Meet Tash Weddle, the woman behind The New Beginnings Center.

Courtesy of Tash Weddle

Weight loss is not the main priority at The New Beginnings Center in Nashville, Tennessee. "The goal is to empower women to take control and live their best lives," says Tash Weddle, who founded the nonprofit organization in 2011. "We see weight lost, medications stopped, and clothing sizes change, but really, those are just side effects." Once a college athlete and then a college strength coach for seventeen years, Weddle now puts her skills to use with women of low-income, who commit to New Beginnings' holistic program of fitness-and-nutrition coaching. "I don't want exercise to seem like a punishment for them," says Weddle. "I want them to just find joy in movement." For her, the participants' successes can't be measured on a scale. "Women tend to put everybody else first and themselves last in all areas of their lives," she says. "But for 12 weeks, they commit to coming to 80% of these classes. And we're building authentic self-confidence and integrity when we do what we say we're going to do, when we start and finish something." If they successfully complete the three-month program, the women are invited back for Phase II, in which they can attend group exercise classes led by coaches at The New Beginnings Center for an additional three to nine months. The failures during the process are as important as the triumphs, notes Weddle. "It takes 66 days to build a new habit," she says. "It is not an overnight process. It's not a destination; it's a journey. When we have had certain lifestyle habits for 30, 40, 50 years and we try to change them, it takes time [to change them]. And we fail, but it's through our failures that we can hopefully go back, break the chain, and learn how to do it differently."

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