I am Tanisha Shanee, International Healthy Lifestyle Expert, Author, and Inspirational Speaker. Healthy living became a major part of my life without my intentions. It was like magic… well, not really, but it has been a journey that I would never exchange in my life.
When I started this journey, it was solely to lose weight. I was once over 350 pounds… In October 2012, I was unable to read my weight on the scale – yes, I was that heavy. That night was when my lifestyle started! I was on a mission to lose weight, but it turned out to become the first leg of my lifestyle shift – mind, body, and spirit.
So, I focused on learning how to eat properly.
Not a diet, but truly understand the pyramid we were tortured with. I realized the focus was not fruits, but vegetables. It was not salad, but dark greens for more nutritional value. I understood calorie intake, why sugar was actually bad for us, and how to still enjoy bread without gaining weight. It is true. 80% nutrition towards a healthier life and it was now making sense.
In 362 days, I lost 100 pounds! In 17 months, I lost over 150 pounds. Yes, I had pizza. I enjoyed Chipotle and BBQ’s, and I never felt hungry. My life was physically changing, but somewhere after the first 25 pounds, I realized I had to start living a healthier life. This was my logic – why feed myself great things, exercise, and drink water, but still allow unhealthy people to surround me? It was the craziest thing ever! So, immediately I made changes in my relationships and friendships.
After the first 30 pounds, I ended the relationship I was in – I wanted to be happy and healthy, not
just healthy! Soon, I started realizing I had another battle to fight – my anger. I was losing weight, but I needed to lose the attitude that I was holding onto. Again the logic kicked in. Why are you feeding yourself amazing, delicious healthy foods, but you are mentally and emotionally unhealthy? My life was changing every day and it was more than the weight. Soon, I found myself smiling more and wanting to enjoy life regardless of what was going on.
The journey to healthy was definitely making me happy, but I realized there was still something missing. I knew God played a major part in my journey because the night I got on the scale and could not read my weight, all I could do was CRY out to GOD. I prayed for strength and patience, but I prayed for that EVERYDAY. My prayers stopped to my morning prayers, but I knew there was more to this. Two years into my journey, I had lost 150 pounds, I was coaching others in different states and internationally, and I had to give praise to God. So, my journey to become closer to God became a necessity and this was when healthy living took a major turn in my life.
In 2014, I wrote my book, Transition To A Healthier You: How I Lost Over 140 Pounds, and You Can Too!, and I met the one client that helped change my life. She purchased my book and literally called me the next day. She told me how we had similar experiences and she needed my help. She had a strong relationship with God, but did not realize how to bring God into her healthy living transition. It was great, but
without her knowledge, she taught me so much about God and how to really speak to HIM. The more I spoke to Him and started to listen to my spirit, I was making difficult decisions. I walked away from a complicated relationship and even I was shocked I was able to walk away. I knew God was guiding me away from the things that were not purposeful in my life and was pushing me towards the life I deserved.
One day in August 2014, I was sitting at my desk and I kept hearing, “It is time to do something different.” I started crying because I knew it was God. I loved teaching (I was an adult educator), but even I felt there was a bigger purpose for me. Ironically, my best friend started a new job and after work we met for a drink. She told me about a leadership position at the school. I was wondering if this was the change God was whispering. So, I applied. After 3 LONG interviews, I received the ‘job of my dreams!’ I was working 8 minutes from my house, I was making $15,000 more than my previous job, and I was a leader. This was the life – or was it?
I started on a Thursday. I will never forget, but I stood in the elevator in my building the next day and I cried. I felt broken. I cried out to God, “I made the biggest mistake.” This was not God’s plan. Quickly my lifestyle went back unhealthy – I was unable to workout due to demanding work hours (12-14 hours daily), we constantly ate unhealthy food because of the community we worked in, I was constantly angry all the time, and I was just unhappy. I even gained weight – yes, 15 pounds!!! The day I realized I had gained weight, I went into a staff meeting angry. I told my team I was taking my life back – I refused to go backwards. They did not understand, but I knew my life was changing.
Without thinking, I started coming to work on time and was leaving on time. Yes, I got written up, but I did not care. My health was a priority. I went outside for lunch to walk. I was back to prepping to my meals and refused to eat the food they had catered. Every day I was slowly going back to my healthy life, but I knew I had to do more. During this time, women were contacting me for coaching, but I was not healthy to coach them. Organizations wanted me to conduct healthy living workshops, but my schedule was still demanding. I was even contacted to be on a national TV show and could not go because an “important event” during Winter Break. Yes, I even missed my family’s first vacation – I was definitely over this life. One day in March 2015, I was venting to the Principal and I told her, “This will be my last full-time job.” She thought I was joking, but I kept hearing God and I knew this was not the change he intended.
But, God sent me there for a reason. One day I started to speak to one of the school’s consultants and she started telling the team how she “took a step out on faith” and quit her job in 2013. Immediately I wanted to be near her because this was so interesting. Who quits their job and listens to God? It was strange. I was raised to get a great job and stay there until you retire. But, I was seeing that was not true.
So, I started doing research. I found scriptures. I prayed more to God and I started to ask Him to reveal
what it was that He truly desired for me to do – I realized He held the blueprint to my life. One time I asked and I was selected to have my weight loss success story in a national magazine, First For Women Magazine. The next time I asked, I was featured in Cosmopolitan. I kept asking and old clients were reaching out for coaching again. I kept seeing if this was nearly true and each time I asked God
what was my purpose, He sent more answers. Finally, I understood and I realized I had a gift He needed me to use. So, during my 3 week vacation, I flew out to Chicago to record for a local TV show (Dana Simone Show). Honestly, I felt so alive! I felt great to share my story and to inspire others. I started doing small Wellness Lounge events in the city (New York City) and as I connected with people, I realized there was so much I was missing out on. God was speaking loud and clear.
On August 12, 2015, I was driving to work. This pain hit me in the core of my stomach. My other best friend had posted a Steve Harvey clip on my Facebook page
. This clip spoke about chasing your dreams and quitting your job to follow your heart. When I drove into the parking lot that morning, my mind was up. I went to the executive assistant’s office and typed my resignation letter. Yes! I handed my letter to the Board of Director’s Chairman and explained my health and happiness was a priority. I knew this place was not healthy for me and I could no longer work there. Yes, I quit my job to take a leap of faith. I knew God had me and I had to continue having faith.
So, yes. Healthy living led me to not only a healthy body, but a healthy mind and spirit. This journey has had many bumps and it is far from perfect. Honestly, I debate if this was the right decision to make, but as I reflect on the days over the last 5 months since I held a full-time job, I am 10 times happier. No, I do not receive a check every two weeks, but I can say I get to co-create the life I desire and I get to work with God. As long as I continue to have faith in Him, he shows me how to have the life he intended for me. I have been able to work with people full-time, conduct more workshops, speak in front of audiences, and I get to pursue new business ventures that I never imagined. On my bad days, I find reasons to celebrate and on good days, I celebrate even more. I thank God for the days because He has shown me that I am not in control.
When I started this journey in 2012, I was looking to lose 50 pounds, but as you can see, I changed my entire life. Being happy and healthy are my only objectives in life now. My relationships with family and friends are healthier. My relationship with myself is stronger! My faith in God increases everyday because each day He shows me what my purpose is. I owe it all to healthy living!
Tanisha Shanee, Your Lifestyle Expert