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Womanof The Month 9-09: Marisa Thomas

From the Depths of Obesity to National Beauty Queen

In the face of adversity, Marisa Thomas has achieved some impressive accomplishments since she embarked on her fitness and wellness program. A medical office specialist, Thomas was crowned Mrs. Jacksonville US 2009 in November, Mrs. Florida Global US 2009 in May, and Mrs. Global America US 2010 in June.

To achieve her weight loss goals, Marisa decided to lose the natural way and take a holistic approach in her eating and physical habits. Starting with a ten-day cleanse to get rid of body toxins, she then incorporated healthier foods into her meals by cutting back on high-sodium foods, carbonated drinks, and high-caloric sweets. For her workout regimen, Thomas exercised at her employer’s gym (having the monthly dues taken out bi-weekly on her paycheck was a BIG motivator!) before going to work each day.

When asked what encouraged her to take the initiative to start the weight loss process, Thomas replied that in March of 2001 her adoptive mother died of cancer and heart disease. Several months afterwards Marisa started to experience tightness in her chest and shortness of breath when she slightly exerted herself. Thinking it was stress related she shrugged the episodes off each time until November of 2006 when she started having severe chest pains. In a panic, Thomas remembers calling her husband, Eric to meet her at the emergency room. When the triage nurse weighed her in at 229 pounds at 5apostrophe 5", Marisa was startled. During her childhood and adolescent years she was healthy, thin, and never had to worry about what she ate. After high school, she obtained jobs that required little or no physical activity. At age twenty-two, she got married and admits that the following eight years was a long, hard journey as she experienced depression and weight gain. Yet, it took the second ER visit at age 29 before it sunk in that her health was in poor condition. To make matters more serious, Marisa was an adopted child with no background knowledge of her family/health history.

Determined to live out her life at an old age, Thomas prayed for spiritual guidance in getting healthy again and sought professional medical advice. In addition, she did countless hours of research in learning healthier alternatives in regards to weight management. As the weight started to come off, Marisa continued to eat right and exercised for the next two years. In August of 2008, she weighed in at 142 pounds. At that point, all she needed to lose was fifteen more pounds in order to reach her healthy goal mark; however, during the next couple of months Marisa stayed stagnant at that weight. Fortunately, in October of 2008, her employer had started a comprehensive wellness program called Healthy for Life, which was designed to help employees live & stay well by promoting and identifying health risks, as well as helping to prevent disease. In the program, Thomas learned that she had reached her target weight and received guidance in coming up with a healthy personal strategy to lose the extra fifteen pounds over the next six months.

A month later, Marisa was anonymously referred to a pageant for married women in regards to her accomplishments. Amazingly, even though it was her first time entering into a competition, Marisa was crowned the 2009 Mrs. Jacksonville US in December, 2008 and became an avid volunteer for several outreach projects in her community. By May, 2009, Marisa celebrated a double success of reaching her weight goal of 127 pounds (losing 102 pounds altogether in two and a half years), as well as receiving the state title of Mrs. Florida Global US 2009. Impassioned more than ever, Thomas used her past experiences dealing with obesity, homelessness, depression, and abuse to go throughout the state of Florida assisting numerous non-profit organizations with these serious issues. Making an impressive number of forty-two civic appearances by June, 2009, Marisa celebrated another victory in the same month when she was crowned the national title of Mrs. Global America US 2010 at the Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Today, Marisa Thomas is proud to be a Community Ambassador for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEFL. In addition, Marisa and her husband, Eric, of ten years are recent founders of three special public service programs: For the Fight Against Cancer, For the Fight Against Poverty, and Helping Adolescents Reach Their Full Potential. Driven by her personal platform motto “Compassion reaches the heart...and empowers the person within", Marisa hopes that during and after her reign as the 2010 Mrs. Global America US that her dedicated service involvement will impact others to rise above their circumstances through education and perseverance—until success is reached in living out their destined purpose in life.

About Marisa Thomas:

During her reign as Mrs. Global America US 2010, Marisa Thomas is very passionate about spreading health awareness nationwide after her eleven-year bout with obesity. Marisa, 33, has lost 102 pounds the natural way during the past two and a half years thru healthy eating and regular exercise.

You may contact Marisa at Global America US (Sarah Colin-Neaves, Media/PR Executive), c/o Marisa Thomas - Mrs. Global America US 2010, Post Office Box 40894, Jacksonville, FL 32203 (904) 370-9261