When Ashley-Rose and her husband got married, they saw a world of possibilities ahead of them—including a big move to the Big Apple. She wanted to be in shape to enjoy everything the city had to offer, so she joined Weight Watchers. By lightening up Italian recipes, taking Zumba classes, and staying motivated beyond her wedding day, Ashley-Rose was able to discover new adventures she never imagined she’d be able to have.
Blame it on the dryer
A few years ago, I told my mom that the dryer was shrinking my clothes. My mom, the nicest woman I know, gently told me that she didn't think it was the dryer. She was right. At that time, I could physically feel that I wasn't who I wanted to be. I signed up for the Weight Watchers At Work program at the elementary school where I worked as a teacher, and I used my upcoming wedding to help me stay on track.
Journey to the altar—and beyond
I wanted to look and feel beautiful on the day of my wedding. I just wanted to be comfortable with myself. In my life, food was the centre of everything. We'd have great memories around the dinner table, catching up and laughing. To celebrate a birthday or a job promotion, we'd go out to dinner. So I had to do a little reframing—I began thinking of creative ways to see my friends and family. I'd say to a friend, "Hey, do you want to go for a walk and get coffee afterwards?" Or I'd suggest taking a Zumba class together instead of going out to dinner. It opened up a whole new social world. Eventually, I became a Zumba instructor. That was a big deal for me—Zumba instructors are the epitome of fitness to me!
I was in the middle of my journey as my wedding day arrived, and I felt as beautiful as ever. After the big day, my husband and I honeymooned in Italy and we walked everywhere. I loved feeling that I wasn't on the sidelines anymore; I was walking through the Coliseum, the ruins of Pompeii, and the streets of Florence. When we returned from our honeymoon, my husband and I started talking about moving to New York City, a place we fell in love with when we visited. I wanted to be in shape to enjoy it, so I kept going towards my goal.
A helping hand
My husband is so supportive—he's always been naturally fit, and he doesn't need to watch what he eats, but he does it for me. He started helping me make meals, like grilled shrimp with pico de gallo or a chicken dish with arugula. When we go out, we split an entrée. One night, we ordered one entrée of manicotti, and then grabbed an appetizer and salad to bulk it up. And yes, manicotti is delicious. I'm Italian, so I love comfort dishes like pasta, garlic bread, pizza, lasagna—you name it. I also love my sweets, especially tiramisu. But here's a little secret: Real Italian food doesn't have to be heavy! My husband and I started making this delicious lemon rosemary chicken at home that is so tasty and hits on all the Italian flavours, too.
Gearing up for change
After I reached my goal, we were getting closer and closer to moving. I was excited about our new beginnings, especially since I would be fit to enjoy the city. I was no longer nervous about all the change that was happening. I would be able to walk to get my groceries, climb up the stairs in my building, and meet new people through classes at the gym.
A whole new world
When we made the move, I decided to make a career switch. I was an elementary school teacher, but I became a human resources recruiter. I proudly represent my company when I'm out looking for talent to join our team. Instead of taking Zumba classes, I decided to try something new: boxing classes! I'm getting stronger and I feel better than ever. Oh yeah, and I walk everywhere! What can I say, I feel like a New Yorker!