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FaithFit Feature: Meet Juhanna

Kamaria Mason

Juhanna you lost over 70 pounds in 1 year and kept it OFF! Tell us about your wellness journey. What inspired you to achieve such significant weight loss?

Growing up I was always about a size 16. I grew up in a small town, so when I went off to college at Wake Tech in Raleigh a lot of things changed and I began to lose weight. When my husband and I had our first child, I started to gain weight again. My pre-pregnancy weight was 148 pounds, at delivery I was 198 pounds, and post-pregnancy I was 193 pounds. At this point I was really concerned about my weight, both of my parents are obese and have several obesity related conditions.

My mother is nearly 300 pounds and she struggles with hypertension and heart problems. She also has a difficult time exercising because the weight caused her to have knee problems, as well as, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. My father is a diabetic who currently is on dialysis. Seeing my parents sick and having to deal with these complications motivated me to change.

What was the first big step in your weight loss transformation?

In 2014, my mother and I set out to start a fitness challenge, but that didn’t last. She quit after 1 week and I quit after 2 weeks. After this failed attempt, I knew something had to change. I wanted to be better for my daughter and my husband. One of my coworkers asked me to do a weight loss challenge with her at work. I won the challenge. I lost 30 pounds!!! This success pushed me to keep going, to fight on. I was determined to achieve a healthy weight.

What challenges did you face during your weight loss journey?

Motivation:
My husband is naturally a small person. So often I was up late at night exercising when he was sleeping and that was in addition to the exercise I would do throughout the day. I had to find an inner motivation.

Backlash:
It was hard for me to stay committed to losing the weight when some of my family members were struggling to lose weight. Due to the challenges they faced, they were not very supportive of my efforts and did not celebrate my successes. I had to constantly remind myself that I was getting healthier for myself, my daughter, and my husband. I had to stay committed regardless of the outside influences, negative or positive. The pushback from my family, pushed me to keep going and made me to fight HARDER!

Sounds like you’ve done the impossible with this weight loss journey. What was your Power Source?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! That word would come up in me and it gave me the boost to do what I had to do, even when I didn’t I feel like it. I kept saying God I know I can do it, in your Word you said I can, so I’ve gotta keep pushing and keep saying it to myself. My family having obesity-related health problems also motivated me. I had to keep moving FORWARD…God was my force!

What inspired you to start I am Juhanna Fitness?

My desire to help people with their health. An evangelist told me that evangelism occurs in many different forms, ministering to people about being more in tune with their health not only physical but also spiritual. Juhanna means gift from God. So for me, I am Juhanna Fitness is about letting people knowing that they are a gift and showing them how to treat their bodies as a gift.

I’m ready to get movin...where can I work out with you?

After hearing about my weight loss, the owners of Skyzone Raleigh invited me to become a fitness instructor and teach aerobics classes on trampolines (i.e. Skyrobics). I love Skyrobics! I think it is a great fitness alternative because it is low impact, improves balance and it is fun! It is not just jumping, it is a core workout, calisthenics, strength training and cardio. You can burn up to 1000 calories in 1 hour!!

I teach Skyrobics classes at Skyzone (2101 Westinghouse Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27604) on the following days:
Wednesday, and Thursday evenings 6:45-7:45pm
Saturday, 9-10am