<p>Dennnis before and after.</p>

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I have been in the industry since 2001 when I became partners with my best friend; we owned a salon, spa, and fitness center. When my partner and I no longer complemented each other, I moved on and eventually opened my own salon, Infinity Luxury Salon, in Bingen, Wash.

What are your health challenges?
The stress of failing partnerships, buying a new salon, and starting over took a toll on me. Two months after opening my salon, I was very sick. I thought I had cancer. I couldn’t walk to my car without becoming extremely exhausted. I couldn’t stand after doing a pedicure; my arthritis in my knees would hurt so bad after sitting for an hour. My monthly cycle was kicking my butt; I would sleep for 10 days during that time. After several tests and doctor appointments, I did not have cancer, but my doctor told me I needed a hysterectomy and that I also also needed to start a weight loss program.

What was/is your plan of action?
The very next day, a friend of mine, a nurse I had not seen in three years, stopped in the salon. She told me she had something I might be interested in. She had brought me a weight loss program! I took it as a godsend and didn’t ask questions; I just signed up. The first week was a detox, i.e., a low-carb, high-protein eating plan with supplements. My family and clients could not believe the transformation in me in just one week.  I lost 8.5 pounds and 13 inches. I lost 5.5 inches just off my stomach. But the best part was that every single health issue I had went away with that detox. I went on to lose 30 pounds in six weeks, 50 pounds by around the 90-day mark, and I felt better than I ever had in my life. And I did it with no exercise and working full time as a nail tech.

How has/does your job as a nail tech affect your plan?
I never planned a lunch or snacks before. I would just order from the local café that delivered and eat on the run. Now, I plan out my lunch and snacks and still eat on the run in between clients, but it’s healthy food from home. My protein shake is a meal replacement and super tasty. I have that on hand for when I get backed up with clients. Super easy, put in a shaker bottle with milk or water, shake, and go. It tides me over for about two hours.

What is your greatest motivation in maintaining your new healthy lifestyle?
My motivation truly comes from my clients. By day three of starting the program, my clients were saying, “What are you doing? You are radiant!” I was embarrassed that I had to start a weight loss program, so I wasn’t telling anyone, but when they asked, I let them know. Many of my clients wanted to do it too.

What are your best fitness tips and advice for other nail techs who need encouragement to embark on a healthy lifestyle?
Know that if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of others later. Finding the right supplements with the eating plan and the support team was what worked for me. Just eating right is not enough anymore. The supplements are what filled the nutritional gaps I was missing and allowed my body to change medically and weight wise. No other program did that for me, so find one that works for you.

<p>Tammy's view on her morning walks</p>

Are you a healthy nail tech? Every month, NAILS will feature one nail tech in a monthly column devoted to shining the spotlight on your health and fitness success! If you would like to share your success story (overcoming health issues, weight loss — any health-related triumph) with NAILS readers, email tracy.rubert@bobit.com to find out more about how YOU can be featured as a NAILS Healthy Tech.

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