While some people may have only this year made New Year’s resolutions to get fit, Brianna Marzett has committed her life to fitness. The Killeen, Texas, native has lost over 140 pounds since 2017 and has made it her mission to help others transform. But she admits the road to health hasn’t been easy.
“I’m shopping with my mom in the adult sizes at maybe like [age] 10, versus going to the junior section or going to the young girl section,” said Marzett.
The middle school special education teacher tells Atlanta Black Star that she has struggled with her weight most of her life. She recalls not having the support she needed order to lose weight as a child. “Even like being told, ‘Hey, if you lose weight I’ll buy you clothes,’ so clothes being withheld [from me]” was a way to entice her to lose weight, Marzett said.
By the time Marzett got to middle school, she weighed 200 pounds. In high school, she remembers being embarrassed to order uniforms because of her size.
“When I would go change in the locker room I was like, ‘Oh, they’re definitely smaller,’ or when we’re calling out sizes for our jerseys, you know, for team sports I was like, ‘Oh, OK, I’m definitely bigger,’” Marzett said.
She weighed over 300 pounds at her heaviest. According to the Office of Minority Health, four out of five African-American women are overweight. African-American obesity rates are higher in the U.S. compared to other groups.
After a doctor’s visit in 2016, Marzett felt pushed to make a major change. “What stuck out to me was when I actually read over the papers and it said an active condition and morbid obesity, it all hit me at once,” she added.
Soon after the doctor’s visit, she says she started thinking about the battles her family had faced due to obesity.
“My grandma died overweight. She had heartache, chronic heart failure. My mom has high blood pressure, you know,” Marzett said. “I started thinking about my cousin who was overweight. I knew if I didn’t put my foot down then I was creating chains I wouldn’t be able to break free.”
At the start of 2017, Marzett built up the confidence to start her weight loss journey by joining Reggie C. Fitness in Houston.
“It just started with a community of women coaching here, and it was like here’s your meal plan, these are the classes you need to take. I remember just gunning it, and then from there it was like 60 pounds then it was 80 then it was like 90 pounds.”
She says she started with cardio, clean eating, and portion control. She says she ate a combination of vegetables, protein, and complex carbs four times a day to help fuel the weight loss. Reggie C Fitness owner Reggie Collier took notice of her and encouraged her to become a fitness coach.
“I had the idea of her joining our team. I noticed it wasn’t really because of her transformation because we have a lot of people who have major transformations,” Collier said. “It was really her personality and the positivity of her personality, and I could tell she would be a great cultivator in our community.”
Today Marzett works as a fitness coach at Reggie C Fitness, working every day to help other women transform.
“I had made a promise to God that I would spend a lifetime fighting to help other people with any type of transformation they wanted to see. Like you don’t have to be that way you have been or be stuck to the life that your strongholds give you, you can change them.”
She also offers this advice for anyone having difficulty losing weight:
“You have to fuel yourself, if that car is going without any gas it doesn’t move. So while you are investing in yourself, invest with physical fitness, mental wellness and all of it. It makes you better outside of just the physical. I feel like you’re going to see more doors open. You’re going to be more ambitious, and your confidence will be greater.”