Rising star Jamie Tate knew right where she belonged.
“Music was my life, and singing and performing on stage is where I had to be,” Jamie said.
With her first single, “Daddy, Let’s Dance,” released in May 2009, the door to achieving her dream opened. But was Jamie confident enough to step into the limelight and take advantage of this opportunity?
“I’d been overweight all of my life, and my poor self-image fed my insecurities about being in front of people.”
June 6, 2009, Jamie celebrated her burgeoning music career and her 22nd birthday with family and friends. As she spoke with her parents about her plans, she realized her weight would hold her back, mentally if not physically. While her parents reassured her of their love no matter her weight, they also supported and encouraged her desire to get healthy.
“I knew I had to make some changes,” Jamie said. “Like many people, my weight had fluctuated for years in an endless cycle.”
In order to know where she wanted to go, Jamie first needed to understand where she had been. Overweight most of her adolescence, she had gained weight up into high school. She lost a lot of weight at 16 when she wanted to start dating and play sports in school.
“I was horrible at sports, so that part didn't last long,” Jamie said. “But as soon as I got a serious boyfriend, I became comfortable and the weight returned. Not only did those pounds come back, they brought friends along with them.”
That’s when the yo-yo dieting began.
“I would lose 20 or 30 pounds then gain it back. My mental and emotional health suffered. I was embarrassed to sit in class in college. I sat at the front and center of the room because I wanted to be a good student, but I was terrified that people were staring at me because I filled up the entire desk.”
At age 19, Jamie had reached 240 pounds, a size 22. Shopping for clothes was traumatic. She struggled for breath taking the stairs to class, and took the shuttle bus between classes rather than walking, even if it was a nearby building, because she’d be winded and soaked in sweat.
“I ate whatever I wanted to — fried foods, ice cream, sodas. I’d been overweight most of my life. I thought I was just meant to be overweight.”
But at her birthday party in 2009, at 215 pounds, Jamie knew the music career she wanted would require much from her mentally and physically.
“It was time to change my life,” Jamie said. “But I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.”
The next morning, Jamie searched for personal trainers in the Cary, North Carolina area, where she lived at the time. Not having been to a gym since her last failed attempt to lose weight, she dreaded the experience.
“I didn’t want to go to a big gym. I didn’t want people looking at me. Being overweight at a gym, surrounded by thin and in-shape people, and feeling like they’re all staring at me is torture.”
So how can a singer who performs on stage in front of an audience not stand for people to look at her in a gym?
“Jealousy, insecurity and guilt,” she admits. “I couldn’t help but be mad at those people running on the treadmill when I could hardly walk at the slowest pace. For me to go to a gym again, I wanted a small, intimate, personal training facility.”
That’s when Jamie Tate found Phase II Personal Training.
Jamie called and spoke with Deborah, a personal trainer at Phase II. She explained what she was looking for, and Deborah offered an initial training session later in the week.
But Jamie told her, “I need to get in today. If I don’t do this today, I probably won’t do it at all.” Deborah agreed to stay late that day and worked Jamie in after the last appointment. “I thought I wanted a male trainer who would yell at me and give me boot-camp style training. Phase II does offer that, but I decided to meet with Deborah.”
On her arrival at the small gym, the first thing Jamie noticed was that no mirrors lined the walls.
“Yes! No mirrors! After the initial consultation, I knew Deborah would help me not only physically but also mentally. She was so eager to work with me, and so eager to help me through my journey.”
While Jamie worked on one routine, Deborah prepared the next. This allowed Jamie to move from one workout to the next without changing weights or thinking about what came next. Deborah was firm, but gentle.
“She didn’t kill me,” Jamie said. “I was pretty sore the next day, but with years of little muscle work, I’d expected that. I knew if I wanted to change my life, I needed to make an investment. So, I invested in myself. I purchased a package. With my student-lack-of-money budget, I decided to reduce eating out and put that money toward my training, so that helped accomplish two things at once.”
How does someone who has gone through the diet and exercise routines in the past stick with it?
“I didn’t jump into it drastically,” Jamie said. “I didn’t want this to be another yo-yo event. I wanted to change my life. I wanted to get healthy. I wanted to not be envious of physically fit people in the gym. I wanted to be one of them.”
“Over the next few months,” Jamie continued, “I met with Deborah two to three times per week. She helped me learn about food and my diet, and I slowly removed certain foods. It wasn’t overnight, so it wasn’t a shock to my body. It was a gradual life change. Within a few months, I had lost weight, was gaining muscle, had more energy, and felt better about myself. I weighed in every week, although some people choose not to weigh in at all. I was losing one to two pounds a week. But there were weeks I didn’t lose, and even weeks I gained. Deborah helped me to not get discouraged.”
“I lost almost 50 pounds within that first 10 months. My weight had dropped to 170 and I wore a size 12. I was thrilled!”
Has Jamie been able to stick to her plan?
“I went out of town during my summer vacation months, and I lost track. I wasn’t going to Phase II and, unfortunately, I slipped. I gained a little of the weight back. When I returned, William became my personal trainer — which is another great thing about Phase II. You can work with one person all the time, or you can mix it up and use different trainers for different approaches.”
So has this turned Jamie into a one of those fitness fanatics?
“I’m not the kind of person who wants to go crazy with exercise. I enjoy a good workout but I don’t want to feel like I’m dying. And with William, sometimes it feels like a physical workout with a built-in therapy session. We talk about my insecurities and my mental weaknesses that hold me back. I’ve come up with a motto: ‘Your body can handle more than your mind will allow it.’”
Why did the diet and exercise changes stick this time, and not become another up-and-down in the yo-yo of weight loss?
“All this time it had been my mind holding me back. My diet changes have continued, and my body has changed dramatically. I haven’t had fried foods in more than a year. Or soft drinks, or a lot of things. I thought it would be a lot harder than it has been. Now, it feels normal. I thought I would miss certain foods when my friends are chowing down, but I’ve realized I can eat them, just in a modified form, healthier portions, and less frequently. I didn’t have to give them up completely and feel like I was missing out.”
Now at 155 pounds, Jamie says she still hasn’t reached her goal weight. She still wants to build more muscle and make more changes in her diet. But for this rising star, it’s not about a specific weight. It’s about changing her life and building her music career.
“I now know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, whether it’s dropping from a size 22 to a size 8, or performing on stage in front of an audience with complete confidence. Phase II has given me the tools to develop a new, healthy lifestyle, and that has enabled me to find the happiness in myself again.”
Jamie has now teamed up with Phase II on a different project: giving away free downloads of Jamie’s latest single, “I’ll Give My All,” to members of the U.S. military services.
Jamie recorded the song, a patriotic tribute to the men and women in uniform, with the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus. An emotion-packed music video for the song was taped at Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.
Jamie invites her fans and the business community to sponsor the free downloads through the “I’ll Give My All” website. Fans and sponsors may purchase downloads in whatever quantity they wish. Purchasers may then choose to have the download cards mailed to them so they can give them away personally, or allow the project to distribute the songs to service members on their behalf.
Phase II offers a 10 percent discount off the first package for any new customer who brings in a Jamie Tate download card. Clients may also request a download card at the gym.
“Phase II and their wonderful trainers have changed my life,” Jamie said. “It’s not just another diet or exercise plan. The trainers developed custom-designed programs for me, provided me with the motivation, and have helped me change my lifestyle. I’ve shed more than 80 pounds and a lifetime of poor habits.”
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