“I’ve been through so many shifts in my identity. I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be for where I’m supposed to be in this journey.” — Maria Aponte
Tell me a bit about your life before beginning your new adventure in the health and fitness world.
“I had a really good childhood. My parents were still together and they were amazing. What stands out from my childhood is resilience. I would get hurt all the time and it was usually on birthdays. Anyway, I learned about how to overcome small things, which then helped me overcome bigger things. I found a bunch of resilience in my childhood. I also had a lot of trauma from my brother who was a drug addict. We dealt with addiction and I watched my parents go through struggles with that. I’m grateful for the heartache, it made me who I am today. My brother has also been clean and sober for over 11 years now and it has been amazing to see him change his life and make me an auntie again.”
Tell me about your life journey, leading you to where you are today.
“I really didn’t eat vegetables until I was maybe 25 or 26 years old. I ended up 40 pounds overweight and at 32 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer for the third time. I was a single mom of three kids and I knew that if I didn’t begin taking care of myself, putting my oxygen mask on first, I wouldn’t be here for them. I believe how I was living and the cycle of not being aware of how life works and my thoughts led to me having cancer twice in the same year.“
What would you say was your number one obstacle, what did the switch look like for you?
“I had to change my story, moving away from limiting beliefs. I had to know that my excuse of having three kids and being a single mom who traveled for work, was all stories I was telling myself. When I was put in the situation of either getting better or I may not be here, I was in a rock and a hard place and I had to make a choice. When the realization happened, that made the shift for me. Also, I had the first surgery in 2015 and I didn’t realize the depression that set in after surgery was massive. I was traveling every other week and I remember being so drained all the time and all I wanted to do was sleep. I had a facade that I’d have to always have a smile on my face and be the life of the party. On August 14, 2015, I was putting on pants that were stretchy jeans but it was hard for me to get into those. I remember pushing myself into those jeans and I was so miserable. I looked in the mirror and thought ew physically, this isn’t you. Two days later, I got an email about T-25, a Beach Body program, it was the sign I needed.”