did you have those experiences?[bctt tweet=”Don’t ever let anyone try and bring you down. ” username=”CarolynCRossMD”]
I definitely had many of those experiences. My self-esteem was very low but my form of coping was with making fun of myself with others. To be able to laugh with them and instead of them laughing at me. I would make jokes about myself. Then at the end of the day, I would come home and I would be so depressed and so upset with myself for allowing others to make myself laugh with them. That was hard for me. I was always the funny girl trying to compensate for my weight. I’m doing ridiculous things and then trying to be funny so people would like me. I was always teased on. I got stood up to my junior prom two days before prom. The guy called me and he was like, “I can’t go to prom with you.” I was devastated. I have my dress. I had an appointment for makeup and hair. I was so excited that I was actually going to prom.
Two days before, he called me and canceled and then I found out later that he’s getting teased, that people are making fun of him for going with the chubby girl. That hurt. To go through those experiences and to have people call you names going through school and different activities, having your peers look at you different and not being able to enjoy cool parties, that affects you. It affects you in the long run too because you always have those memories to get back on. That’s why I love doing what I’m doing and being able to speak out, especially to young kids and show them that you don’t have to let other’s words define how your life is going to turn out.
Have you seen that guy that stood you up since you became Miss South Carolina?
The funny story about that is I actually had not seen him since high school. Then I ran into him two days after I won the title of Miss South Carolina.
I’ve heard of instances where bullies who bully other kids because they’re overweight in school end up sometimes coming back and apologizing for that because they feel bad. Did that happen with him or no?
He said, “Hey,” and he walked away. I think he was a little nervous because where I live, everybody knows your name and they know your business. Everybody was so excited in my hometown that I had won Miss South Carolina and I was going to Miss America. All the media attention had everybody talking. When I ran into him, I think he was a little nervous. I’ve definitely gotten Facebook messages and friend requests from people that were so mean to me in elementary, middle school and high school. It’s weird for me to see these people want to be my friend. It’s strange.
How do you deal with that?
My dad always taught me, my brothers and my sister, that people can always say things to you, but you don’t have to take them for real. You don’t have to take those words into consideration, but never be rude or mean that to them because you will never have anything to regret. They’ll always have something to think about every time they see you or something comes up. They’ll always have those memories of being mean or rude to you. I always have treated everybody very kindly.
You even accept their friend requests?
I did. For me, it’s Facebook. If you want to see what I’m doing, then fine. I know who you are, you’re not a stalker. I wished well for everybody. Sometimes it can be a little downfall for me, but I’m a nice person. My dad always taught us to be very kind to others. If they come to me with an apology, I’m definitely going to accept it. I think it’s very important for kids especially that bullying is so big now to realize that you can let those people be bullies to you, but you don’t have to take those words into consideration. They mean nothing. You are who you are. As long as you believe in yourself and you know what your worth is, that’s all that matters. Don’t ever let anyone try and bring you down.[bctt tweet=”Believe in yourself and know that your worth is all that matters. ” username=”CarolynCRossMD”]
That’s a great message for kids. Many of them are suffering through these times. Were there other factors in your life that contributed to your weight problem or was it simply a matter of eating the wrong foods? Were there any emotional eating issues or issues that might have contributed to your overeating?
It definitely started off just me eating the wrong foods and the lack of exercise. Later on down the road, after trying different diets and always growing up with slim siblings and then being able to do whatever they want to. Then my family was always constantly on me for, “Maybe you should do this or maybe you should eat that.” It always was this elephant in the room that, “Bree will have the salad and we’ll have this.” Until my whole family decided to make a change, it’s when it hit home and we all changed. For a long time, I would go out and I would sneak food. I would eat as much of it as possible to hide from my family that I was eating these foods. Then the weight started to pile on even more. I would feel like, “I need this now because later on, I won’t be able to eat it in front of my family.” Every single opportunity that I got to hide and eat food, I would take that opportunity and I would eat as much as I wanted to. No matter if I was full or if I felt sick. I would eat until I had to stop until my family came home or I needed to leave my room. Being on a diet, it was one issue that I could never get away from. The moment I woke up that was about what I was going to eat, and if I was going to exercise. When I went to sleep, it’s like, “What was I going to do tomorrow?” It was this constant thing and it was always in my mind. It definitely became something emotional later on down the road, especially in my teen years.
What was the catalyst that made your family decide to actually make a change with you?
After I started eating healthier, cutting out soda and cutting out sugar and all the bad things, I started to drop weight. I went and met with a nutritionist. We spoke about why we need food. We don’t need it for comfort or because it tastes good, we need food to fuel our bodies. My whole entire family started to see that because they were thin, they weren’t healthy. My mom had high cholesterol and after the change, we went through as a family, my mom got off of cholesterol medicine and her cholesterol levels are perfect. The whole entire family saw that we’re eating a certain amount of food or eating fast food and eating a small amount of it or eating differently than I did and didn’t mean that they were healthy. They had different body types, they could handle food better. We also realize that food isn’t for comfort, it’s for fueling your body.
I think that’s the best and most important factor, especially for kids. Many families do what you did. They focus on the child who has the weight problem, without realizing that the whole family has to make a change. That’s how kids can be supported in reaching a healthy way is if the family does it together, not them saying, “You eat salads while we have a burger.” I’ve heard that over and over. I want to talk more about how you have developed your experience into your platform that you speak about all over the place. I wondered here you are, a young woman who was bullied in school, who’s had a lot of negative experiences because of your weight. Then you won Miss South Carolina, did that change you in any way?
Absolutely not. People always say that they’ve known me for years and they say, “It’s so funny because after you lost the weight, we thought that you would be a different person but you look different on the outside. You seem happier and you seem more confident.” Those are definitely two things that have changed since I lost the weight and won Miss South Carolina. I do definitely have a lot more confidence. I believe in myself a lot more than I did before, but I’m still the same person I was. I have a lot more confidence and I believe in myself.
You do have a great story and you had so much success. A lot of it on the surface revolves around you losing the weight. That was almost a prerequisite before you could enter into the beauty pageant. A lot of my patients do believe that if they could get them, their whole lives would turn around and that they’d find the perfect guy. They’d make more money and they’d be more successful. What do you say to people who are desperately doing anything and sometimes developing eating disorders just to lose weight because they think it will fix their lives?
If you’re not emotionally well, it will not fix that. It’s fixing physically and then you have to work through that emotional stuff first. That is definitely the one thing that I realized was I had to get healthy for me and nobody else. If I wanted to be happy and healthy, it had to be long-term and not something short-lived. I started every single day for a year and I continuously do this. I started this at seventeen years old. I would look in the mirror every morning when I woke up regardless of how I felt and I would tell myself that, “I was smart beautiful and important.” Every morning I get up and it’s like clockwork. I don’t even think about it. It just happens. I think that’s very important for people to realize that they need to work through the emotional stuff before they can work on their physical side.
If they think that losing weight will get you a boyfriend, I can tell you now that I don’t have a boyfriend. I’m too busy to even have a boyfriend or have a relationship. You have to find what your calling is and work for it every single day. Don’t make it something that’s going to make you unhappy. I know that you can take it to the extreme. You can move away and then you can form an eating disorder because there were times when I was about to compete for Miss America that had all these people in my head telling me, “You need to look a little bit better. You need to have a little less jiggle. You need to work on this loose skin a little bit more.” That affects somebody’s mind. I would have to put myself back into reality and say, “I’m living a healthy lifestyle. I don’t need to let these people make me restrict the more calories or workout extra times a day.” I started to go down that road. I said, “I’ve overcome obesity. I can’t go down another road, another path because I need to stay on the healthy path.”
These people were advisers of yours or people in the pageant world?
Different people in the pageant world. There’s always the stereotypical pageant and body type. That was one of the main reasons I competed for Miss South Carolina was because I wanted to change that perspective that people had of pageant girls. You don’t have to be a double zero or a supermodel your whole life to be able to compete for Miss America. You can be a normal person who’s had struggles and overcome them.
Why did you decide to take on the obesity issue as part of your platform? You could have just become a pageant winner and probably nobody said to people in your hometown would have known that you had a weight problem before.
I first started competing one year before I won Miss South Carolina. I competed twice. On my second year, I won. The first year I competed, I had only lost about 85, 90 pounds. I wasn’t even at my ideal weight and where I wanted to be. The Miss America Organization allows all the young women competing to have a platform, something that is personal to them. I’ve battled with, “Should I go with something that is generic and everybody wants to hear about or should I be honest, vulnerable and show everybody that here’s my story? Take it for what you want it to be. Help others who are going through what I went through.” I always constantly had this voice in my head saying, “You need to do it. You need to go through it. You need to tell everybody what you went through. Don’t hold anything back.” There are so many people struggling and especially young kids.[bctt tweet=”Pageant girls don’t have to be a double zero or a supermodel your whole life to be able to compete for Miss America. You can be a normal person who’s had struggles.” username=”CarolynCRossMD”]
What are you hearing as you travel around the country from kids and teenagers about what’s going on in their lives around this issue?
“Thank you for coming out and speaking to us because I’ve been dealing with my weight. People picking on me and you made me feel like I can do anything.” I always tell the kids, “Whenever you get out of middle school, junior high and high school, you’re going to look back and you’re going to say, ‘I can’t believe I let words of those people affect me because there’s so much more to life.’” You think those are the worst times I’m going through in high school. You think it’s the end of the world when somebody says something to you. When you actually get out in the real world and you start to go to college and you’re doing different things, you start to become your own. Those things don’t even matter what happened to you in the past. They affect you, but it’s how you allow them to affect you.
Are there any kids, teenagers or people that you’ve met in your travels who touched you and inspired you?
I got an email from a mother of a child that I spoke to her school. She said, “I wanted to thank you so much for coming and speaking to my daughter’s school because it’s almost been a year and she has lost almost 85 pounds. It’s because of you that she decided to make that lifestyle change.” To have those stories and to hear about that and to know that you’re making a difference, that is why I do what I do. That is why I’m so vulnerable, and I don’t hold anything back because I know that I can ultimately help a lot of people.
What about the kids that you’re hearing from who are saying, “I am trying to lose weight, but I can’t seem to do it. I keep regaining the weight?” What hope are you able to give them?
It’s all about positive reinforcement. Whenever I hear that, I let them know how awesome they are. I literally would be like, “What can we do? You need to email me every day and have somebody to check in with. Do you need me to write you out a diet plan that works for your lifestyle?” Especially in my hometown a lot of kids will say, “Will you go walking on the trail with me?” If I’m home, I would definitely go out and walk on the trail with them. I try and be that person who isn’t pushing something down their throats. They’re going to hear something they’re going to rebel against it. It’s the nature of the beast. When you were a kid, you don’t want to listen to adults and what they have to say. Being that person that can relate to them say, “I’ve been there. I’ve lost the weight, I’ve gained it back. Have failed on so many diets and thought that I would never get to where I wanted to be. You stick with it and believe in yourself.” That’s the most important thing. The younger generation, they don’t believe in themselves.
Why do you think that is?
There’s a constant thing people are saying that you can’t and you won’t. It’s sad because you think that adults especially that are so impactful in young kids lives, especially teachers and different coaches and everything. You would think that the kids would get it. They are good enough but a lot of times you hear of cases where teachers even belittle kids. You have so much bullying going on and even more so than whenever I was in school. It’s scary to think about how many kids are getting bullied every single day and that is stomping on their self-worth all the time. Making them think that they aren’t good enough. Then you have society saying, “If you don’t look like this model on the cover of this magazine then you’re not good enough for it. You’re not as successful as this person. You’re not good enough.” It’s that constant society thing. Everyone needs to have a check and say, “We need to be supportive of each other. We need to help each other through any struggle that someone may be going through.” That’s the most important thing is having society accept that not everybody’s perfect.
What do you say to parents who have pulled the health card and said, “I want my kid to lose weight because I want them to be healthy, I know they can’t be successful if they don’t lose weight?” That’s how they justify putting them on a diet and doing some of the same things that you went through.
You can be overweight and successful. You see many people who are overweight and have successful jobs. A lot of times, people let being overweight affect them and how they are successful. Somebody may be successful in a huge business, but that doesn’t mean they’re successful health-wise. They may be struggling with that because how they look on the outside and how much money they have in their pocket doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re successful. When parents say that, I’m taking back a little bit because for me, you want your kid to get healthy so that they’re healthy and they have a long and sustainable life. Not because you want them to be successful in a job or successful in school. You want them to be healthy so that you have them around for years to come.
One of the messages that medicine and society has given to parents, and even pediatricians who work with parents is that you cannot be healthy unless you are thin. I don’t know how you feel about that Health at Every Size Movement, which says that you don’t have to be thin to be healthy. Everybody has different body types and while reaching a healthy weight for one person may mean getting down to a size four or six, for another person may be being a size twelve.
Everyone is so fixated on the BMI. They think, “I typed it in and it calculated I’m obese.” Sometimes they are healthy and living a healthy lifestyle and they’re not considered obese. Many people rely on that BMI scale. We need to get away from that and focus on, “Are you eating the right foods? Are you getting daily exercise? Are you meditating? Are you doing all these things to keep yourself in check?” and to make sure that you’re living a healthy lifestyle every single day? It’s not about that number on a scale and it’s not about the size of your jeans. “Are you taking care of yourself?” ultimately needs to be the question.
I like the fact that you’re including other things besides the weight. What are these things that you learned to do to take care of yourself, especially given your hectic schedule?
I definitely have to find the balance because for me, every day is different. One day I might be on the East Coast and the next day I might be home on the West Coast. For me, it’s having a schedule and knowing that I have to get my meditation to find that balance and to reach for a higher power and ask God for help every single day.
Has it been difficult to adjust to being so well-known, so famous, so in the media?
It has been very hard to adjust to that. There’s always the good and bad in everything. The good is that I’m helping people, but the bad is you’re always in the public eye. People are watching you like hawks.
Do you ever think that people are watching you thinking, “She’s going to gain it back?” Like what happened with Oprah.
Yes, all the time. At first, that was a constant fear of, “Am I going to let people down? Am I going to fail?” I had to put myself back in to check and say, “This is the way I live. I’m not going to gain the weight back.” There’s no way I can gain the weight back if I continue to eat healthily and live the way that I live. I don’t need to worry about what others may think I might do.
You’ve been traveling around the country and inspiring so many people. I wanted to ask you who inspires you?
The person that inspires me the most is my grandfather. He is in his late 80s. He’s almost 87 and he had to quit school in the sixth grade to support his family. Nobody would have ever thought that later down the road he would have a successful business for over 60 years. It showed me especially as a young girl that no matter what challenges life may present to you, you can always overcome them as long as you’re willing to put in the work. He always inspired me and still does to this day.
We talked about some of the lifestyle things that you do to stay healthy and try to stay in balance. Who or what is your biggest source of strength in your life? When times get bad and you’re feeling a little down, where do you reach for strength?
I definitely reach for strength through my faith. That is number one because when nobody’s around to talk to you, you always have God to be there. I always called on Him to help me through the toughest of times. My family and my friends have always been there. They’re my biggest supporters so I can always call on any of them.[bctt tweet=”The question is neither about the number on the scale nor about the size of your jeans, but are you taking care of yourself.” username=”CarolynCRossMD”]
What challenges do you see ahead for you? You’ve overcome a huge challenge at a very young age. What challenges are you struggling with in your life?
It’s definitely having people see me more as the girl who was in a pageant, who lost the weight. Being able to get out there and to show people that I’m ultimately doing this to help others and to help kids that are going through the same things that I went through. It’s not all about the glitz and the glamour of the beauty pageant. I’m much more than that. I want to get my message out there and the challenge is having people look past that a little bit and to see that I am an advocate for health and wellness.
Do you feel you’re being limited by their view of you as a pageant winner?
In some areas. I’ve definitely broken through a lot within the past months, which is great. People are starting to see and take me seriously, which is awesome. It’s so hard for people to break down that wall of the beauty queen exterior and to see them ultimately trying to help people.
I wonder you’re talking about beauty queen exterior if in some ways it was easier to have that weight on as compared to being a beautiful woman and that has its own challenges?
It’s hard for me because people will still tell me to this day they’ll say, “You’re so beautiful and gorgeous.” Sometimes I have to take a step back because I never felt that way growing up. To have people tell me that is like, “That’s a great compliment. I’m glad that they think that way.” Whenever you’re younger and you go through all those emotional stages, you don’t feel beautiful. When people start to tell you that, it’s hard for you to accept that when you know it and you feel it. In the back of your mind you have that young girl coming out that wants to say, “No, you’re not.” I have to continuously put myself into check.
There were certainly challenges of being overweight and there are certainly challenges of being thin and beautiful too. One of which is not being taken seriously. What would you say to the twelve-year-old that you were knowing what you know?
Believe in yourself and don’t let others’ words affect you, because there’s so much more to life than what you’re going through. Definitely, persevere through the hard times and you’ll get there.
It’s the shortsightedness of you. If only we could look into the future, I think a lot of problems could be easily solved.
Sometimes I look back and laugh at the things I thought were the end of the world.
We’ve talked mostly about the past. Tell us about what your future is involved with? What are you doing and what’s coming out for you?
I’m excited about the future. I gave up my title of Miss South Carolina. I immediately started working with people in California. Perfecting my message and getting it to a point where it could be brought to people in the situation that I was in with the media. It’s important to bring it back up and to not let people forget that it is such an important message. I started the One-Step with Bree campaign and it’s an online community for people of all ages. The goal in mind is to share their own steps towards becoming a better person physically and emotionally. You can share those steps, and you can put your location and where you’re from. Maybe meet up with somebody that is near you and you can meet up at a coffee shop and share your own struggles and have that support system. It encourages people to take one step every single day. You don’t have to start off being a marathon runner or completely cutting out all the things that you eat, but take one simple step to become who you want to be every single day. You’ll eventually get there.
If people want to find out more about that, how do they go about doing that?
My website is BreeBoyce.com. They can find out more information on how to reach me. I’m still speaking to schools, organizations, conferences and events all over the US. If you want to schedule or book me for some motivational speaking, you can get all the info there and get in touch with my manager. All that info is there that you need.
Tell us a little bit more about the lifestyle you’ve adopted. Your eating has changed because you’re not eating junk food anymore, but what eating plan do you follow?
A very healthy clean and natural diet. Anything grown from the ground is good for you. It was meant for you to eat. I eat a lot of veggies, a lot of fruits, a lot of lean protein, complex carbs. I make sure that my diet is very balanced and that it stays consistent. I’m not one day eating very low and the next day eating very high calories. It’s all about consistency and staying focused. If you lose sight to all these advertising gimmicks that they have out there for all the fast food and buy one get two hamburgers for free and supersizing, if you fall into that then you’re not doing what you need to do. It’s so important for us to realize that our ancestors didn’t eat that way, so why should we? They were perfect. They didn’t have problems as we do. For me, it’s about eating healthy and understanding what I’m eating. I try and eat everything that doesn’t have a label. It’s been a very big challenge, but I’ve been adamant on sticking with that and sticking with knowing what I’m eating and not putting junk into my body.[bctt tweet=”Just take one simple step to becoming who you want to be and you’ll eventually get there. ” username=”CarolynCRossMD”]
What kind of exercise do you do?
When I first started losing weight, I thought more exercise, the more weight will come off and that’s true, but you can definitely burn out and you can tire your body out. It was important for me to realize that it’s not all about food moderation, but so as exercise. Every single day I work out for an hour. If I want to go to a Zumba class or something and have fun, I’ll add that in. It’s all about keeping it fun and keeping it where you don’t get burned out. Traveling for me has been very hard. My dad always told me if it is important to you, you will make some time for it. My health is definitely important to me and so I make time for exercise every single day.
That’s amazing that you can do that given all your traveling.
We’ll schedule out an hour in my schedule every day and try and make it work. Some days I’m not successful, but I brushed it off and I’ll start over the next day.
Have you actually worked individually with any people who are struggling with their weight like as a coach? Is that a go for you or is that something different than what you’re going for?
I’ve definitely worked individually with a few young kids in my hometown. I will meet up with them and talk with them. I actually have notes, written out good things for them to eat and things to buy at the grocery store. To try new and different things that they would never try before. I go walk with them and we’ll talk. I’ve definitely done that in the past and I still continue to do that. It is definitely something I would be interested in doing in the future. After all the traveling slows down because ultimately I want to help people and if it means individually then that’s great, but if it means a large group, that’s even better. I want to get the message out there and help people.
Do you have a book?
Yes, it’s coming out soon. I’m very excited about a lot of people that hear me speak or talk to me through interviews, they don’t get to know how my whole entire life was because that would take so many hours. In this book, it goes in the depths of all the things that I went through as a young girl physically and emotionally. It’s so open, truthful and vulnerable. It’s going to be amazing and I’m so excited for people to read it. It’s going to help people see, “This is the real girl. She’s the real deal. She’s not the girl who walked away to compete in a pageant.” I didn’t lose the weight to compete in a pageant, I lost the weight first and then decided to compete in the pageant to have a bigger voice. To be able to speak to others about the platform.
I want to reiterate what you said because it’s important. Many people are losing weight for a purpose that they think will serve them, it will make them better or more lovable. I like the fact that you said you lost weight because you wanted to get healthy and then decided from there, “Here’s what I want to do.”
That was never the priority. Growing up, it always would have been great to compete in pageants. I always watch Miss America as a little girl. For me, I never had that on my mind that I’m going to lose weight so I can compete in a pageant. That was never the issue. For me, it was I want to be healthy and be able to live a long life and not be in pain and have all these health issues.
Do you have any interaction with Michelle Obama’s program or any of the other national groups who are trying to work on childhood obesity?
I’m a member of Obesity Action Coalition. I have worked with the Let’s Move! Campaign in several instances. Michelle Obama has written me twice on my efforts to end childhood obesity. I have worked with her program in several schools in South Carolina. I have gotten up and embarrass myself and have done the Move Your Body dance with kids in school. I am not a dancer so I definitely put in the effort and embarrassed myself in trying to help others. I definitely worked with a lot of organizations. I’ve been humbly blessed to be able to be in this position and to be able to work with so many great organizations.
I’m so glad that you’re taking a message that’s something that is whole and healthy. It’s not about the number on the scale, which is what so many kids have been told. I like the fact that your message is about health, which is the reason that we should all be doing things differently. I want to thank you for being on the show.
Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
It’s been a great pleasure for me to talk to you as well. I want to also thank my audience. I’ll talk to you in our next episode. Until then, I wish you good health and vitality.
About Bree Boyce
Bree Boyce is former Miss South Carolina 2011 and top 12 finalist at Miss America. Now offering private consultations to help you win your next pageant.