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Editor's Note: We're thrilled to announce that singer, songwriter and SparkPeople member Tiffany Moníque is the dailySpark's newest team member. She'll be blogging a couple of times a month about her journey to lose 100 pounds and keep it off using SparkPeople--while maintaining a busy life as a musician, mother, and all-round go-getter!
Tiffany credits The Spark for changing her life. Not only has she lost more than 80 pounds so far, but she kick-started her solo music career as well. We're excited to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at her life on the road as she continues to spread the Spark. Tiffany is a prime example of what you can accomplish using SparkPeople; not only did she take control of her health and fitness, but she's using that momentum to reach goals in other areas of her life. We can't wait to see how far she can go, spreading the Spark along the way, and we hope she motivates you as much as she motivates us!
By Tiffany Moníque (AKApella13)
I'm back--and I'm excited to be a regular guest blogger on the dailySpark!
Hey y'all (in my native Nashville, Tennessee, drawl). So, let me tell you what I’ve been up to lately. I hope all is well with you! For those of you who may not remember me, I am Tiffany Moníque (AKApella13) – singer, songwriter and background vocalist for Beyoncé. I was honored to be featured on the dailySpark and CBS News a few months ago for my success in losing almost 80 pounds. Prior to and since that time, I've been quite the busy lady in effort of keeping up with the incredible opportunities that have come my way. But before I go any further, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your love, support and words on encouragement along my weight loss journey. It has been quite exciting for me as I transition into this new reality of better health, life, fitness and success. I've tried my best to befriend everyone who lent my support my way and will continue to do so in the future. Even if it takes me a while to respond, please know that I read and appreciate all of your comments and words of encouragement.
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When you work at SparkPeople, Success Stories are a big part of the water cooler chatter. We know all of our Success Stories by name, and we love to spread the word when a member of the SparkPeople "family" has a WooHoo moment!
"Did you hear about that member who lost 80 pounds and is a back-up singer for Beyoncé?"
"What? No way!"
"Yes. She has an amazing voice and has an album of her own. CBS News just did a story on her."
"Whoa. Such a great story!"
True story--and one that we're psyched to share with all of you.
Not only did Tiffany Monique (AKAPELLA13) end a long cycle of yo-yo dieting and go from 235 pounds to 158 pounds--and counting--but she's also making huge strides in her career as a recording artist. Best known as one-third of the Mamas, Beyoncé's back-up singers, she recently recorded her debut EP, "Nemesis," and has another album in the works. She's primed for a big breakthrough, and SparkGuy and all of us here are trying to give her the boost we know she deserves. (You can help, too!)
First watch her CBS News story here:
She credits "The Spark," which she read while on tour with Beyoncé, for a large part of her success. She wrote to SparkGuy:
It's amazing because so many of the stories in "The Spark" made me feel as if someone were peeking into my window. I grew up as a skinny teenager and began gaining weight in college... I guess you can say I gained the Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior and Post Graduate "15." LOL!(Do you need a tissue after reading that? I did!) Now read our exclusive interview with Tiffany. When she's a big star--we can all say we knew her and supported her along the way! WooHoo!
This was also the time I began to take my music career seriously but always ran into roadblocks because of my weight. I was even told by a well-known music executive that I had the chops, but my "looks didn't compete with the divas" on his roster. I was CRUSHED. As my song Nemesis outlines, I learned to transform that negative energy into fuel for my success. That mentality showed immediate effects with my esteem, but it didn't do as much for my success in entering the major music entertainment industry.
I am honored that Beyoncé looked beyond my size to see my gift. The opportunity to sing background for and tour with Beyoncé gave me the education and training required, in my opinion, for any artist to truly be successful.
But it was not without consequence. I, and the other full figured background singers, read countless reviews that praised our vocals but criticized our weight. We were called "fat tubbies, big mommas, bodyguard singers" and more. It was a constant reminder of how cruel people can be, but also how unhappy I was with my weight and that I needed to get obesity out of the way to make my dream a reality.
This is where "The Spark" comes in. I joined the site and purchased the book all while on tour. And within the first couple of pages, I felt as if I needed to check the ceilings and windows for surveillance cameras. I was the one who saw the amount of weight loss needed as so extraordinary (100 lbs) that it seemed impossible. I was the one who set goals so grand and large but didn't account for the small steps that needed to be made first. And MOST importantly, I am the mother who, though thrilled with the opportunity of being on tour with Beyoncé, felt guilty that I was leaving my son behind in order to make a living. Yes, this is the life I desire, but not solely from the "background." I desire a successful music career on MY terms that affords me the opportunity to have my son with me instead of having to solely watch me on television or through a Skype camera for months on end.
Your book was definitely instrumental in helping me honestly assess what my goals and motivations were."
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