Tonal Helped Me Lose 92 Pounds—and Gave Me My Life Back
Tonal member Shelley Black beat cancer three times but lost her confidence. After achieving her fitness goals, she’s living her life to the fullest.
By Shelley Black as told to Karen Iorio Adelson
I was never a small person, but losing weight became even more difficult after a series of health challenges a few years back.
At 38 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which was a total shock. It was even more surprising when, less than a year later in 2016, I learned I also had thyroid cancer. If that wasn’t enough, I found out I had skin cancer in 2019. Luckily, all three of my cancers were caught early, and I was able to beat them. But my body wasn’t the same.
I had my thyroid and uterus removed to prevent future cancers or complications, but the hormonal changes from those procedures made it very difficult to lose weight. My body simply wasn’t responding to diet and exercise. Whether I ate or didn’t eat, I gained weight.
Even if I did lose weight, it would eventually creep back up again. My husband is very active and has a background in exercise physiology. Despite going to the gym with him four to five days a week for years, I still couldn’t keep the weight off.
When our gym closed in 2020 during the pandemic, my husband started looking into other options. He suggested Tonal, and after watching a few videos online, we decided to order one.
When I was setting up my Tonal profile and had to enter my weight, I really didn’t want to put in that number. I weighed the most I had since right before I gave birth to my daughter (who’s now 17 years old). It was discouraging, but I told myself, “This is where I’m at. Now I can go from here.”
Since then, I’ve completed 32 programs and lost 92 pounds.
I really started seeing results when I added HIIT workouts to my routine. My first HIIT workout was so hard that I thought I wasn’t going to be able to walk the next day. As I kept doing these workouts weekly along with strength training, the number on the scale started going down.
Tonal changed the way I looked at working out. After starting my first program, I was hooked. I loved that it was so easy to use, even for someone like me who never tested it out before buying. I’m also very competitive, so I enjoyed maintaining my streak and following my progress on Tonal’s leaderboard. (Look for my username IAMSHELLEY1976 if you want to connect.)
Since I can just walk to another room in my house and get my workout done, I don’t have any excuses. I don’t have to worry about driving to the gym or waiting around to use the equipment I want because someone else is on it.
Community is important to me, too. I love cheering people on in live classes and posting my milestones in the Official Tonal Community. It’s so amazing to see that even in such a competitive society, people have rallied around each other. Feeling like you’re not alone in a workout makes such a huge difference. Just being part of it makes me smile.
Growing up, I never had an issue with self-confidence, but as I got older and gained weight, that shifted. I didn’t feel like myself. That all changed with Tonal.
This new confidence translates to living my life to the fullest. I’ve gone water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing, activities I hadn’t done for years because of my weight, on the lake near my home in Houston. When I do yard work or pick up a 50-pound bag of dog food at the store, I don’t have to think twice about whether I can do it. If someone asks me to go on a hike, I can say “yes” without a question. The old me would have been like, “Have you lost your mind?” I haven’t run a marathon, but I feel like I could if I put in the training. I have the tools to do something like that now. I’m even planning on starting my own business designing clothing and accessories, a challenge I’ve wanted to take on for a while but didn’t think I was ready.
Tonal has given me my life back and helped me love myself in a way I thought I’d never be able to again. Now, when I look in the mirror, I feel like I’m truly seeing myself.