On September 10, Emira Amami crossed the finish line of La Parisienne, the first European women-only road race. But the journey to get there was no easy feat. Read on to discover how she managed to transform her mind and body.
Emira Amami, a 29-year-old stylist in Paris, had what seemed to her be an impossible fitness goal: crossing the finish line of La Parisienne, a 7k road race. The journey seemed long, perhaps because at that time, she was living a sedentary lifestyle and weighed 250 pounds. But one year after she signed on and began the #365BodyByLucile program run by her coach, Lucile Woodward, she had a determined mind and a body almost 50 pounds lighter. That was how, surrounded by her supporters, Emira overcame her doubts and learned to love her body.
We had the privilege of being able to chat with Emira about her journey to a healthier, happier life, and we hope she inspires you as much as she’s inspired us.
Interview With Emira
We were thrilled to see you rise to the challenge of La Parisienne. One week later, how are you feeling? And how did you feel when you crossed the finish line?
I felt a bit euphoric at the finish line. It hadn’t registered that I had managed to run without stopping for the first time in my life. I still don’t really believe it.
Can you tell us more about the 365 Body By Lucile adventure? How did that all start?
A friend told me about the contest that Lucile had just launched, and I simply sent in my application. I’m sure you can imagine that I was very happy to be selected.
What were the main stages of the program?
I hadn’t exercised for several years before starting 365 Body By Lucile. It was pretty crazy to find myself once again doing squats and cycling after having spent so much time doing nothing.
I am also “detoxed” from sugar, which before was my primary source of nutrition. It took me more than two months before I no longer felt the need to eat it daily. And I was very happy the day when I couldn’t finish my slice of cake during a family meal, when I had eaten two full slices just months before.
What was the most difficult part?
It was to see my body change, and to no longer be able to recognize myself, which was a complicated feeling. It’s for this reason that my weight loss is slow and progressive. I think that subconsciously, I didn’t want to not be able to recognize myself in the mirror from one day to the next.
What is your favorite memory? Are there things you thought weren’t achievable?
I really did not think that I would be able to run a race one day. Truly not. I had not run since cross country in high school. So my first 5 kilometers with Lucile were really crazy. Succeeding in completing 7km during La Parisienne with my friends is truly the best memory.
How did your family react? And what about the Internet users who followed your adventure thanks to the hashtag #365BodybyLucile and your Instagram account @mirachou?
My family was incredible. My boyfriend went along with it just like my friends, so my social life did not slow down. And the internet fans were incredibly kind, it was really crazy.
Lucille, a Nokia Health ambassador, offered to supplement your program with a Steel activity tracker and a Body Cardio scale. How have these products helped you in your daily life?
The Steel watch helped me keep an eye on my daily activity. I have so much to do every day that I can easily forget how I got to the office in the morning. The watch allowed me to make myself walk more. If I spent the whole day seated at the office, I take the time to go for a walk to get moving again. Or I walk to meet up with my friends rather than taking the metro or a taxi. I was also connected with the other program participants. So we challenged each other, and it so happened that on Sunday, some of us covered a few extra kilometers so our step counts would pass that of the others, most of all Julien and me.
Why would you recommend the products?
The advantage of the watch and the scale is that they are both connected to the app on my phone, so I have easy access to everything there. And the weight trend is very, very motivating, and allows me to get back on track when I gain a few pounds.
What message do you want to pass along?
Slim or plus size, everyone is completely capable of getting back in shape, running 7km, and feeling good.
So what’s next? What are your next challenges?
I am in better shape today at 30 years old than I was at age 20! The next step is to relaunch my weight loss. I would like to lose another few pounds so I can outdo myself once more!
For more insight, we talked to Emira’s coach. We asked Lucile Woodward to tell us more about what her coaching entailed, to better understand Emira’s amazing transformation.
Lucille: With Emira, we established long-term coaching, which, for me, is indicative of a successful shift that will last for the rest of her life. We do light strength training tailored to her body type, combined with a lot of walking and stair climbing as she progresses. Running only came after 8 or 9 months of stable weight loss. We first worked on walking and general mobility. The steps tracker and the weekly weight report thanks to the Health Mate app was a big help to us to quantify her fitness improvements and track her wellbeing over time. Seeing the weight trend dip down gradually, and the number of steps increase each week really helped her stay motivated, even in times of stagnated weight loss or temptation.
Today, Emira is in great shape, and she has achieved her goal of improving her body and mind. She even wants to start running 10km runs. The perfect challenge to relaunch her weight loss. To be continued…
Want to know more about Emira and her journey? Check out Lucile’s blog.