By Tomas Kassahun | Reporter
As a teenager weighing 225 pounds, Maira Enriquez found herself in a dark place.
She realized the severity of the situation after visiting a doctor, who told her she had a heart murmur as a result of obesity.
“The doctor told me ‘you need to really change your life around. Otherwise you’re not going to live very long,’” Enriquez said. “That scared me. Sometimes it takes people to get scared to understand how unhealthy they have let themselves go.”
It was at that moment when Enriquez decided to make a change. But change didn’t come easy.
Her first challenge came as a sophomore in high school. That’s when she joined the cross country team and lost weight, but then gained back what she lost.
In college, Enriquez tried to take on the challenge once again.
She joined the Fresno State women’s rugby team and lost the pounds, but slacked off again and gained some of the weight back.
From that point on, Enriquez did research on YouTube and learned how people would work out. She also started following fitness models on social media which became a constant influx of motivation.
“I went to the library to read book on nutrition and exercise,” Enriquez said. “ My junior year of college, I figured out what my body needed. I read so many books and ever since then I have been working out.”
Enriquez now weighs 144 pounds. For the past two years, she has worked as a sponsored athlete and is now a trainer at Doc’s Gym, located on N. Minnewawa Ave. in Clovis.
“I’ve been blessed to travel and motivate other people, so they can fulfill their hope of becoming healthier,” Enriquez said.
She also works as a Nutrition Program Coordinator, teaching kids and parents how to use the nutritional guideline known as MyPlate.
“My job is to expose kids to make sure half of their plate is made of fruits and vegetables,” Enriquez said. “A lot of people in the Central Valley are really overweight. We’re trying to change that. That way by 2020 a lot of the kids that are obese will be healthier.”
Having been through the ups and downs of weight loss, Enriquez wants people to understand that it can’t be done overnight.
“The key is helping them understand that this takes time,” she said. “They can’t change their habits within a week. It takes dedication and it’s OK to fall back. Sometimes we get stressed out because we’re not where we want to be at.”
For parents, Enriquez wants them to understand how their behavior now will dramatically affect their kids’ futures.
“A lot of parents in Clovis are successful, but they forget to spend quality time with their child and teach them how to cook. Instead they’re always on the go,” Enriquez said. “That’s why you have a bunch of college kids now that don’t know how to cook.”
She adds that making realistic goals makes a person more likely to workout.
“When you set measurable goals, you’re more likely to do it,” Enriquez said. “That’s what I found works for me.”
There are also other minor details which Enriquez recommends for a successful workout.
“For me, it’s just having a good playlist. When I have music, that pumps me up,” she said.
Then there’s the sleep factor.
“When you’re not sleeping, you’re not going to want to work out,” Enriquez said. “And there’s no point of working out on three hours of sleep, when you’re just going to crash.”
On top of working out, Enriquez said losing weight is 80 percent about nutrition.
“You always have to plan ahead,” she said. “What are you going to eat? If you’re having such a busy week, you’re going to have to cook ahead of time, that way you don’t go out and eat.”
As she moves forward, Enriquez wants to do motivational speeches for students and adults.
“I want to let them know they’re capable of doing anything, whether it’s in life or your overall well being,” she said.