For as long as I can remember, I have been overweight or obese. I’ll look at pictures from when I was in elementary school even and I was heavier than all of my friends. It was obviously never a good feeling but I never seemed to have enough will power to want to do something about it.

HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?  I thought I was destined to always be obese and that honestly killed my confidence. For the longest time, I believe that just because I grew up overweight, that’s how it was going to be for the rest of my life. In my mind, I was always going to be the “fat friend.” Growing up, I constantly wore long sleeves because I hated how fat my arms looked. I thought that if someone saw me in anything but long sleeves, they would laugh and make fun of me. I also hated clothes shopping because I could never shop at the stores my friends went to; I had to settle for stores that specialized in larger sizes and to me, that was embarrassing. When I would actually find clothes to fit me, I always felt that I looked older than what I was.

WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?  The turning point for me or my “a ha moment” if you will happened when I went to meet with a dietitian for the first time when I was in middle school. I got on the scale, and when I saw the number 233 staring back at me, I knew that was it for me. I couldn’t believe I let myself get that big and I was just ready to finally change.

DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?  Of course, I wanted to give up. I constantly wondered if it was going to be worth it in the end or if I should just go back to my old lifestyle. However, I absolutely loved the idea of fitting into smaller clothes; it helped give me gain confidence and kept the motivation going.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?  It has honestly taken me quite a few years to lose 83 pounds but I wouldn’t have it any other way. After I reached my heaviest weight of 233 pounds (which would have been around 1999-2000), I slowly started losing the weight but I still hated the gym and just ate less junk food. Initially, I didn’t want to work for it. I just wanted to wake up and be skinny, which is obviously not how it works. When I moved to Georgia in 2014 though, that is when things really started changing. I finally figured out what worked best for me and to enjoy the process.

DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?  There have been plenty of non-scale victories throughout the years but I think one of the biggest ones for me has been going to amusement or theme parks and not having to worry about not fitting into a seat on one of the rides.

WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?  Oh my goodness, I never ate healthy and I absolutely loved fast food, especially Taco Bell. I loved cheese and carbs were an essential food group. Any protein that I did consume was typically fried and I would avoid fresh fruit and vegetables like the plague.

HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?  Besides swimming as a kid, I don’t ever remember exercising because I wanted to. I would take the mandatory P.E. classes through school and that was it. Now, I absolutely love going to the gym. I enjoy cardio machines, spin classes and strength training. I’m also on my feet a lot for work and now, it feels weird to sit still. I constantly feel like I have to be moving and doing something.

MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS

  1. Take your workout clothes with you to work or school. I found that if I took them with me, I wouldn’t have an excuse not to go.