A local elementary teacher has undertaken her own physical transformation—and she’s feeling good.
“Like so many people, I had yo-yoed with dieting and weight loss over the years,” said Rae Manzie, a kindergarten teacher at W. O. Parmer Elementary School in Greenville.
And then came a milestone birthday in a year like no other.
“I turned 30 in mid-May 2020 and I realized how quarantine had caused me to pack on even more pounds. I knew it was time to make use of all my free time and take back my health,” Manzie explained.
It isn’t about “getting skinny now;” it’s about looking ahead and making long-term goals.
“I was inspired because I want to be healthy, live a long life—and be an example of healthy habits for my future children.”
Less than a year later after beginning her weight loss journey, Manzie is now 50 pounds lighter and more active than she’s been in years.
Typically, the teacher wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to walk/run for 20 minutes on the treadmill. Twice a week, she attends Zumba classes at the local YMCA. On other days, she says, Manzie focuses on targeted strength training exercises.
Like any good educator, Manzie has a plan for success.
“When I started, I would pre-plan my meals/snacks and set a daily schedule for my workouts and eating times,” she explained.
“I follow several healthy eating influences on Instagram and Facebook and a get a lot of meal ideas from there. Some of my fave follows are @castironketo & @ketointhecity_ on Instagram and @lowcarbstateofmind on TikTok. Although I follow several low-carb accounts I don’t strictly follow a keto/low-carb diet.”
While she varies her meals, some of her favorite options include chicken salad, Caesar salad, turkey meatballs and stuffed mushrooms.
Social eating, Manzie says, has been the biggest stumbling block of her weight loss journey.
“When there are pot lucks or snacks at school, I can easily overeat or continually snack all day,” she admitted.
But there are also the rewards.
“My biggest joy is seeing the non-scale victories—my clothes fitting more loosely; having increased stamina and energy while being active,” Manzie said.
It all starts in your head, she says.
“The change starts mentally; then comes the physical transformation. I would suggest to anyone wanting to start their own journey to health to make a plan and start small. Small changes over time create long-lasting results,” Manzie said.
And while virtually teaching this year means her kindergarteners don’t get the see their teacher’s transformation in person, her extended day students are definitely reaping the benefits of Manzie’s restored good health.
“ Even though I had been on my journey for a few months when I met these kids, I do think they appreciate me being able to be active, to dance and play and participate in activities with them,” she explained.
Manzie’s bright smiles are even more luminous these days.
“I am so proud of myself because I am accomplishing something I have never done before. I actually am smaller now than I was in high school. I would say to anyone else who wants to make a change—start now. It’s only impossible until you do it,” she said.