I have been big my entire life. I was over 200 lbs by the time that I was in elementary school. For as long as I can remember I was over weight/obese. I always had a tummy and always sought change, even as a young child. My family has a history of diabetes on both sides of the family. Over time I just kept getting bigger and bigger. I truly believe I struggled with binge eating disorder and my relationship with food was not a healthy one. I was diagnosed with pre diabetes when I was in middle school; I had all of the symptoms including the black ring around my neck. I never took losing weight seriously. I would try and give up right away. I accepted that I was going to be diabetic and that I would be big my entire life. I had no hope for myself. A gig chunk of my weight gain also happened while I was in undergraduate school. While in college, I was living on my own in the dorms and had access to food all the time. I had no self control and by the time I graduated undergrad, I was well over 300 lbs.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? Being over weight affected every aspect of my life. The most important thing that it affected was my health and mental well being. For one, I was pre diabetic. Every trip to the doctors office, they let me know of this and said that I needed to do something about my weight. I never took what they said seriously though because I was already planning my life with having it. Other areas that my weight affected were things like not being able to fit into clothes (it was so hard to find clothes for me), not being able to walk long distances, I barely fit on planes and was often kicked off of roller coaster rides, and I dreaded taking pictures and videos of myself. My self confidence was so low.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I feel like in order to change, it has to hurt enough. There were three specific things that essentially “hurt me enough.” I had just graduated undergrad in 2017 and landed my first job as a high school art teacher. I was at my heaviest during this time. I stepped on the scale and it read 303 — though I am positive I must’ve weighed more, but I was always just too scared to look at the number. After having my first real job, I wanted to spend some money on a trip. My very first trip was to California during my teacher thanksgiving break. I remember being so excited that I was going on a trip with my own money from the career that I worked so hard to get. However, it wasn’t everything that I had hoped it be: I could barely fit on the plane, I couldn’t go hiking with my brother, I was out of breath walking around, I met my favorite artist and it took everything in me to take a picture with him, I cringed taking any photos or videos… the trip should have felt different, but my weight held me back from fully enjoying it. After I got back home from that trip, there were a couple of personal things that triggered me. My dad (at the time) was in the hospital fighting complications from his diabetes. He was in the hospital an entire month and then transferred to a nursing home to be cared for while he healed for another month. He said, “mama, I do not want you to end up like me.” It hurt so much seeing him go through all of that, but it helped spark what I knew I needed to do. Lastly, my 5 year old sister acknowledged my weight problem — at 5 years old she understood what I was doing to myself… All three of those things really sparked my, “I need to change, and stick with it this time” mentality.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? On my day one, I literally got a giant trash bag and trashed all the junk food both at home and my pantry area in my classroom (teacher). It was so hard to trash all of the food because I felt like it was wasteful and loss of money. However, this act really helped me get rid of the things that I carelessly snacked on. I also got a gym membership at Planet Fitness and I bought a little hand written food journal on amazon to help write and track everything that I was eating. At the time I had no idea what and how calories worked, but I was willing to learn as I went through the process. When I first started, I also believed that all I could eat were salads. So for the first two months, that was all I was really eating. I never cooked, but I challenged myself to learn as I continued on the journey.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I didn’t begin to truly see a change until about 60 lbs down. I feel like I developed body dysmorphia through the process of losing weight. My mind would tell me that there was no progress being made when there really was… taking a lot of pictures through the process really helped me in seeing the difference.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I had to overcome pre diabetes. I am certain that I would have diabetes today if I didn’t decide to change my life. One of my fondest memories of this journey was going into the doctors office at 100 lbs down and them saying that I was cleared from the diagnosis. I have had pre diabetes since I was in middle school, and so this news was the best victory to celebrate.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I cant say that I ever wanted to give up because I truly feel like you naturally fall in love with the process through it. However, one thing that I did do to keep myself motivated was creating my instagram account. It was a wonderful way to hold myself accountable and track my progress. Also, on days that I felt like I didn’t want to work out and/or cook, all of the accounts and people that I followed helped to inspire me when I wasn’t motivated. My idea behind the people I was following was whenever I opened up my instagram, id be inspired.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? During my second year of my journey, I plateaued at the 100 lbs down mark. I am now in my third year and taking a different approach and focus. I have now incorporated strength training, and so I am seeing more progress in that aspect.
Year 1: Journey to losing 100 lbs
Year 2: Maintenance
Year 3: Loose skin removal surgery
Year 4 (now): Leaning out and building muscle
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? It took me one year to lose 100 lbs
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Not being pre diabetic, fitting on rides and planes, being able to shop for clothes and finding my size, sky diving, fitting in a bath towel, moving my body without being out of breath, playing with my little sister, being able to do exercises, breathing better, the list is endless! Losing weight has been the best decision of my life!
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was at my heaviest, I was eating so much fast-food. I wouldn’t think twice about it. I would also heavily snack on chips, pastries, and ice cream all throughout the day. I would also eat 2-3 servings of my mom’s home cooked meals. Her meals were wonderful, but I ate it in excess. Also, every single night, I would drive to a Sonic and order a 32 oz of ice cream and eat it… EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I would also eat a bunch of fried and processed foods.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I was never really active before starting my weightloss journey. I was really intimidated with anything that had to do with going to a gym. However, I wanted to start it off easy. I thought running and walking would be a good start. When I first started, all I could run was about 15 seconds before reverting back to the walks. After that workout, I wanted to do the stationary bike because I thought that it would be easy. IT WAS NOT! My stomach literally prevented me from being able to lift up my legs to properly cycle. After that, I really just walked… then transitioned into more running, the elliptical, and then I started doing Zumba classes. Running and Zumba were the bulk of my weightloss.
HOW DID YOUR EATING HABITS CHANGE? When I first started my journey, I had no idea how calories worked, I had no idea how to track food, and I knew nothing about cooking or what kind of foods that I could eat. The first couple of months I was mainly eating salads because that is what I believed that I could eat in order to lose the weight. Then, I created a challenge on social media called the #30daydineinchallenge. This was a challenge for myself that called for not eating out. It was during this 30 day period where I stepped out of my comfort zone and really took the time to learn about food, calories, how to cook, and meal prepping. Before this challenge I had never done any of the things I just listed. This challenged helped me so much and build the habits to sustain that in the next few years to come. It helped me so much that I now do this challenge every year to refocus and to celebrate how much it helped me. It has even gotten to the point where I now have others on social media doing it with me. Meal prepping really changed everything for me. I learned about portion control and eating what I wanted in moderation.
ARE THERE ANY PEOPLE, SERVICES, BOOKS – EVEN QUOTES, THAT UNKNOWINGLY HELPED YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY? The main instagrammers that I felt help me start my journey and really inspired me all throughout were @jordanshrink @theirongiantess and @feliciafitnesshealth. These three have inspired me at all levels of my own journey and I am grateful that I came across their accounts. @jordanshrinks was the main one — I felt like I connected with her and I learned so much from her videos and instagram posts.
WHAT DID THIS JOURNEY TEACH YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? This journey taught me about my strength. It taught me and proved to me that you can literally accomplish everything that you put your mind to. It showed me that nothing comes easy. When I was a little girl I would sometimes see older people running and I could never process how they could do that and why they found that to be fun. As someone who runs all the time now, I have realized that it takes time! People who are fit and/or have lost a lot of weight did not just wake up to that body or physique. It truly takes work and time. I also learned self confidence. I learned that you also have to work on your mind in addition to working on the physical. I have become so much stronger and healthier in all aspects. The beautiful part is that I am not done. I am still making progress and love every bit of the way. I am so grateful to get to inspire so many others as well.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Trust the process
- Use a tally mark sheet and tape it on my fridge so that I can visually see and track my progress
- Created a hidden album in my phone just for progress pictures
- Created an instagram account to help me stay accountable and stay motivated
- Buy some meal prep containers and cooking essentials — even if you do not know how to cook. Experiment!
NAME : Paige / BEFORE WEIGHT : 303 / AFTER WEIGHT : 198 / POUNDS LOST : 105