By Sarah Whitman
Senior staff writer
Personal trainer Samantha Taylor knows the pain and frustration of fighting an eating disorder. She was a binge eater for most of her young adult life. Six years ago, after being named number-one-trainer by Lifestyles Family Fitness, Taylor found herself downing slices of pizza at a local buffet and realized something had to change.
“I had eaten eight slices of pizza and four dessert pieces,” she said. “The waitress came to the table and said, aren’t you that trainer who writes articles for the local paper? I was mortified. My public life and what I considered a private personal problem had finally met. I rushed straight to the gym, got on the treadmill and started to cry.”
Taylor went home that day and began to pray. She asked God to heal her food addiction, a problem she had hidden by maintaining weight through exercise. Three months later, she was feeling free, no longer preoccupied by a desire to eat.
“I haven’t binged since,” Taylor said with a smile, seated in her office at Pure Health, her personal training studio in Lutz. “Now I can help others to truly get healthy.”
Taylor, a certified trainer and nutrition expert, worked at lifestyles for three years; then went into private business in 2004. She trained clients at their homes; then opened her first studio on Dale Mabry Hwy. The newest Pure Health facility, located behind Ferman Auto on SR 54, opened a little more than a year ago.
Clients can sign-up for one-on-one or group training to improve physical, mental and spiritual health.
“Mentally you have to be in the right place before you can loose weight and keep it off,” Taylor said. “Otherwise, you just go back to old habits. Once you know the root of the problem, you’ll be able to eat right and stick to a fitness routine.”
Having struggled with food; Taylor said she offers clients more than book knowledge.
“Clients know I’m not a girl who’s always loved eating chicken and broccoli,” she said. “I grew up with a serious food addiction and had to work really hard. For a long time, I knew everything about nutrition and my body, but I just couldn’t stop eating. I wasn’t trying to be a hypocrite. I just had a problem and I got better. I want people to know they can do it too.”
Most of Taylor’s clients come to her in hopes of loosing weight. She encourages them to do so in the healthiest way possible. Loosing weight to fast isn’t good, she said, and crash diets do more harm than good.
“It is a process,” she said. “If clients follow the program, eat right and keep moving; they can loose two to four dress sizes in just weeks and feel great.”
Wendy Steinbaecher of Land O’ Lakes lost 40 lbs in six months.
“Samantha helped me get rid of the bad foods in my diet, then she started me on cardio and weight training,” Steinbaecher said. “Working with her is great because she knows your struggles. It’s nice to know she isn’t this perfect person who’s never eaten a bad thing.”
Steinbaecher said she feels at home at the Pure Health studio.
“Everyone is friendly and it’s a smaller environment, so it’s easier to feel comfortable here than it is at a big gym,” she said.
Suzanne House of Lutz agrees. She has lost 151bs since August, but says the greatest change she’s noticed is on the inside. She no longer feels burdened by unhealthy eating patterns.
“I’m feeling stronger and more energized,” she said.
House and Taylor share a common bond.
“Samantha focuses on the spiritual side of things, which is one of the reasons I came to her,” House said. “My faith is a big part of who I am and she understands that. She holds me accountable and helps me remember who really gives me the strength to do this.”
“It says in the Bible, your body is a temple,” Taylor. “The body was created to move. We were meant to eat natural foods, not processed foods.”
Taylor thinks upbringing has a lot to do with eating habits. She encourages parents to start their children off on the right track.
“I grew up eating sugar and fast food,” she said. “If you grow up on that stuff, it becomes comfort food and you associate comfort with it, even though its really hurting your body.”
Clients at Pure Health are taught to retrain their brains to think of eating in a different way.
“The next time you think a soda, don’t think about how it will taste or even think of it as a drink, think of it as a big glass of chemicals,” Taylor said.
When faced with temptation, Taylor turns to prayer. During the holidays, she ate a couple cookies. Sometimes, she’ll drink a soda when out to dinner; but food no longer runs her life.
“There’s no magic pill you can take,” she said, “but with the right tools people really can change. My goal is to get people to believe again.”
IF YOU GO
- WHAT Pure Health Studios
- WHERE 24140 SR 54, suite 103
- MORE INFORMATION (813) 909-4939
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