Well I am a true example of the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Most probably assume that weight loss comes easy to me. And why wouldn’t they after seeing me grace the covers of fitness magazines with a portrayal of what most seek; the perfect body, self confidence and not a worry in the world. Wrong! This couldn’t be further from the truth. Growing up and throughout my teen years I quickly inherited my European genetics. I am Italian (with traces of Venezuelan) and struggled with my endomorph body having big hips, large buttocks and thick thighs with all stubborn fat. I would gain weight instantly whether I ate healthy or not.
Growing up in a primarily Caucasian city, I always felt like the “out of place girl” and was often subject to name calling, referred to as the “euro-fat girl”, bottom heavy brown girl”. Not only did this devastate me but it became so chronic that by the time I was in high school I became insecure, had low self confidence and I developed a mild eating disorder. I remember looking in the mirror and hating what I saw. I would stand front, side back, every angle pinching all areas of displeasure, my thighs and hips. I was surrounded by European traditions of food, breads, pastas and high fat foods feeling guilty for everything I ate. And the truth is I was so OBSESSED with my food and weight it became a hidden personality that no one knew about. Boy did I hide it well. I felt like 2 different people. The one in the closet with a severe body image issues and mild eating disorder and then there was the visible Nancy, driven by ego and passion to succeed. It was my best kept secret. Especially since I was very athletic being a competitive gymnast. From gymnastics, grew my passion for dance, and on top of that, in school I was also competitive in Volleyball, Track and Field, was Captain of the Cheerleading team and continued working out at the gym. Again from the outside I had the perfect life, but inside I was dying. I was at an a low point that by the time I was in my late 20’s I hit a state of depression, one of the lowest points of my life. My only savior was my drive to want to be beautifully fit, and always dreamed of being as pretty as those girls in the Magazines. I was at least lucky enough that my drive allowed me to turn my life around to taking action. It was in this lowest state that I was able to reflect, something deep within me new it was time to make a change. I was in the gym one day and someone suggested I try a fitness competition. I masked my immediate rejection by chuckling at the idea thinking there was no way this thunder thigh Italian would ever get on stage. Coincidentally the person picked up on my fear and insecurity. And I panicked thinking my secret may have been exposed. He called me on to the challenge that I could never do it. Like a sign from God, this was what it took for the true warrior to come out in me. Don’t’ even tell me I can’t.
In 2004 I did what I thought was never possible, I competed in my first fitness competition. My competitive career granted me the wonderful opportunity to establish a career in the health, fitness, and urban and mainstream entertainment industries. More importantly throughout this journey, it helped face my fears, improve my self confidence and self image. It also allowed me to experiment with different workout methods that worked for me and my body type. One size does not fit all! Trust me, even while preparing for competition or photo shoots, I faced my challenges and unexpected obstacles. I tried every type of training method, diet plans, which included hours of endless cardio sessions, restrictive diet plans, many of which produced minimal changes to my body which would make me feel like my age, European genetics, slowing metabolism and being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, all would support this never ending life long struggle for weight loss.
The Change: Finally finding the beautiful me… Inside and Out
It was all these failed attempts, and desperation that perpelled me to keep researching and experimenting with nutrition and training regimes to see what work for me. The reality is I am European and it takes twice as long for me to lose weight compared to the average person. So I have to learn to work with what I have. Through my research and trial and error I was able to develop programs that successfully combat genetic disposition, stubborn fat, slowing metabolism and hypothyroidism. Using myself as the test subject I quickly learned what I, as many of you experiencing the same thing, needed to burn fat and lose weight without sacrificing their quality of life.
“Welcome to a taste of my world,” for those of you who know me, thanks for supporting me and for those of you new to my world, jump in, absorb my life, my passions, my commitments and my experiences through dance and fitness and whatever else God throws at me…
Nancy Di Nino Facts:
Name: Nancy Di Nino Nicknames: Miss Nancy, The Red Storm Nationality: Italian with traces of Venezuelan Birthday: April 27 Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada Current Address: Toronto Marital Status: Single Height: 5’4” Education: Honors Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, specializing in Criminology Favourite TV Show: 24! and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air series Favourite Movies: Fast & Furious Series (OMG), The Proposal Favourite Actor: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson Favourite Music: Janet Jackson, Madonna, Toni Braxton, Sade, Usher, Beyone, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj Favourite Books: The Four Agreements, The Power of Intention, Inspiration Favourite Cheat Foods: COOKIES, especially peanut butter and white macadamia; Banana cake, Red Velvet Cupcakes Personal Strengths: Driven, Organized, Committed Personal Weaknesses: Love Something people may not know: I am very spiritual What you dislike most: Winter Pet Peeves: Unreliable people, liars, line-ups and waiting Any Hidden talents: Professional Dancer (salsa, hip hop), gymnastics The perfect vacation: An extended vacation in Tahiti with my significant other, on a white sand beach, not worrying about the time of day. My Personality: Outgoing, Confident, Honest, Brash Most important characteristic in a person? Honesty Favorite subject in school? Spanish Oddest comment ever heard: A guy telling me I should let him be my morning cardio. Childhood Dreams? To be famous! Still do. I am a performer by nature and love being on stage. One thing you wish you could do? Get my big break to stardom so I can “entertain” across the world in dance and fitness Best Advice: You can never change people, they can only change themselves. True happiness comes within, once you are happy and confident with yourself, everything else in life will fall into place.