My name is Jasmine Abeyta (@jazzsharifit), and I live in Thornton, Colorado. I’m a 29 year-old stay-at-home mom, and I’m getting my personal training certification. After facing a health issue linked to my weight, I decided it was time to change my lifestyle.
I didn’t start gaining weight until after high school. I was in an abusive relationship, and I was about to become a young mother. I was dealing with depression and anxiety and found comfort in food. My emotional eating later turned into binge eating.
After having my daughter, my weight went up to 190 pounds. Despite not having a healthy relationship with food, I managed to lose 30 pounds, but I later gained it all back and more after the premature birth of my son in 2015. When he had to stay in the NICU at first, I once again turned to food for comfort. For years after having him, I tried to lose the weight, but I entered a cycle of yo-yo dieting.
I tried shakes, super-restrictive diets, and I even went to the doctor and was prescribed a weight-loss pill that made me feel awful. I didn’t even last a week on it.
I feel like everything I tried left me feeling over-restricted and triggered me to binge eat.
It was years of the same cycle. At my heaviest weight, I was 210.8 pounds at only 5’1’’. I also had health issues associated with being overweight. I had a neurological issue called intracranial hypertension. Basically, my body would over-produce spinal fluid that would put pressure on my brain and optic nerves.
My intracranial hypertension would cause debilitating headaches that would sometimes land me in the ER, and I would have to undergo spinal taps to release the excess fluid. The cause isn't always known, but the disorder is known to occur in overweight girls, according to the National Organization of Rare Disorders. And the neurologist I worked with believed it was caused by being overweight in my case.
I knew I had to make a change after my 28th birthday.
I was looking at pictures of myself, and I just knew that I wasn’t meant to live life that way. I was unhappy and still dealing with depression and anxiety. I knew I had to make a change not only for myself, but for my children and my soon-to-be husband. I knew I wasn’t living my best life. Around December 3, 2018, I started my health journey.
When I first set out to get healthier, I purchased a weight-loss plan I had seen on Instagram. Although it was not something that worked for me, I learned what to look for when buying food. I also learned that restrictive dieting is not for me.
My approach is a combo of flexible and healthy eating mixed with intermittent fasting.
When I first started intermittent fasting, I stuck to the 16:8 schedule (my eating window is eight hours and I fast for 16 hours). Now that I’ve progressed in my journey, I only fast on weekdays, and I'm more relaxed on weekends. The foods I do eat are usually healthy versions of the foods I like, and when I do decide to reach for that slice of pizza, I make sure to use portion control.
Here’s what I eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: If I’m not fasting, then I usually have coffee with sugar-free creamer and Torani syrup, plus a slice of toast with natural peanut butter.
- Lunch: Before I have lunch, I always have a protein shake, usually Premier Protein or Orgain. For lunch I will usually have a turkey wrap on an Ole Xtreme Wellness wrap, and I always make sure to include my favorite banana peppers and pepper jack cheese. Sometimes I will have breakfast for lunch, like oatmeal with peanut butter or scrambled eggs with turkey bacon on an Ole Xtreme Wellness wrap with cheese and Cholula.
- Snacks: Fruit, protein bars, turkey roll-ups, low-fat string cheese, or nuts.
- Dinner: Lemon pepper chicken, mixed veggies, and jasmine or brown rice.
- Dessert: Halo Top candy bar ice cream or fruit with low-fat whipped cream.
When it comes to working out, I really enjoy lifting heavy weights and testing my limits.
When I first started my weight-loss journey, I was more into cardio, like incline walking or the elliptical. But the more I’ve progressed, I've really come to love pushing myself with strength training.
Now I work out five to six days a week. A typical day in the gym usually starts with a 10-minute treadmill warm-up, then I lift weights for about 30 to 45 minutes, and I end with a good 20- to 30-minute cardio session. Weightlifting not only makes me feel strong, but it also makes me feel empowered. I’ve been with the same gym since I started this journey, and it has made all the difference.
These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss.
- Change one: I started planning ahead. I plan out my dinners for the entire week, and I will shop based on the meals I am making. Not only do I avoid buying unnecessary food, but it also helps me stay on track.
- Change two: I made myself a routine. It is easier to stick to healthy habits when they become part of your daily routine. If you truly want to change, you must be willing to change your daily life. For me, that meant adding in and taking away.
- Change three: I broke out of my comfort zone. Don’t underestimate your abilities. So many times we get caught up in the fear that we won’t be able to do something, and it only limits us.
I’ve lost 70 pounds since December 2018.
My journey has been about more than losing weight. I also lost the negative mindset and all the excuses that used to hold me back before. My family is able to have a healthier, happier me, and my mental health is stronger than it’s ever been. My overall health is the best it’s been in my adult life. I finally feel confident and beautiful in my skin, and I’m finally living life.