Guess what? As of an hour ago, I am officially credit card debt free! Why is this SUCH a big deal? Well let's go back a few years...
August 2009, my boyfriend Syed, who I'd been with for 4 years and who was living with me and my daughter Novali, had decided that he wasn't happy anymore in our relationship. We broke up and he moved out. I was heartbroken, devastated. I thought this was the man I would spend the rest of my life with! I suddenly found myself alone with my 8 year old daughter, with rent and bills to pay on my own. I had a job, a good career in fact. But I also had LOADS of credit card debt. I'm talking 10s of thousands of dollars, which I hate admitting. I hadn't been the most financially responsible person in my 20s and I'd racked up charges on close to 10 credit cards. I also had an expensive car loan and about $90K in student loans. See I used to take out the max allowable in student loans every year in undergrad to help pay my parent's bills and mortgage. Then I went to a private college for my Master's degree. So I had a lot of debt. I'd been working super hard the previous 2 years, making sure I didn't have any late payments and I'd almost improved my credit score enough to qualify for a home loan! Then, like I said, I found myself alone and I couldn't make ends meet. The credit cards were the first thing I stopped paying. I suddenly had bill collectors calling, I fell behind on my car loan. I was a mess.
A mess in more ways than one, I was depressed. Before Syed and broke up I had been struggling with some anxiety and insomnia and I was on both sleeping pills and anti-anxiety meds. Now suddenly I could barely hold it together. It took everything in me to drag myself out of bed to get Novali ready for school and myself to work. I didn't eat for about a week after the breakup. Somehow, I managed to survive the days when I really wanted to crawl under a rock and die. In the previous years I had also gained 20 lbs sitting at a desk job and eating junk all the time. I felt awful about myself, sluggish, fatigued. I hated taking pictures. My self-confidence was at an all time low, and this certainly didn't help. I had always been the super skinny girl that could eat everything in sight, even after I had my daughter at 21 I went back down to being thin, but over the years that had changed. I would go to the gym here and there and then reward myself with tacos on the way home. I was fat, depressed, broke and alone...
In those days right after the breakup, several of which I stayed home from work because I couldn't stop crying long enough to focus, I started to pop in some exercise DVDs into the DVD player. Specifically I had Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and The Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga. I started doing them just to preoccupy myself and keep busy. Soon I realized that while I was working out, that 30-60 min. a day was the only time when I could focus only on the task at hand and not think about my problems. It made me, dare I say, happy? I became addicted. Exercise became my drug of choice and honestly, it saved me! A month went by and in September for my birthday, all my friends were commenting on how great I looked! I felt the changes too. Was I still depressed and broke? Yes. But there was a little piece of me that was starting to find a glimmer of self-confidence and strength. That I could do this on my own and I would be OK. So I kept at it.
Come New Years I'd lost about 10 lbs and I was ready for a new challenge. My best friend Grisel said to me, "Hey I saw this workout on TV called ChaLEAN Extreme, we should do it." So we did. She bought it for me as a gift and we started doing it, checking in every day. 90 days later, I'd lost a total of 20 lbs and was feeling great! Still broke, but much stronger as a person, physically and emotionally. Then Grisel said to me, "Hey I saw this OTHER program on TV called Insanity, what do you think, let's do it!" I took a look and said NO WAY. That looks way too hard, I can't do that. But I thought about it and said, why not? Let's take on the challenge. So we did. 60 days later I was in the best shape of my life! Through it all I was actively tweeting about Insanity and I had all these "coaches" asking me if I wanted to be a coach. I didn't know what the heck they were talking about, I thought they were all weird, and I ignored them.
In the meantime, I had not given up on my feelings and strong belief that Syed and I belonged together. We were slowly starting to reconnect and I was realizing that I had lost myself in the relationship over the years. Breaking up had forced me to rediscover myself and my own capabilities and strength. He said that I had come alive again, I was healthy and secure in myself, there was a light in me again.
But... I was still BROKE and falling further behind. My car had been repossessed. How was I going to fix this problem? I had started following Chalene Johnson on social media because she's the creator of ChaLEAN Extreme. One day she posted a picture of a Beachbody Coach, Christine Dwyer, holding a quarterly bonus check for over $100K (if memory serves me right, it was about $120K). Well THAT caught my eye for sure! I made the connection between that picture and the coaches that had been approaching me online. So I started to do my research. I saw that Beachbody was a legit company and that many normal, every day people, like me, were having success inspiring and helping others AND getting out of debt. I had also heard about this thing called Shakeology and I wanted to try it, so a 25% discount didn't hurt the deal either.
One day I met this super nice girl on Twitter, Nichole. She and I got to chatting about random things and after a week or so she asked, "Have you ever thought about being a coach?" Why yes, yes I had! So I talked it over with Syed, yes we were spending more and more time together, and he said "go for it, I haven't seen you so excited about something in... maybe EVER." So I jumped in head first, not knowing what the heck I was doing or what to expect.
Fast forward 3.5 years later, Syed and are happily married. Our beautiful son Jacob was born 3 weeks ago. I no longer worry about bills. I am a 2 Star Diamond Beachbody Coach, I'm earning a full time income that pays all my bills and I'm doing it on a very part time basis. Beachbody has allowed me the freedom to leave my full time job to Coach full time if I so choose. I have a team of amazing coaches that have joined me all across the U.S. and they are also changing their lives and achieving their goals. I get to help people everyday feel better about themselves by sharing the things that made me feel better about MYSELF. Shakeology has completely changed my health, I've gotten off meds for anxiety, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome and I never get sick anymore (I used to always catch every nasty bug out there). I've made amazing friends, Beachbody has sent my family to the Bahamas and Disney World and I earned a Carribean cruise for this year in March, but I'm passing on that because Jacob will still be too little.
On top of that, because I took a chance at doing something different and becoming a Beachbody Coach, I've paid off almost $25K in credit card debt.
My life is a completely different picture than it was 4 years ago.
And I'm credit card debt free!!!