Growing up in rural West Virginia I had a weight problem for as long as I can remember quite honestly. When I really became aware of my weight issue though was when I had surgery in the 6th grade of high school and I weighed in at a staggering 270 pounds at 13/14 years of age.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? Realistically being overweight affected all aspects of my day to day life. Although even at my largest I was still mobile I was extremely young and in constant pain from carrying around so much excess weight.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? My turning point came when I got to college. Having always been extremely obese once I got to college I decided to embrace a whole new me which included getting healthy.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I initially got started through an on campus program I became a part of my freshman year. The fitness classes ran September – November, and over the course I lost 13 pounds.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I started to see results on the scale immediately, but physically I started being able to really start seeing a change in my body when I was about 30-40 pounds down.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? Although I am not disregarding the physical efforts that it took to get where I am because those were a struggle, the hardest part for me was mentally losing the weight. I had always been big and seen myself as the big person that I was, so wrapping my head around this constantly evolving reflection in the mirror was so much harder than the physical aspects.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I almost gave up when I kept bouncing between 95-100 pounds lost. Throughout my journey till this point I had just internalized all the emotions I was having and all of the sudden they all came bubbling out to the surface. I didn’t know how to conquer these feelings at first because I couldn’t eat my them or push them in a corner any longer so I finally had to face all of them. What kept me going through this time though was starting my fitness page on Facebook. Although I was struggling with my own demons at that point I finally started surrounding myself with people who were in the exact same spot where I was. This also allowed me to come into contact with people who looked up to me as a motivation so that in itself helped me kick down all those old emotional walls and allow myself to finally mentally embrace where I was.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? Throughout my journey I have hit several weight loss plateaus. What I have leaned to do through these times though is to change it up and to consistently challenge my body. If you are always doing the exact same thing than at some point your body will stop responding to it.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? All-in-all to get to where I am today it has taken me nearly four years, but I lost the bulk of my weigh in a 12-18 month period.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I have had SO many, but I think that the biggest non-scale victory has to be every single time when I put on my old “fat outfit” that I have kept from when I was at my biggest.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? My diet now compared to when I was larger is the difference between night and day. I came from a low income family so the bulk of our food were processed foods that were not portion controlled at all. Now my diet consist mainly of fresh/whole foods that are generally prepared by me.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Now I can be physically active which is something that I couldn’t do when I first started this journey. When I first started I could only ride the exercise bike for 15 minutes and I could barely walk on a treadmill at 3.0 MPH for one mile. Now though I am an extremely physically active individual that can keep up with most people.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- The first and maybe most important tip that I can give people is to start slow and build up.
- Don’t rely solely upon the scale to gauge your success especially if you have a balanced workout plan that has strength training as well as cardio.
- Do what you love to do, getting fit shouldn’t feel like a punishment!
- Find your balance in all things that you do; diet, exercise, and your day to day life out of the gym.
- Be your own motivation because at the end of the day it’s up to you to to hit your goals.