Ciarenna Lopez: Out Of The Fire & Back Into Life! The Burning Desire To Live, And Using The IPL Stage To Share Her Story.
Interview By Tawnya Cline // Michael Brooks Photography
TAWNYA CLINE: You were absolutely stunning on stage in the Fitness Angels Division. What prompted you to compete in that division?
CIARENNA LOPEZ: There are a few reasons that prompted me to do the Fitness Angels Open Division. It was the burning desire to share my journey with my tremendous weight loss and defeating ovarian cancer.
TC: Wow!!! Can you elaborate on that? How much weight did you lose? How inspiring that you are willing to share your journey and your success with a horrible disease.
“…I WEIGHED MY HEAVIEST AT TWO HUNDRED FIFTEEN POUNDS…THAT WAS NOT WHO I TRULY WAS…”
CL: Yes, of course! I would love to. I began my weight loss journey about three years ago. At that time, I weighed my heaviest at two hundred fifteen pounds. Straight out of high school, I got comfortable with a complacent lifestyle and relationship. That was not who I truly was in high school.
I considered myself independent, with goals as well as an athlete who loved playing sports like volleyball, running cross country, track, and hip-hop dancing. I found myself lacking self-love and having no interest in a healthy lifestyle. I became too consumed with my relationship with my ex, which was mentally and negatively draining.
I was not eating to fuel my body. I was eating to cope with life. Any stress or negativity had me fantasizing about the high I was going to get from processed food. My go-to fix was fried food, chips, candy, heavy sugar and soda. I ate until my stomach hurt.
[I was always] hoping for a relief and losing track of who I was. I lost self-respect. I became depressed and lost who I really wanted to be. I became extremely angry and negative.
I had a physician warn me about being overweight and possibly being dependent on diabetic medication. Did I take the physician’s advice? No! I listened, but the acknowledgement was not there. Until one day I went to visit my best friend’s mom. I remember stepping into her house and the look she gave me was not of excitement, but of pure shock. She kindly asked me what happened to me. I thought, “what is she talking about?” She said, “You have gained so much weight!” I was speechless and upset. She told me that, if I trusted her, she would help me figure out what was my cause for so much weight gain.
“MY TEST CAME BACK POSITIVE FOR THE EARLY STAGES OF OVARIAN CANCER. THE TUMOR GREW FIFTEEN CENTIMETERS AND IT WAS CRUSHING MY LEFT OVARY.”
I finally agreed and she took me to see her friend who was a Herbalife distributor. She made me a shake and I instantly fell in love with it. I got on a program and lost 20 pounds! I kept it off, however [I] did not continue from there. I did not have a community to relate with.
Fast forward, I received another invitation from a wellness coach, Donald Adkins, with Nutrition Head 2 Toe. I remember the first time I walked into the nutrition club: I felt excitement because everyone was so welcoming, happy and the “club vibe” was so energetic.
They offered free wellness assessments and free workout classes. I started a meal plan, and attended some workout classes. I was consistent with my nutrition and exercise. I lost an additional forty pounds.
I gained self -confidence, happiness, a positive mindset, great friends and an awesome boyfriend. I was on top of the world and I felt better. Never once was I put on prescription medication and I was in the clear as far as my physician was concerned.
“I WAS GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE TO LIVE AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO SHARE IT, THAN BY DOING A PHYSIQUE COMPETITION…”
On August 1, 2017, I got terrible news that even though I was healthy and fit, an unwelcomed visitor surfaced in my body. A “sleeping monster” I like to call it. I was being prepped for emergency surgery. My abdomen grew so huge, my pain was indescribable and my blood pressure was 200/103. I thought life was over. My test came back positive for the early stages of ovarian cancer. The tumor grew fifteen centimeters. Thankfully, I caught it in time before it killed me. The damage was so bad I had to have a partial hysterectomy. Of course I grieved for my body, but I was thankful to be pain-free and alive.
There was this burning fire inside me to share my story. I just could not figure it out [the right medium] at the time without [also receiving unwanted] attention or empathy from others. I was given a second chance to live and what better way to share it, than by doing a physique competition in the Fitness Angels Open Division.
When I was choosing my theme all I could see in my mind was the color red, which represented fire and power. I remembered the story of the Phoenix bird. As the end of its life approached, the Phoenix would build a pyre nest of aromatic branches and spices such as myrrh, set [the nest] on fire, and [would then be] consumed in the flames. After three days, the birth – or as some legends say a rebirth — the phoenix arises from the ashes. According to some sources, the phoenix arises from the midst of the flames. (mythicalrealm.com)
“FOR NOW, I AM GOING TO WORK ON MY PHYSIQUE AND REALLY JUST ENJOY THE NEW JOURNEY I HAVE TAKEN ON.”
This was a perfect way for me to share my powerful rebirth of life. So I asked you, as my wellness/bikini coach, to help assist with bringing this into real life. You
helped with giving me a great meal plan and holding me accountable to my goals. At the end of the physique competition I lost an additional thirty pounds. My grand total weight loss is ninety pounds, which I am forever grateful for you and your husband, Vince Cline, for his support as well.
TC: I am honored to have been included in part of your Journey, Ciarenna. You worked so hard through this process, and your presentation on stage with your beautiful Phoenix wings is what I imagine Fitness Angels should look like. You presented and showed so beautifully. You owned the stage as if nobody else was
around. I am so proud of you and who you are as a woman, and the IPL is grateful to have you share on stage. Congratulations on all of your success. What are your future plans with the IPL?
CL: The IPL will see me again, soon. For now, I am going to work on my physique and really just enjoy the new journey I have taken on. Thank you! BIKINI
Click here for all ordering options.