TOSHA STAFFORD

PositionFounder and Coach
Experience3 years
Social
  • Specialist in Sports Nutrition by International Sports Sciences Association
  • Certified Fitness Trainer from ISSA
  • Exercise Nutrition Certification by Precision Nutrition
  • Master Level Coaching Certification by Precision Nutrition
  • Master’s in Business Administration from Eastern Washington University

BIOGRAPHY:

Growing Up

Confidence Starts as a Child


I grew up in a small farming and agricultural community located in the middle of Washington State.  I have awesome memories of riding my red 10 speed bike all around the neighborhood with my group of friends, hanging out at the community pool, fishing in the lakes and meeting up with other families to ride three wheelers in the sand dunes.  By the age of 10, my parent’s divorced and it all started to change.  With no education, no job, and no money we were forced to move in with my grandmother while my mom attended Nursing School.  By the 4th grade my weight gain had reached the point beyond normal pre-puberty pudge. I was always pretty confident and did not let my weight hold be back from playing sports.  In Junior high I played basketball.  I can remember having my mother buy me blue sweat pants to cut off the legs so that I could have someone sew th
em into shorts for me as the uniforms were too small.  By the time I reached High School, I gave up basketball and joined the swim team despite being roughly 185 pounds and wearing 16/18 pant and XL large shirt.  I was not asked on dates or to dances.  My best friend talked one of her boyfriends friend’s into taking me my Senior Prom, which was the first formal dance I attended.

I have one memory that has haunted me these past 22 years and will probably never forget….around the age of 18 I was in the Burger King parking lot with a a friend and we were talking to a man crush of ours…..a truck drove past us and a guy a few years older than me hung out the window and yelled “look at that fat- ass.”  Anytime I would carry a conversation with someone I was interested in I had the fear that this would happen again……these words taunted me until the day I married my husband.   It is sad how situations like this impact our lives so drastically in various ways either consciously or sub-consciously.

The College Years and Beyond

Years of Depression and Just Existing in Life


At the age of 21, I moved 1 ½ hour away from my family into my own apartment to attend college.  I only knew 1 person in town so I signed up for tryouts to be part of a sorority.
This was the first time that I really started to feel insecure with my weight.  We have all watched the movies where the typical sorority girl is tall, thin, blonde, cheer captain and has the quarterback as her boyfriend.  I can remember asking the gal in charge of tryouts “what if no one picks you?”  She said oh that never happens usually at least 2 sororities do! I can remember the sororities for the most part matched the role as seen on TV except one.  This is going to sound so horrible and something I have kept a secret until now (18 years later).  The last day of tryouts we found out which sorority picked us.  I only had 1 pick me and it was not the one I wanted…..I was completely devastated.  The  sorority that picked me was filled with some of the nicest girls I met during tryouts, the most welcoming, and the most genuine.  So why would I not be ecstatic to join their sisterhood.  Why? I will tell you why…..because most of them were heavy set or obese.  To this day, I regret that decision!  I am to this day still ashamed for judging.  I did not judge to be cruel or make others feelbad….this was the day I realized how heavy set and unwanted I really was.

By the time I finished college and started my professional career I weighed about 220 pounds.  I went on to have a successful career in banking with constant travel.  I spent so much time in the car that fast food, frequent gas station stops and coffee stands became the normal for food and drink choices.  I attempted to diet, none of which I fully committed to, led to years of constant yo-yo dieting and more weight gain.   By  the looks of my pictures, I am sure I weighed well over 300 pounds at one point….I just avoided the scale for a long time and lied about my weight.

The final straw where I realized…THIS IS IT!  I was confronted on a business trip by the desk agent for Alaska Airlines.  She accused me of not being able to fit in the airplane seat and said she was directed to tell me I would need to purchase another ticket.  Now mind you I had flown Alaska dozens of times before and nothing was said to me.  It was then I realized I needed to take control of my weight or face the fact I may not be able to do my job any longer.  I had taken too many flights before where, I would place my sweater over my lap and hide the fact I could not buckle by belt and would pray the stewardess would turn her head and not offer me a seatbelt extender.

On September 26, 2013, at the age of 36, I decided to undergo bariatric surgery (VSG) in Tijuana, Mexico with Dr. Ortiz at the Obesity Control Center.  Why did I ultimately decide to have bariatric surgery?  I guess when you really think about it, I lacked the willpower to diet and exercise properly and remain consistent.  I wanted instant gratification with some magical diet pill or the next popular fad diet.  Let’s face it, I knew with bariatric surgery the weight would fall off by restricting how much I could eat!  I never put much thought into the process of a
ctually maintaining the weight loss after I reached goal.  I was too focused on just wanting to be a normal girl, fit in normal clothes, shop in the popular clothing stores, be able to travel in an airplane for my job my job and maybe even score a date.

How did I get started in the gym?   Around 45-60 days days when I was released from the doctor to exercise, I joined the gym.  I was embarrassed to be there, I could not even walk on a treadmill without being short of breath, red faced and drenched in sweat.  I wanted to succumb to my excuses of why I could not make it to the gym…… but I kept going back day after day.  Cardio was my choice of exercise for the first few months.  I was still embarrassed, maybe even ashamed,  to move to the weights floor as my biggest fear was being teased and humiliated.  I had no idea where to begin, so I walked on the treadmill and observed people.  Eventually, I waited until the gym was not busy and I went out onto the weight floor and played with the machines.  I looked at the diagram on each machine, adjusted the weight and tried it a few times.  I had no set routine and no clue what I was doing but I felt accomplished after.  I kept going back , observing people, imitating people, and slowly started getting comfortable to ask people questions.  I was busting my ass in the gym, the weight was falling off, my muscles were starting to reveal themselves and I felt so good in my skin.  Compliments were coming in left and right, I was gaining confidence again, and even started to feel sexy in my own skin.

I can remember being so proud and posting on Facebook how I walked on the treadmill for 65 minutes and burned 1,016 calories!

Now being a bariatric health and fitness coach I realize how uneducated I was around nutrition and exercise.  I was only consuming maybe 1,000 calories a day, lifting weights and doing cardio 5 days a week.  This is how I became nutrient deficient and the reason I started Bari-Fit.    

 

I wanted a place people could trust to get quality information around nutrition and fitness after bariatric surgery.  There were way to many Facebook groups out there freely giving bad information.” (Tosha Stafford ~ Founder)


The Journey

Living the Dream Life


In the Spring of 2015, I received my first certification in Sports Nutrition and founded Bari-Fit.  By the spring of 2016, I was faced with a decision to stay in corporate America where I was a Vice President of Client Development OR grow Bari-Fit to a true educational platform.  The decision was easy!

I left corporate America with a little bit in savings, a dream, and the determination to m
ake it something that bariatric clients would be proud to be a part of.   One of the best days of my life was heading to the UPS store and shipping off all my corporate issued technology.

On September 3rd, 2016 I married the love of my life and became a step-mother.  I can remember looking in the mirror and thinking “you look amazing today!”  What I realized after this day is I truly love being fit, spreading the word in the bariatric community about nutrition and fitness and being able to help and inspire people.

So if you see me, please do not hesitate to come up and say hello and share your journey with me.  I am inspired by all the stories and pictures I see on a daily basis and blessed to be looked upon as one of the leading nutrition and fitness coach in the bariatric community!