How Hoang Nguyen danced off the 40 pounds that her desk job packed on

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By Stephanie Thurrott

Name: Hoang Nguyen

Age: 38

Residence: St. Paul, MN

Job: Ophthalmic medical technologist

Home Life: Single, though she thinks it’s time for her boyfriend of four years to pop the question

Peak Weight: 180 pounds

Current Weight: 140 pounds

Height: 5 feet 6 inches

Hoang Nguyen’s weight gain followed a path that might be familiar to a lot of people. As a child and teenager, she kept her weight at healthy levels. “After graduating from college and getting a 9-to-5 desk job, though, that’s when I ballooned,” she says.

Exercise had been nudged off her calendar — she had been active in her younger days but now she was tired after work. In her free time, she went out with friends instead of working out. Between her workplace cafeteria and meals in restaurants, she was tempted to turn to unhealthy foods.


But in 2013 she was inspired to make a change. “I was working at the Mall of America and I ran into a friend of a friend. She was a Minnesota Vikings cheerleader, and talking to her got me thinking about my dance days,” Nguyen says. “After that I thought I should get back into dance.”

She had danced in musical theater as a child and studied jazz, ballet, and tap during college, but she hadn’t danced in almost 10 years. She joined a program where she could take unlimited classes to work on her technique and started taking four or five classes a week.

“The dance studio was so close to work, I just walked two and a half blocks to get there,” she says.