Featured Fit Friends Friday: Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders

How’s everyone’s Friday going? Perhaps doing a little prepping for this Sunday’s big game? (For you non-sports people, I mean the Super Bowl. :) ) Well, in your hast to put together some fab healthy recipes for game day vittles, or maybe you’re just counting down until you can punch out on that time clock for the weekend, let’s not forget that it’s Featured Fit Friends Friday! I just love doing these features because I get to learn even more about my favorite people! So let’s get inspired, shall we? I think Dani was one of the first Weight Watchers people I started following on Twitter. She hit goal just a short while after I re-committed to the program, so you know she was an inspiration to me! And she’s still truckin’ …AND STILL is an inspiration to me! Did I mention super supportive too? Read on…

Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders

Name: Dani
Blog: Weight Off My Shoulders
From: Proudly from Boston, Massachusetts

Why did you start blogging? What is the goal/purpose of your blog?
I began my blog in May 2011. I suffered a back injury (herniated disc) in December 2010 and underwent back surgery (microdiscectomy) in January 2011. The injury really put me in a dark place emotionally, and my wife kept suggesting that I write my feelings down, but I kept putting it off. Then one day I finally decided it was time to do it, and I am thankful everyday that I have.

My blog chronicles my journey through weight loss, fitness, running, and life. I got rid of 60+ lbs with Weight Watchers, and now I am working through the tough land of maintenance, while trying to push myself out of my comfort zone in fitness and in life.

How did you come up with your blog name?
That is a great question. 😛 I think when I was throwing around ideas I really wanted something to capture what I was trying to do, which was release weight off my body and release the weight of my emotions out of my brain. So I really thought Weight Off My Shoulders covered both.

When not blogging, what do you do?
I am currently a Weight Watchers Leader in the Boston area. I live in Boston with my wife, Tori, and our two pups, Molly and Laney. In the past few years I have really taken up a love of running so I am using much of my free time now to train for the 2013 Boston Marathon, which I am running with Tedy’s Team in honor of the American Stroke Association.

When not running, I can be found in the gym with friends taking some exercise classes – especially Spinning. Spinning is a blast and really compliments my running. I like it so much I am taking a course in March to become a Spin instructor. Who me? I KNOW! :)

I love traveling with my wife around New England and beyond.

Are you attending (have you attended) any blogger conferences?
I actually attended Fitbloggin in 2012 for my first blogging conference and loved it so much I will be going back in 2013!! It is such a cool experience to see all of the people I follow online in person. It is 3 days of pure inspiration, love, motivation and understanding.

Have you met up in person with anyone you’ve met through your blog or other social media?
I actually have and LOVE doing it. Fitbloggin allowed me an avenue to meet hundreds of online friends in real life. Additionally, road races lend a great way to literally run into people you know all the time. :)

I also have been lucky to have some of my Twitter and Facebook friends turn into my Weight Watchers members so I can see them on a weekly basis.

I happened to have lunch with two online friends on Saturday (January 26) and it was a blast.

It is always a plus when you meet people you click with online in person and it is as if you have been “real” friends for years!!

What things have you learned from blogging that you would like to share with other bloggers?
BE YOU! Never tailor your blog to fit what you “think” your readers want to hear or read. Never change your vision in order to get more hits or views or comments or likes. The blog is a place for you to work through your journey, and it should be a place for you to share whatever you want. Those who love you and your voice will find your blog.

What is your favorite fitness activity?
Oohh I think that is an easy one: running. Which is really funny because I was never a runner growing up. I always played sports that had the least amount of running (volleyball, catcher in softball, etc). But something changed in the past few years, and I am a running addict. I caught the bug!

Have you always been an active person, or is health/fitness something you found later in life?
I have been an active person for most of my life. I was always involved in sports growing up – softball, swimming, ice skating, etc – but now I can really enjoy them more since I am more comfortable in my skin. Now that I have lost the weight, being active is easier and now I can try new things without worrying about my weight holding me back.

What’s your favorite fitness gear?
My favorite fitness device would be my Weight Watchers ActiveLink. It really motivates me to get up and move throughout the day and keeps me from being too sedentary. I am an active person anyway, but this pushes me to do that little extra. Plus it lights up as you reach your 100% and I love when you hit 100% and the whole thing lights up … it’s like it is clapping for me and saying “Go You!” 😛

In terms of fitness clothing, it would be my Sparkly Soul headbands, which are amazing and don’t slide, and my Lululemon gear. One of my first weight loss goals was to fit in to Lululemon clothing. The first time I bought something from there I bawled in the fitting room, and now I am no longer in the biggest size. So every time I slip any clothes on from there, I am filled with Pride.

When did you start running?
I started running in 2005 with ½ a mile and each week I added another ½ mile until I did my first 5k in March 2005, my first Half marathon in February 2006 and my first marathon in September 2006. I was then hit with the injury bug and stopped running. I picked it back up following a back injury in 2011 and have been hooked ever since.

How many races have you run?
Hmm that is tough. I can’t remember how many I did in 2005-2006, but since picking running back up in 2011, I have run 45.

What was your favorite race?
I think my favorite race would easily be the Charity 5k I put on for my 30th Birthday on September 16, 2012. It was an in person and virtual 5k that I put on to raise money for my bid to run The Boston Marathon in 2013. It was the perfect day and a dream come true!

Do you struggle with your weight?
I have struggled with my weight my whole life. Still have that picture of me on the beach in my yellow bathing suit with my little belly hanging out burned into my mind!
I first tried Weight Watchers in college. I never officially joined, but instead copied my friend’ points book and tried to track myself. It worked for awhile … until I got to my senior year. Put on a nice 50 lbs or so. Damn beer, pizza and fries!
2006 marked pretty much the worst year in my life to date. I struggled with not one, but two eating disorders and some other personal issues and hit rock bottom. I lost a ton of pounds and hit my lowest weight in ages, but did it in a horrendously unhealthy way. *Looking back on those days I don’t know how I survived.*
I moved to Chicago in 2008 and put a lot of weight back on. Worked out like crazy, but never got the healthy eating part down.
But finally in November of 2009, after looking at a picture of myself from Halloween, I made the decision to change. I was unhappy, uncomfortable in my own skin and unhealthy.
I signed up for Weight Watchers on November 2, 2009 and had my life changed.
It hasn’t been all roses since then, but I have managed to lose all of my weight in a healthy way. And THAT is a success.
I began Weight Watchers November 2, 2009 (217.4 lbs), hit my goal weight on January 10, 2012 (153.8 lbs) and Lifetime on February 21, 2012 (155.4 lbs) – I got rid of 63 lbs through the program … I like to say got rid of it since lost insinuates that I want to find it again … which I don’t!
In January 2012, I made a drastic life change. My wife and I made the decision to up and move from Chicago to Boston (where I am from). I quit my job in Sports PR and began a new path … working for Weight Watchers. I am so happy I made the change. I am having a BLAST paying it forward.
The dream got even better when I officially became a Weight Watchers Leader on April 5, 2012.

What is your eating philosophy?
I am a Weight Watchers member so I follow that which is really about a healthy lifestyle. What I love – and has helped me be successful – is that nothing is off limits on Weight Watchers. I can have my beer, wine and tater tots … I just need to mark it down. :)

Favorite snack: I keep my snacks simple since I am usually on the go. I like to always have fruits on me.
Favorite breakfast: I have a Vitalicious Vitatop every morning – they are delicious, full of Fiber and only 2-3 PP. My favorites are Chocolate Mint and Banana Chocolate Chip.
Favorite lunch: I tend to eat a couple smaller meals throughout the day. So I usually sprinkle 2 tsps of olive oil on an English muffin as a way to get in my healthy oils before heading to my lunch meetings.
Favorite dinner: Hungry Girl’s ‘Cue The Pulled Pork

Favorite sites/blogs you like to get recipes from on the internet?
Weight Watchers (anyone can access recipes on WW.com – even non members)
Hungry Girl
Skinny Taste

Favorite blogs in general?
Ahhh there are sooo many out there that I follow, but I think a few would be:

Do you use any smart phone apps that you find helpful?
I use:
*Weight Watchers mobile app
*Weight Watchers barcode scanner
*Waterlogged to track my daily water intake
*RunKeeper to log my miles

Are you a product or fitness ambassador?
I am honored to be a Fitfluential, Sweatpink, Girlsgonesporty and a Sparkly Soul ambassador!

Are there any other tips/advice/achievements you would like to share?
I recommend to everyone to find a support system before embarking on your weight loss or fitness journey. It can be online, in person, at work, family, through a blog, whatever. Just find someone or a couple people that will be there for you during the highs and the lows.

I was lucky enough to appear on Local Fox News here in Boston to talk about weight loss and twitter. It was the coolest and fastest 4 minutes.

I tend to get recognized now at local races by the Superman knee socks I wear to almost every race. I love watching the little capes fly behind me as I run.

Besides her blog, you can also find Dani here:
Twitter: @IrishEyes1982
Facebook: WeightOffMyShouldersBlog
Instagram: IrishEyes1982
YouTube: IrishEyes1982dhk
Pinterest: irisheyes1982
Google+: Dani Holmes-Kirk
Tumblr: irisheyes1982
Dailymile: IrishEyes1982

I hope you enjoyed getting to know the fabulously fierce Dani! You can also check out other Featured Fit Friends Friday bloggers here. If you would like to be featured on Fit Friends Friday or know someone who would, contact me!

  1. Weight Off My Shoulders » Media Coverage, 10 February, 2013

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