I could not give you one distinct reason why I gained weight. It just happened from the time I was a young child until the age of 26. My entire family was obese. I remember weighing 140 pounds in the fourth grade and being the fattest kid in my class. Mom loved her southern-fried cooking and we also regularly ate fast food. Because we were all over weight (extended family included), I had this limiting belief that I would always be overweight because it must “run in the family”.
I used to buy teen fashion magazines and idolize over the young models in them. I wanted more than anything to be them– to look normal (and happy). I would pray to God often to please just make me skinny and in return, I would be a good girl. I eventually gave up on God for about 20 years because my prayers never came true.
I was ashamed of myself. I reached about 300 pounds by the age of 20. I was too embarrassed to ever go to a physician for check-ups. But I knew I wasn’t healthy. I often left Chinese buffets stuffed so full in discomfort that I had to unbutton my jeans in order to drive home. Not only was I eating too much, I drank a lot too. I hated my life, so I often even drank while I was at work. I was following in my dad’s footsteps.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? Nearly every day of my life, I suffered with depression, acne, dry skin, achy joints, water retention on my knees, and severe acid reflux. I tried “magic” diets in the past in the hopes of taking some weight off quickly. I gave up on all of them because I didn’t get the results promised. The only hope I had for my life was just to make it through the day so that I could get drunk at the end of the night and pass out and start it all over again.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? After a failed marriage, moving back in with my family (and living in a travel trailer behind their home), and then moving out on my own again, I recognized that something needed to change. At the age of 24 I watched an episode of Oprah that changed my life forever. The main speakers from The Secret were guests on her show. Their message was something I had never heard before. I had no idea that it was possible to change my thinking in order to change my life. I started implementing some of the law of attraction principals and I started demanding more from my life.
I knew if this change was to really take place, I needed to move away from my family because they were a bad influence for me. I wanted more than anything just to be happy. So, I made plans little by little to move across country by myself to unknown (to me) lands. This is where I started my life over again and the new Naomi came to be.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? About a year after I moved to Spokane, Washington, I started my real weight loss journey. I had created a wonderful support system and was ready to take this next step in my life. I walked into a gym that was located across the street from where I worked and signed up for my first ever membership. I was so uncomfortable there at first, so I had my friend go with me for support. After a few days, I was able to workout on my own. I walked on a treadmill every day at 5am before work and often after work too. After losing a bit of weight and watching others use other cardio equipment, I advanced to stair masters, bicycles, elliptical, and row machines.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? It didn’t take long for me to catch the fitness bug. I loved the feeling I got from working out. Five or six months into my weight loss journey, I developed the passion for running. I learned all that I could about running technique and performance. I signed up for my first ever race (a 12k) that spring. And I jogged the whole thing with a boyfriend (who had never been a runner). I cried from pride, because I was the kid in P.E. class that could never run and always held everyone else back. I was finally able to turn that anxiety I felt in school into something to be proud of.
I went on to run a full marathon the next year with the encouragement of my new husband. I ran a half-marathon months later with him at my side. I ran another full marathon a year later, and several half-marathons, 12ks, and 5ks over the last 6 years. I’ve encouraged many friends in pursuing their running passions, worked with my health coaching clients on reaching their couch to 5k dreams, and even inspired the little girl I volunteer mentored to join her track team and collect medals of her own. My mantra is: “Run This Day”.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? As far as my eating is concerned, I started off not knowing very much about nutrition. I reckoned fruits and vegetables were healthy and soda was unhealthy, but I honestly did not know much more than that. I learned as the weight loss process was in action. As I learned something new, I implemented it right away. I did not wait until I had the perfect diet plan at my fingertips. I was actually given a meal plan to follow from my gym, but it was very difficult to adhere to and I failed at making that work. I didn’t give up on myself though. I just gave up on their plan. I ate what I thought was healthy and I worked out; the weight came off.
As I continued on my weight loss journey, I did the best I knew how. When I learned more, I did better. When I messed up and ate junk food or had a drink, I developed the mantra of “Oh Well”. I started over the next day.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Over time and a lot of self-growth, I transformed into a better version of myself. I became confident, focused, and ambitious for the first time in my life. I knew that if I could move across country by myself to start over, I could lose the weight. If I could lose the weight, I could go back to school after being a high-school drop out. After going back to school to earn my degree, I recognized my passion more for wanting to help other women just like me, so I started my health coaching business, Inspire Transformation. I realized pretty quickly that a confident woman could do anything!
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Know why you started your weight loss journey. Attach a strong emotional feeling to it. So many people fail at reaching their weight loss goal or maintaining it because their reason for starting wasn’t good enough.
- Have a strong support system of individuals that won’t doubt you. Seek out personal cheerleaders. Even if it’s only online through social media or forums. You must have the accountability and support (especially at first).
- Skip all of the information seeking. Information doesn’t get you skinny. There’s no perfect diet for anyone. You don’t need to know everything before you begin. As you’re on your journey– then you can start seeking information and putting it into action.
- Do exercise that you like. Don’t listen to so-called fitness experts that tell you about the latest fat blasting workout. If it makes you feel miserable and you don’t like doing it, you’re not going to do it for the rest of your life. Doing physical activity that makes you happy is better for long term success.
- Get help! Just like with a support system, many of us need a mentor or coach to help us through the rough patches and help us see things in a different light. I had a personal trainer for a couple of weeks who completely cured me of using the word “Can’t”. You need a person that’s been where you’re at to help you with your own mental blocks.