Chase Petit, originally featured in The Daily Reveille this past Fall, recently got the opportunity to travel to The Big Apple to be featured on The Today Show as one of The Joy Fit Club’s newest members. He gives us a behind the scenes look at his adventure and how he lives out his daily life after losing over 150 pounds.
The day I checked my TigerMail and realized that a representative from The Joy Fit Club on the Today Show had emailed me, I was without words. I knew this was the email that confirmed my acceptance into Joy Bauer’s Joy Fit Club. Who is Joy Bauer? Only one of the world’s best nutritionists who has worked in the midst of The Doctor Oz and whose shoulder has touched Lady Gaga’s shoulder…
Anyway, shortly after I received my email, I called the number listed and was formerly asked to fly on in to New York to appear on the Today Show which is in Rockefeller Plaza. All I could think about was Tina Fey…kudos if you get the reference. Anyway, I was ecstatic. I called my sister, my brother, my mama and dad, my sister-in-law, all my friends, my phone was hotter than Fred’s on a Friday night and it slowly dawned on me that I’d meet Hota Kotb. If you grew up in the New Orleans area, you probably remember Hoda Kotb on the news, because the news is what you watched when you were 5 like me, and Hota Kotb was your favorite celebrity and all.
After weeks and weeks of waiting, hotel reservations, and ticket purchasing (for my dad), I slowly came to the conclusion that despite all the excitement, I’d done something very important for myself and this was the opportunity to inspire others and share what I had done in a more formal way. You know, other than Facebook and tweets. I was going to be able to reach out to all of America and show them what they could do if they changed their lifestyle slowly. I was responsible to show America what I became and how I lost my weight.
JUNE 10, 2012
8:00 a.m. – My mom burst in my room singing Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. I began to dig around for my schoolbag/carry on but to no avail, so I settled for my nephew’s miniature LSU school bag that was basically a hand purse with straps…but it was LSU colors and said Geaux Tigers and I couldn’t pass the opportunity to represent.
11:00 a.m. – I hopped on a plane to LGA with a dream and my Great Gatsby book…because I’m an English major and I cherish good literature. I remember my senior year I was given the trip of a lifetime by my parents. I was going to France. But there was a problem. I weighed over 300 pounds and last I heard, 300 pound booties don’t bode well with airplane seats, and the midsections are at war with the seat belts. I had worried myself so long, reading on the internet the horror stories about overweight people and airplanes. I mean, this was a 15 hour flight, people, and I was worried I’d be ejected from the flight or charged double. Getting on the plane, I was able to squeeze myself into my economy seat, but I needed a seatbelt extender. This was embarrassing to ask for, and I felt sorry for the small girl sitting next to me, as my side encroached upon her space on more than one occasion.
3:00 p.m. – Land in New York to an over-crowded, low roofed airport dawned in a shirt riddled with New Orleansisms to again, represent.
5:00 p.m. – After a nauseating cab drive to the hotel, we are let out in the midst of a literal Puerto Rico pride parade. Now, I’m used to parades of all sorts, but this one was different. Me and my Dad were lost in New York, carrying huge suitcases, weaving through people, barriers, and policeman. We stopped to ask for directions, expecting the New York attitude the city is so famous for, but we were greeted warm heartedly and were promptly directed to our hotel.
8:30 p.m. – After seeing Times Square and the “naked cowgirl” (shivers), my dad and I grabbed a bite to eat at a touristy place and made our way back to the hotel. I got in one more cardio work out (HIIT work out, Google that stuff). My nerves started to settle and I was quickly off to sleep, New York traffic lulling me in my bed.
JUNE 11, 2012
9:00 a.m. – I saw Al Roker and I began to freak out. Sitting in the waiting room, constantly checking myself out, my nerves began to grow. I was going on national TV! Like seriously, me?! Never in my life did I ever think I’d be in this position. Like…it still hasn’t hit me. I kept referring to Facebook and could see all the words of encouragement and how proud my friends and family were of me…but it still didn’t seem real.
10:00 a.m. – The green room is not that glamorous, I promise…but it’s exciting. Sitting across from me is Andy Cohen, the host of The Real Housewives Reunions. I kept telling my dad I wanted a picture, but I didn’t want to annoy him. I totally wanted to do a picture like when Teresa pushed him, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask him or bother him, so I just stared creepily. I was also in the same room as the cast of the new Dallas, but I didn’t know it at the time, which was pretty cool.
10:30 a.m. – Time for makeup and getting told that my light green button down was very “springy” by the wardrobe people. I started to grow more anxious, but I knew my hard work was going to pay off and help inspire others…and Andy Cohen told me congratulations and I fainted.
11:00 a.m. – Meeting Joy was awesome. She’s such a sweet lady along with everyone at The Today Show. She taught me how to walk, talk, and smile. I felt a little more prepared, but I was worried I’d say something stupid like I normally do when confronted with fear and nervousness.
11:50 a.m. – Every Joy Fit Club member gets to walk out to a song of their choosing, something that gets them pumped. I chose Kid Cudi’s, Up Up and Away. I wake up to it every day and I live up to Cudi’s words of wisdom: “They gonna judge me anyway, so whatever.” After hearing it, my nervousness partially went away. I saw my dad wipe his tears away after the dramatic slide show of my before pictures and before it began, it was all over…just like that.
12:00 p.m. – Me and my dad left with a free signed copied of Joy’s book, a hug from Hoda herself, and a compliment from someone outside the studio building on my weight loss. The rest of the trip was dedicated to sightseeing, father-son time, and avoiding people trying to sell counterfeit watches in China Town.
Overall, this experience was life changing. Losing weight is hard, being a college student is hard, and doing both…that’s another story, a story that brought me from New Orleans to New York. I wake up every day and think about how many lives I may have helped change and how many people now make better choices for their bodies. What I did means nothing to me unless someone else benefits from it and can see that if I could do it, so can they. I try to make healthy choices every day. I exercise six days out of the week and I eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Anyone can take the reins of their own lives, it’s your choice. When it comes to losing weight, always think that, “If I started yesterday, last week, 4 months ago, where would I be today?”
Green Drink recipe you can make in the morning after Tigerland or before you miss the Tiger Trails bus:
1 Tbsp almond butter
1-2 large handfuls spinach
1 cup baby carrots
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
Unsweetened original almond milk (as needed, for drinkable consistency)
Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.
Cheers, Chase Petit//LSU senior, UREC Student Employee