Joplin Family Y Locations

Joplin Family YMCA


  • Address
  • 3404 W. McIntosh Circle
    Joplin, MO 64804
  • Joplin Family YMCA South

  • Hours
  • M - F 4:00am - 9:00pm
  • Sat. 7:00am - 6:00pm
  • Sun. 12:00pm - 6:00pm

Carol’s #MotivationMonday Story


In my lifetime, I’m sure I’ve lost and gained a thousand pounds. (At least it sometimes felt that way.)

I was born “chubby”. That was the “politically correct term” when I was a little girl. When I was a teenager, I was just “fat”. That’s what the kids called me in high school, anyway.

I started dieting as a teenager but was never really able to lose weight and keep it off. When you’re that age, who wants to think about being on a “diet”? So, my weight went up and down and up and down.

I continued the up and down cycle until I was in my late 30s. Then I decided it was time for me to get serious and diet. So I did.

I was full of determination and lost 181 pounds. It took me a couple of years to lose the weight but it was wonderful when I finally reached my goal. And, that wonderful feeling lasted……. all of about 6 months. I hit a “snag” in my personal life and the weight came back, plus a little more.

I carried the weight around for almost 10 years. I had reached my all time high on the scale – 330 pounds. Then one day, my knees started hurting. Then my hips.

I finally reached my breaking point when I went to visit a friend, got on the plane and couldn’t get the seat belt around my stomach. I had to ask for an extension. Unfortunately, the flight attendant wasn’t very discreet and the plane was packed with people. I was humiliated beyond belief.

So, I started again. But this time had to be different. Obviously, “diets” didn’t work for me. This time, I had to make a lifestyle change. I had to change my eating habits, change my way of thinking about food. I had to change ME!

It needed to be a permanent fix, not temporary. And, I couldn’t let anything get in my way. I had to put myself first. And… I had to ask for help.

And I did. It took me 7 years but I’m proud to say I’ve changed my lifestyle and along the way, I’ve lost 174 pounds. I’ve gone from size 28 to size 6.

My knees don’t hurt, and my hips don’t hurt. And I don’t need a seat belt extension. I’ve been on a plane when someone else has had to ask for an extension, and my heart just goes out to them. I’ve been there and I don’t want to go back.

  • Was it easy? NO
  • Is it a lot of work? YES
  • Did I do everything perfect the second time around? NO
  • Am I perfect now? NO
  • Have I learned how to forgive myself when I’m not perfect? YES
  • Did I hit any “snags” the second time? YES, my Mom (and my best friend) died 5 years ago but this time, I didn’t use it this “snag” as an excuse to over eat.
  • Is it worth the work and extra effort? YES, every single day.

One of the most important things I learned the second time through was that I couldn’t succeed without exercise. That word had never been part of my vocabulary. Little did I know that I just hadn’t found the right kind of exercise.

If you’re reading this now, you know that Zumba is my “thing.” I’ve discovered exercise can give you not only a physical feeling of satisfaction and well-being but it can do the same for you mentally. And, when you combine the two, it’s an amazing feeling. It's life sustaining.

I’ve received many wonderful gifts during my lifetime but the enjoyment I get out of exercise and the friends that I’ve made at Zumba with Nikki and the other instructors at the Y, is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.