YMCA of Greater Erie

Meet Leatrice Schoolcraft:

Leatrice has struggled with weight and self-esteem issues for much of her life. Five years ago her mother unexpectedly passed away from congestive heart failure. Her father had died of brain cancer when she was five years old, and at the age of 25 she found herself without parents or grandparents. “My life had changed forever. I suddenly found myself thinking about my future in a way I never had before. Was I healthy? Was I making good choices? Was I going to die young just as my parents and many of my grandparents had?”

She started working out at a local gym and saw minimal results. Not only couldn’t she get into a routine, but she didn’t feel supported. Add to that the pressure of being overweight and dealing with Vitiligo – an autoimmune disease where nearly 80% of her skin has no pigmentation. “It doesn’t bother me most days but let’s be real – we all have this vision of what people who go to the gym look like and I did not fit the bill…I didn’t fit in. I didn’t look fit, or like I belonged in the gym (or so I thought).”

In January 2017 Leatrice went to the Downtown YMCA for the first time. Many colleagues from work had been encouraging her to try it. She took a BodyPump class and was instantly hooked. She tried out different classes and eventually was going to the gym 4-5 days a week. She had also joined a Drop 10 in 10 group at work and was feeling inspired. By March 2017 Leatrice had already lost 20 pounds and was feeling better than she had in forever. She had support and a plan that worked.

Flash forward to May 2018. She has lost between 45-50 lbs. (depending on the day) and currently takes a selection of LESMILLS classes including BodyPump, RPM, BodyStep, CXWorx, BodyCombat and BodyFlow. “I changed my relationship not only with food but with myself. I learned to put myself and my health first. For the first time in my life I can say that I love myself – stretch marks and all. This past 16 months has been life changing for me and I can only hope that by telling my story I can inspire others to put themselves first and to take the first step, no matter how small.”