YMCA instructor quits smoking, loses 65 pounds

Published 8:49 am Thursday, January 9, 2014

A lot has changed for Tammy Pressler in one year’s time.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT. Tammy Pressler prepares to lead a fitness class Wednesday at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT. Tammy Pressler prepares to lead a fitness class Wednesday at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.

One year ago, the 35-year-old Niles resident was dealing with chronic back pain, smoking about a half a pack of cigarettes each day and weighing in at 225 pounds.

“I was at the point where I was miserable and just didn’t know what to do,” said Pressler. “I didn’t like who I was or where my life was at.”

Today, Pressler is a different person.

She no longer smokes, is free from back pain and has lost at least 65 pounds.

Her transformation began early last year when she finally had enough. She was taking pain medication for her back and said she didn’t feel like getting out of bed.

“My life wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I have three kids and I felt like I wasn’t getting out and playing with them and wasn’t involved with them as much as I needed to be,” she said. “I was just frustrated with it so I said, ‘that’s it.’”

Pressler’s first goal was to quit smoking. She said she had her last cigarette Jan. 12, 2013.

She also decided to begin working out to avoid gaining the weight that she heard most smokers do when they try to quit.

She joined a local dance fitness class and resolved to go four days a week.

“In my mind I told myself that I used to smoke four packs a week so I’m going to take four classes a week. I thought that was a smart thing and a way to replace that part of my life,” Pressler said. “I couldn’t believe it, but within two weeks I was just loving it. I didn’t want a cigarette anymore and I had a new outlook on life.”

When Pressler lost the first five pounds she set a long-term goal of losing 70 pounds in one year.

The last time she stepped on a scale she had lost 65.

“My girlfriend just told me to weigh myself because she thought I might be there,” Pressler said. “I told her I’m going to wait until Jan. 13 (the end of the one year goal) and see if I can hit it.”

Pressler said joining the Niles-Buchanan YMCA was a big factor in her success.

“It is an amazing place and I’m so happy we have it in the community,” she said. “I have such a great support group here and that is so important. They just really have wrapped their arms around me and lifted me up and to me that’s the greatest thing — to know so many people have faith in you and that they want me to continue to do more.”

In March, she began swimming everyday at the YMCA and later became a lifeguard there. She also received certification to teach silver sneakers fitness classes and yoga at the Y.

This week she started a brand new class at the YMCA called Aquadance, which is designed to allow people to do dance moves in the water without the high impact of a traditional dance class.

“I just felt like all these doors were opening for me,” she said. “I kept my eyes open to every opportunity I was given at this point in my life because everything was working out for me.”

As for her diet, Pressler said she didn’t do anything special. She just wrote down what she ate and tried to limit herself to 1,200 calories a day.

“I would create little 100 calorie packs to take with me. It just took a little bit more time to prepare,” she said. “I didn’t do it with a diet pill, I didn’t do it on Atkins, I just did it by eating healthier and working out.”

To keep herself on track, Pressler has set several goals, including becoming a Zumba instructor.

“It’s important to set goals so that you keep having something to strive for,” she said. “I’m just a normal person, so anyone can do it. You just have to find what you are passionate about and something that makes you excited. There are so many options out there.”

To learn more about the YMCA and its programs, visit the website at nb-ymca.org or call them at (269) 683-1552.