Heather with daughter Morgan (age 9)
Photo Credit: Dave Monroe
Heather's T-Tapp success story is featured in People Magazine (June 1, 2009 issue)
on page 86.
Hello, my name is Heather Petrie and I’ve lost almost 150 pounds! That’s right, 12 years ago my weight reached almost 300 pounds and I was miserable, tired and decided I had enough!
Even as a child I was chunky and an emotional eater. I clearly remember the day when I was in 4th grade and came home from school, opened my parent’s refrigerator and stuffed my face with food until I could barely breathe – all because I had a tough day. For the remainder of grade school, junior high, high school and into my 20’s I struggled with weight and overeating issues.
In 1993 I started another diet and exercise plan and for a few months I stuck with it dropping from a size 16/18 to a 12. I became pregnant with my first child Morgan, who is now 15 years old. Not only did I put all the weight back on, I gained a good 90-100 pounds! Being a new mother was exhausting and having consistent low back and knee pain didn’t help. Poor eating habits lead to packing on more pounds and I ballooned up to a size 22/24. I was miserable! Not only was I unhappy with myself, but I used the weight as emotional padding and was difficult with everyone around me! I became pregnant with my second child in 1998 and had my son Marc, who is now 11 years old. I was close to 300 pounds by that time and the weight lead to a near miscarriage and months of restricted activity. After the scare of almost losing Marc, I was a little more careful not to view pregnancy as a free for all feeding frenzy and backed off on fast food.
Once Marc was born, I finally realized after months of non-activity how lucky I was to be able to move and add activity back into my life. After I got the go-ahead from my OB, I decided that this time I would really get out there and view life in an entirely new way – for not only my sake but the sake of my children and family. Instead of viewing basic house chores and the ¼ mile trek from my car to my desk (I worked for a local hospital in Des Moines, Iowa) as exercise, I decided to get out and walk as briskly as I could for 2 miles every day with my new baby and my 4 year old in tow. No matter how long it took I completed that 2 miles, checking my walking time; and after a few months I was getting faster and faster. I cleaned up my diet by eating fresh or frozen veggies, meat and a carbohydrate (rice, potato, etc.) Eventually the walking lead to running, bike riding and kick boxing; and then it was onto cardio and weight lifting, yoga and/or Pilates.
Within a year and a half I dropped around between 100-120 pounds and fit into a size 8/10. Unfortunately, my body began to adjust to the calorie intake and exercise. I began drinking whey protein shakes for breakfast and lunch with a small (and what I considered) a healthy dinner. I was the healthiest I had ever been! My outlook on life changed tremendously. I was so happy to shed the emotional ‘padding’ I carried with me for so many years. I was no longer defensive in social settings and I greatly (and finally) enjoyed learning about the people around me. I had so much energy and I was so proud of myself for being able to actively play with my children – I even joined them on the playground equipment at the park! The weight loss led to many changes in my life and I decided to end a very unhappy marriage.
Shortly after my separation I had my first onset of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system. Although MS is not directly inherited, there is a clear genetic susceptibility. My aunt had her first onset in her 40's and is in the process of being formally diagnosed with her level of the disease. I suspect (by descriptions and observations) that my maternal Grandmother had MS too.
In my case, the symptoms came on literally overnight! I’ve been told it was a pretty typical onset brought on by stress, both physical and emotional. At the time I was working as an administrative assistant and wore office/dress attire. One day at work my toes and bottoms of my feet went numb. I thought to myself, “Darn these dress shoes!” By the end of the day the numbness traveled up my legs. By the time I got in bed I was extremely fatigued and the numb feeling had traveled all the way to my diaphragm area – dissipating as it went up my chest. I was experiencing what’s commonly referred to as the ‘chest squeeze’; by morning, I could barely breathe. When I stood up as I got out of bed my legs felt like I had two cement bricks hanging off the bottom of my feet; I literally had to think, "Pick up foot, and put it down". I was scared as I struggled to walk, but I was more concerned about getting the children off to school and child care and getting to work for the day. Being a single newly divorced mother, I couldn’t afford to miss a day of income.
On the commute to work that morning as I was traveling along the interstate my surroundings suddenly became unfamiliar and I missed my exit. I had traveled the same route to work for over 2 years! Furthermore, it was even an area I grew up in and yet I didn’t recognize the landscape. When I got into work that morning I couldn’t remember where some of the keys were on my computer keyboard and my hand writing became large and loopy because of the numbness. I had the sensation that my diaphragm was being squeezed, and I felt like I wasn't completely filling my lungs when I breathed in. I couldn’t sense when I had to urinate; instead I became very sick to my stomach and that would remind me to head to the restroom. Sadly my co-workers weren’t very supportive, but I decided I better head to my doctor’s office just so I could get some type of confirmation that I wasn’t losing my mind!
Click here to read more about Heather's MS
In 1999 I got engaged and moved to the Philadelphia area. My weight had climbed back up to 200 pounds and I was fighting a losing battle with my health. Although I had been exercising daily, I still had sagging skin and was really having a hard time getting my body to lose in certain areas because of the weight loss fluctuations. I was even squatting 275 pounds trying to get my hips to slim down which ended up stressing my low back. (I learned though a doctor that I have degenerative breakdown in my low back and at the time my right leg was almost 2 inches shorter than the left!) I started making 3 trips a week to a chiropractor because of my horrible burning low back pain. I was so out of touch with my abdominal area (due to the weight and two pregnancies) that any exercise I did to strengthen and stabilize my torso was not effective enough. But I didn’t know any other way to exercise other than the old standards of traditional “fitness.”
One day while sitting at a friend’s house I picked up a Woman’s World Magazine and read an article about a workout called T-Tapp. The exercise samples in the magazine and the article about Teresa Tapp were very intriguing to me, so as soon as I got home I looked up Teresa’s web site. I ordered the Total System that included the Basic Workout and Total Workout DVDs, plus the CRT Skin Tightening System. For three years I had intensely studied fitness and nutrition on my own and what I read about the T-Tapp program made a lot of sense to me. I couldn’t wait to get started. I printed off several of Teresa’s free “Try Before You Buy” moves and started practicing them while waiting for my Total System to arrive.
When I discovered T-Tapp, I was mostly concerned with losing weight. On my own I've lost well over 115 pounds, give or take 15 pounds depending on what is happening in my life. The day I received my package from T-Tapp I started the Instructional #1 workout… and that day my low back pain went away!!! That was it, I was hooked. The lower back pain I had been dealing with from a previous car accident and complications from those spinal taps was gone! I no longer needed to go to the chiropractor every week. I lost 18 inches after just 4 weeks, my clothes became loose and--something I didn’t expect to happen--my digestive issues and MS symptoms began to subside! My body was sculpting itself to look like I had always been a naturally thin person. The sagging skin at the backs of my arms, thighs and inguinal fold lifted. Then I started following the healthy God Made/Man Made eating plan Teresa suggests and followed the 2 days on / 1 day off guidelines. Not only was I eating and not feeling guilty but I also started to understand my body’s size and shape; I began feel proud about the way I look. From October 1999 to January 2000 I dropped to a size 6!!! People I had just met would be amazed when I told them I had 2 children, and then when I told them I had lost 150 pounds they really looked shocked!
After a few weeks of ‘T-Tapping’ I got a chance to meet Teresa Tapp in Philadelphia while she was in town teaching at a weekend T-Tapp retreat. She was (and still is) one of the most incredible woman/people I have ever met. She took time to help me in that crowded exercise room because at that time I was still unable to coordinate the left side of my body. She showed me how to increase the movement between the left and right side, explained how her program would help me increase nerve transmission and neuro-kinetic flow, and explained that I could improve my lymphatic/elimination system if I used her form ‘tweaks’ when I got home. Of course I used her advice! I saw more improvement in the MS complications and eventually I regained control of my body–even my memory issues.
When starting the T-Tapp program, I never expected it would help improve my MS! But what could be better for a person with a neurological disorder than to get the neuro-kinetic flow going and to pump the lymphatic system! After the first onset of MS, which lasted over a month, I have been in "remission" and have not had another relapse. It does not mean that I don't have any symptoms, I deal with some thing or another every day. It’s more that the onset ebbed, but left some residual effects. I would say the rest of my symptoms subsided by 90%. I haven't had the muscle tears since the winter of 2001-2002. But, if I don't take care of my body with nutrition, use the T-Tapp Workout, or get enough sleep I will get some symptoms, mostly the MS fatigue and numbness. But that is to be expected when I am pushing myself past my limit. This is usually a sign that I have just done too much or need to catch up on sleep. My blood pressure occasionally has gone as high as 140/90, that seems to happen in the winter. I have also noticed that my body will quickly gain weight if I don't watch what I eat (7 lbs or more in a week!), but that goes makes sense since people with MS tend to have slow digestive and lymphatic systems. Almost as soon as I started T-Tapp and began taking Teresa's Premium Blended Alfalfa the Rheumatoid Arthritis started to dissipate. I don’t let myself run out of the Alfalfa because the symptoms come back.
Now 9 years later, I am still T-Tapping. I own Iowa’s only T-Tapp studio and have become a Senior T-Tapp Trainer and National Lead Trainer of the T-Tapp MORE Rehab Program. I graduated from massage therapy school (5 years ago now) and actually apply T-Tapp Techniques to my massage therapy practice. Several years ago I began eating organic and started compiling organic recipes for my clients to use as they learn about organic cooking. My practice is now 90% T-Tapp training and I have the blessing of helping others. My clients vary; I have those with weight issues (from a little to a lot to lose) but the people who are closest to my heart are those with a various health issues like MS, Fibromyalgia, biomechanical pain, and digestive issues. I know what it’s like to deal with those issues – how lonely you can feel, how scared, and how lost. My clients have taught me so much about myself and about life. Teresa has become my friend and has shared her wealth of knowledge with me so I can pass it on to those in need.
Every MS patient has different symptoms; some have more, some have less. Despite the unpredictability of MS, most patients fall into 4 different types which can be found on most MS web sites. It can take up to 5 to 10 years for a person to be placed into one of these categories. I have yet to find out which type of MS I have. But, I do know that T-Tapp can help people manage MS symptoms whether you know exactly what kind of MS you have or not.
Another bonus of T-Tapp is that it has an anti-inflammatory response in the body because of the highly lymphatic pumping movements in the workout. The upside to all that lymphatic pumping? I look younger!! Doctor Nicholas Perricone has become a fan of T-Tapp too; he said in his book 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health and Longevity that T-Tapp is THE anti-aging workout. I’m evidence of that! I look as young as I did 9 years ago; and because of the very form specific movements in Teresa’s program, my body is sculpted, lean and tone with no sign of having weighed almost 300 pounds – let alone the tell-tale signs of getting older. I have a shorter torso, so I tend to have a larger ribcage. But with T-Tapp I have been able to cinch in the muscles surrounding my ribs and have a beautiful, curvy figure. No back fat, no saddle bags, no cellulite, no sagging skin, no flabby inner thighs and no more pot belly! I can even take 3 inches off my waist in just 2 days doing Teresa’s T-Tapp Twist exercise!
I have done every exercise, workout, and program out there and I can’t think of any program that is better for a person with Multiple Sclerosis, pain, and/or injury than the T-Tapp program…and to top if off, you’ll maintain a more youthful appearance.
T-Tapp has changed my life in very profound ways… even ways I didn't expect. Best of all, I am able to give more of myself to my two beautiful children, Morgan and Marc. I have heard that if you would do what you do for a living free then you truly love what you do. Well, that is exactly the way I feel! I hope to bring T-Tapp not only to the general public, but to the MS community as well. I am so happy and grounded in my life and I am looking forward to what the future will bring, it certainly has become much brighter since I happened upon that article in Women's World magazine.
I’m so glad I can say, “Thank you, Teresa!” and show my gratitude for getting my life back by sharing forward what I’ve learned.