Member Spotlight

Feature Member

Nicki Faro 

Nicki grew up in Bridgewater, NH with her dad and stepmother, and currently lives in Meredith, NH. She has been a police dispatcher for 5.5 years. She started at Laconia PD and has been with Meredith PD since 2013. She joined The Fitness Edge two years ago when she moved to Meredith.

As Nicki Tells It:

As long as I can remember I have struggled with my weight and the insecurities that come with it. I was always the “chubby” kid in school and always felt very uncomfortable in my body from a young age (thank you puberty!!!). In high school I kind of forgot about my insecurities because I didn’t feel like I was judged. Yes, I did notice that I was not a size 0 like some of my classmates and yes….boys thought of me as “one of the guys”, and I was never in the girlfriend zone. I was okay with that though because I had great friends, and I really just focused on my artwork in school and being kind of a class clown.

It wasn’t until I started college that I realized my weight was an issue. I remember I started to really feel the struggles with being overweight the day I had to walk from the field house to class carrying all my art supplies and I thought I was literally going to die. I had to carry extra baby powder with me all the time because my legs always rubbed together and it was actually really painful. 

While I was in college (for 58 hours as my Dad likes to remind me!!), I worked at Meredith Village Savings Bank. We were required to wear nice dress clothes. I have always had a clothes addiction. For some reason they made me feel a little better about my body, like I could hide the fact I was overweight under name brand clothes. I still own the last pair of dress pants I bought before I underwent my transformation. They were a size 14 and the clasp on the waist band broke.  I actually had to safety pin my pants on because I had gained so much weight after high school. 

I tried to blame my weight gain on my medications I took for adrenal disease, but honestly I did not exercise and I ate like crap! The fact that I am Italian doesn’t really help either. I just like sweets and pasta and bread,…obviously pizza….and definitely ice cream.

So, I went to the doctor one day because my ankles kept swelling up at work and I just felt odd. They took my blood pressure and it was 180/140ish. I can’t remember the specifics, but basically I should have been dead. They put me on blood pressure medications and sent me to a nutritionist. I guess they were concerned because my father had a heart attack at a young age and he was on medication for diabetes. So…I went to the same nutritionist my dad went to. She took away all the fun foods. The first time I sat down with her, I disliked her a great deal. She did not baby me and tell me it was okay to be unhealthy as long as I love my curves. She flat out told me I was going to die if I didn’t make some serious changes. I was 185/190 lbs and she told me I should be 117-120 (according to those generic charts that I thought were bull crap and still are because I weigh 130lbs now). I told her that there was no way in hell I would ever weight that.  I actually ignored everything she said and went on a binge through the holidays…it was my last hoorah I supposed before I succumbed to eating air and water until I was “skinny”.

This is the part where I start to share what went wrong with this lady. I believed her. I believed I had to be 117 lbs or I was considered obese. Like most impressionable young ladies…..I went to the extreme. I walked miles and miles each week and I ate like a bird. Over the next 5 months or so, I went from 190ish to 125lbs, but I wasn’t satisfied. I was sick and tired of not eating what I wanted and I just wanted to be a size 2. That’s when my struggle with bulimia began. I thought to myself, how do I eat whatever I want, but still stay thin. Unfortunately binging and purging was my solution. I was about 19 or 20 when this started. At my lowest weight, I think I was around 108lbs and a size 00 (yes…they make a 00 because 0 just isn’t quite small enough). 

So a year or so into my eating disorder, I ended up in the hospital after trying to run a 5k for a charity event.  My body was so deprived of the nutrients it needed that it started to shut down. Inside I was so scared that I was going to kill myself and there was no way to stop it. The doctors pulled my parents aside and asked if I had an eating disorder and they said I didn’t. They would see me eat all the time, but I was really, really good at hiding it.  Secretly I wanted them to find out because I knew I didn’t have what it took to stop on my own. I never told anyone. I liked getting praise for being thin, even though I was actually ill. Eventually, something inside me decided I HAD to stop. This disorder consumed me. I slowly started to set goals for myself and I would say “ok, I am only going to purge the things I eat after noon.” Or “I will only binge and purge 4 times this week” Slowly, but surely I began to conquer the binging and purging. I think the main reason I was determined to stop is that I didn’t want to live with the shame of asking for help or disappointing my family.

After going through divorce (yes…I got married and divorced while all this was going on) I decided to really turn my life around. I was disorder free and was ready to start over again. I started to exercise and run a lot. I really had no goal, other than to focus on fixing my self-esteem. I just wanted to feel better and be healthy. Honestly, when it came to weights, I had no idea what I was doing. I followed P90x and Insanity a couple times, which helped. I really couldn’t afford a gym membership, so I did what I could with the equipment that was given to me.

When I joined The Fitness Edge two years ago, I was doing mostly cardio and yoga. Sometimes I played around in the weight room, but I was intimidated by the people in there (shout out to my crew!). I found myself doing the same workout every day, 5 to 7 times a week. So I started to read articles online with different workouts and meal plans. I ended up finding this one program called Live Fit by Jamie Eason. I decided to give it a try because it didn’t look that complicated and was easy to follow. I took before pictures and it really was the start to my journey. After I finished the program I noticed a huge difference. Not only did I feel like my thin body had some muscle meat on it, but I was gaining knowledge. I was transforming my body and mind!

So…my weight lifting journey began. I have done several different programs to gain muscle, then lean out, then gain muscle. It’s been about 1.5 years and the progress blows my mind. I have found something that I am passionate about; I have made friends along the way, and I have found my purpose for life. I really have set some BIG goals for myself and I slowly am making progress to reach them. I just got my ACE certification in group fitness training!! I am a certified Spinning instructor and I also have become an ambassador for two companies (Vermont Peanut Butter Company and 1st Phorm.   

When I am not in the gym, I spend time with my family, friends and boyfriend. I love hiking and love to challenge myself with long excursions. My most recent hike was the Pemi Loop which was 33 miles. I completed it with my boyfriend and a friend. We hiked through the night and did it as a day hike. I also have done the presidential traverse twice and have completed numerous winter hikes over 15 miles long.

I really do like to share my story with others because I want to let people know that EVERYONE struggles. I want to inspire people like myself to be happy, healthy and strong and help they overcome their obstacles. There is nothing more rewarding to me than knowing I can help make a difference in someone’s day, life, health and happiness. I really am proud to be part of The Fitness Edge family. I have met so many great people who have encouraged me and motivated me to keep reaching my goals.  I feel very blessed that this Is where my journey has taken me.