To say that LaVonda Lyons is busy would be a big understatement. She's an educator, a mom, a WW (Weight Watchers) workshop leader, a fitness instructor, and so much more. For those who know her, she's so very inspiring.
Journey to Good Health.
“I struggled with my weight since I was a little kid. My parents tried to help me manage it, but nothing worked. As a teenager I tried very unhealthy methods.
In my 40s, I began taking it more seriously and joined Weight Watchers which is now WW. I started to lose gradually and got to a healthy weight zone. Staying there was hard, so I began exercising at the height of the aerobics craze – I even taught it.
"My love of fitness and movement was really about vitality, health, expression. For African American women, a lot of the issues we encounter are based on too much weight and inactivity, and the way we eat.
"I wanted to beat the odds for myself, and also inspire and influence others. Many women spend so much time taking care of others, we put ourselves last. We owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves.
On Being a WW Leader
"I love what I do. All of the people I meet and touch – if I can influence them in any way, that’s what I want to do. I don’t believe that being skinny is the goal. It’s not even my goal anymore. Being healthy is the goal, so I can be comfortable in my skin.
My job is to make the curriculum relevant, approachable, and attainable for the group. There’s a curriculum of course, but I deal with the people who are in front of me that day and we discuss what they’re going through. I love meeting people and hearing what’s going on with them.
We’ve become like friends – I call them my squad in fact.
Staying Healthy Amidst the Pandemic
"COVID-19 has impacted the way I move around the world. I’ve always been active because I’m passionate it. I’d teach five fitness classes in a day and two WW workshops on Saturday, and I work a full-time job as an educator – it doesn’t seem like work to me.
COVID brought all that to a screeching halt. It was me, in this house, and not out and about like before. I’ve tried to stay active though. I’ve done online classes too.
The Road to Vegan
"I have changed my diet. Shortly after the pandemic started, I began eating more veggies. Then I became a pescatarian, then I started researching, and became a vegetarian. I researched more, and now I’m vegan.
It was over the course of three weeks that I made the switch to vegan. I’m still discovering what that means, and I’m enjoying cooking – the challenge of making vegan food tasty with new recipes. I want to remain healthy and do it correctly.
Fitness for Life
"My advice is do what works for you. Your yoga may not look like what other people think it should. I know mine doesn’t.
Not patting myself on the back, but I constantly surprise people about my level of fitness. Just recently I met a couple of young men at the gym where I teach a fitness class. They shared that they debated whether to join the class, and ultimately decided to come in. After, they said I kicked their butt. They thought it would be easy.
I think if you focus on your health and fitness you can exceed others’ expectations and remain healthy and vibrant long into your golden years.
Being an Educator
"Being an educator is the biggest part of my life. I’ve worked in the same community in Prince George’s County for the past 20 years in an underserved community.
My school is 93% African American, and that’s where I feel I’m needed. I love children of all backgrounds, but there is where I feel I’m needed most. Giving our children a vision of what their future can be.
"I want them to know that we’re here to prepare them for the future. There will be obstacles, but the educator’s message is, ‘we can help you.’ I love it.
Dealing with the Hard Times
"We all have stress. It’s just life. Stress eating comes for a lot of us. Sometimes we break down. Once it’s over, though, we should figure out what the action is. I’ve been through some things too. What’s gotten me through is meditation and fitness. When I was going through my divorce, I’d go out and run – it was Mary J Blige on the iPod and me – we worked it out.
"Try to see the beauty in people and situations; that has saved me every single time."