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Alumna shares weight battle in current SHAPE magazine; Tamira Cole sheds 20 pounds through daily exercise, sensible diet

When Tamira Cole was crowned Austin Peay State Universitys homecoming queen in 2005, she did not feel worthy to compete – nor win – because of a 20-pound weight gain.

I just felt overall very ineffective, she said.

Although Cole made time to study and work, she didnt invest the same in her health. She decided it was time to stop eating junk foods and begin exercising. Two years later, she dropped from 145 to 123 pounds to compete in the Miss Black Tennessee Pageant.
When Tamira Cole was crowned Austin Peay State University's homecoming queen in 2005, she did not feel worthy to compete — nor win — because of a 20-pound weight gain.

“I just felt overall very ineffective,” she said.

Although Cole made time to study and work, she didn't invest the same in her health. She decided it was time to stop eating junk foods and begin exercising. Two years later, she dropped from 145 to 123 pounds to compete in the Miss Black Tennessee Pageant.

The story of her weight struggle, the path she took and the fight to regain her esteem is featured in SHAPE magazine's August 2008 issue, which hit newsstands in July. Cole, a 2006 APSU alumna who is pursuing a Master of Arts in teaching with licensure in grades 7-12 English, is the magazine's model of fitness.

“I was selected based upon healthy weight lost tips, my eating and exercise program and the actual story behind my weight loss,” she said. “I've learned that being confident and doing confident work is a true reflection of how you feel about your total self. I was confident in who I was but not with my appearance.”

Cole submitted her story in February and was notified in March of her selection. In May, the magazine's photographers traveled to Clarksville for her photo shoot at the River Walk.

“It has been an amazing journey,” she said of her lifestyle change and the magazine article. “I've managed to keep most of the weight off and make healthy decisions.”

Recently, Cole was at Brown University on an advanced study scholarship for her internship. A former APSU employee in the registrar's office, she will return to Clarksville near the end of the year following additional internship programs for which she was accepted. -- Melony A. Jones