September 12 - 18, 2009


How super slimmer Sherry achieved success


AS WIFE to sports director Alvin Parker, Islanders might be forgiven for thinking daily jogger Sherry Bell-Parker has always been something of a fitness fanatic. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The 31-year-old mum has recently shed an astonishing 61 pounds after ditching her favourite fried food in favour of healthy alternatives and embarking on a stringent exercise routine. For Sherry – who admits she has always been on the large side – the defining moment when she decided to turn her life around came during her son’s school sports day last year. Not one to “watch from the sidelines”, Sherry was distraught when she realised she was too unfit to take part in the parents’ race. Weighing in at a whopping 289 pounds, the humiliating revelation was enough to prompt her into taking her very first steps onto the athletic track at the national stadium. The water quality manager for Provo Water Company moved to the TCI from North Carolina in 2007 when South Caicos-born Alvin accepted the sports directorship. Lonely, jobless and unable to drive, Sherry comforted herself by gorging on hamburgers and fried chicken. The self-confessed chocoholic says: “I would often go for two days eating nothing but junk and drinking sodas. “I’m a snacker; that’s my downfall. “Eventually I just got fed up feeling unhappy with myself. In North Carolina you can cover yourself up with a coat but here it’s so hot you have to wear shorts and I didn’t feel comfortable showing my legs. “One Monday morning I got up

and I said ‘this is it’.” At first, Sherry could barely complete one full lap of the 400m track. “Of course it was hard to exercise to start with but I would say to myself, as long as I make it to the track today that’s OK.“I was walking very slowly for my age; older people were passing me by hardly breaking a sweat. “One day I told myself I’d jog just around the curve then I started running a bit further each day until I could run a whole lap.” These days, Sherry runs four laps and walks a further eight every morning. She has thrown aside her old bulky frame and is well on track to hitting her target of losing an impressive 100 pounds by the end of the year. Like many people attempting to lose weight through exercise, six months in Sherry found she had reached a plateau. It was then that a friend introduced her to the Rock It Hot Fitness studio in Grace Bay. At first Sherry was not convinced. “I said I don’t want to go no gym,” she says laughing. But the friendly atmosphere of the aerobics class was a far cry from the competitive ambience she had imagined. “It was fun doing it all together. I thought I can do this.” And, three months later, the weight has continued to fall off. Sherry credits much of her astonishing results to guidance from gym owner Natasha Leybush. “Natasha helped me work a lot of stuff I thought I was working but realised I wasn’t. We did a lot of strength and core training and she really helped me to take down a lot of inches. “I used to weigh myself every day but

Natasha taught me not to do thatbecause I was building muscle which weighs more than fat. “Now I just go by how I look. “Sometimes I still see myself as being big but friends remind me how far I’ve come and keep me going by telling me I look good.” And her friends are not the only ones. Husband of seven years, Alvin, loves the new slimline Sherry. “He loves the way I look. He really pushed me and has been really supportive.” Natasha told the Weekly News: “Sherry is doing fantastically well. She was very heavy and carrying so much weight makes it difficult for a person to start moving. “The hardest part for most people is making that first step into an exercise routine. Everything after that is easy. “I am very strict, that’s my style, but every single person who comes to me sees results,” Natasha added. Sherry knows how important it is to eat healthily too in order to shift the pounds. Instead of skipping breakfast, these days she starts the day with oatmeal and fruit or bran flakes with skimmed milk. And the fried chicken she used to indulge in for lunch is out of the window along with her old baggy clothes. Now she prefers to tuck into a salad or a Lean Cuisine ready meal, perfect for slimming mums on the go. Dinner is uber-healthy too and normally consists of brown rice with veg and baked chicken. So does Sherry have any words of advice for fellow dieters fighting to beat the bulge? “I try to eat nothing after 7.30pm. And I tell everybody not to rely on a buddy to go to the gym with; you

Sherry Before

Chocoholic Sherry weighed
almost 300 pounds when she
embarked on her fitness regime in January.

Sherry After

The new slimline Sherry
is fighting fit and bursting
with energy.


Sherry credits much of her
astonishing results to training at the Rock It Hot Fitness studio in Grace Bay.

now finding that her stomach is so much smaller she simply can’t eat the same quantity she did before. Her biggest inspiration to keep going is the ongoing support from her colleagues, friends and family. “A lot of people want you to succeed,” she says. “They are looking at you for motivation and that keeps me on my toes.” Rock It Hot Fitness offers a range of fitness classes including step aerobics, kick boxing and body sculpting along with personal training sessions. Visit www.rockithotfitness.tc or call 331 6348 for more information.

have to be your own motivation.“I make sure I keep fruit and nuts around me to snack on and don’t let myself get too hungry.” Sherry allows herself one ‘cheat’ meal a week and loves to tuck into her sister-in-law’s mac ‘n’ cheese. But she is