1. What was your wake up call or moment of truth that prompted you to get started on this journey?
I’d gotten on the scale and I was the heaviest I had ever been. I knew I was overweight and had been overweight for some time. My back would hurt if I had to stand up and do the dishes for more than 10 minutes. I had aches and pains that I shouldn’t have had at 33. Even with that, I didn’t think I was ready for all that getting healthy entailed. But I was scared that I would never really be “ready” to get serious so I said, ‘why not seek the help you need now? If not now, when?’
2. Have you always been overweight? If not, how long have you been overweight? When did you notice you started to gain weight?
I was on the smaller side as a child, and average size from my teen years until my early 20’s. I began putting on weight at age 24 and I never stopped.
3. Does overweight or obesity run in the family… meaning immediate members: mom, dad, siblings?
Obesity does run in my family though none of us were obese/overweight until later in life. My parents were both fit and relatively active until their late 30’s. My sister was fit and active until her 20’s, much like myself. But we all got a little lazier in terms of movement and our eating habits changed as my parents aged and felt like cooking less and less as we were growing up.
4. Thus far in your journey, has it been difficult… challenging… or what would you call it? Are you satisfied w/ where you are now?
It has been difficult; I can’t lie. I really love food. I love making it. I love eating out with friends. I love the social aspects of eating as well as how food would make me feel. But my relationship with food had to change drastically, and that’s been the hardest part. It’s also been the part that’s taught me the most about myself and using food to cope with life and/or celebrate it. I’m not satisfied with where I am however, as I am still overweight and have more to lose.
5. If not, what more do you want or can you do?
I want to be able to run/jog for a race. I want to be stronger than I am today even though I’m stronger than I was when I started. I want to be able to find my size in a store instead of praying that the larger sizes are still available. I want to be happy with the body I see in the mirror and I want to have a better relationship with food.
6. What have you learned thus far?
I’ve learned that you have to put in real work and be consistent with it to see real change. While cutting out one or two things is a good start, you can’t just drink one less soda a day and take the stairs a couple days a week and expect to move from the morbidly obese range to an average size. You have to put in the work. You have to clean your diet in a serious way and you have to get more active throughout the day to really see real change in a reasonable amount of time.
7. What advice would you give someone who wants to lose weight?
Don’t give up hope. There were so many times I’d say, “well maybe this is just my fate. To be fat. Maybe I should be okay with this. I’ll just buy my big girl clothes and settle in with my jar of Nutella and just be okay with this version of me…” But it was that nagging hope deep down inside that told me I could be more than that. I could be me AND be healthy and fit. If I’d given up hope, I may have stayed where I was. Now I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in 8 months. I’m glad I didn’t give up hope in the fact that I COULD change!
8. How do you feel now vs 5 months ago?
I feel lighter, literally; like the weight of my own body is no longer making me lethargic. I feel like I have more energy. I feel happier when I get dressed for sure! Now I won’t lie; some days I feel like I miss eating the way I used to. Not every day is sunshine and rainbows. But I know if I give into those few bad days, I will return to the person I was. And I want nothing more than to keep getting healthy and fit. So I try and push through those days. Or if I mess up and have a bad day, I just get back at it. Five months ago I felt like this was impossible. But now I don’t!
9. What kind of support, if any, did you get from family and friends? And in contrast, did you experience any negativity from friends and family?
I didn’t experience any negativity…a couple of folks made the comment that I could probably do this without the help of a trainer. But I know myself. Better than anyone. And I just did not have the motivation I needed to be a self-starter and stick with things to the level I’m doing now. I also didn’t have the knowledge on how to really drop weight the correct way. But other than those few comments, most of my family and friends wished me well. But now they are amazed at how far I’ve come in these few months. I get more questions on what I eat/do than you can believe! My close circle wants for my health and happiness so overall I’d say they were supportive. But my family is a little sad sometimes when I can’t eat what they are eating. We are a family that loves our food and like most families, we come together around food a lot. They were a little sad (and still are at times) when I decide not to eat with them. But they know my goals so they try and not make me feel too bad about it.
10. Have you ever tried to lose weight before? If so, what was the difference in what you did this time vs other plans or programs you tried to follow?
I have been trying to lose weight all my life feels like, lol… I was mildly successful in my mid 20’s, but I was working out like crazy, 2 hours a day several days a week. I’m 10 years older and don’t have the same energy or metabolism as my 20 something self! And even then, I never changed my eating habits. I’m currently at a lower weight than I was then and I’m not spending nearly as much time in the gym! Any health professional worth their weight in protein powder will tell you that weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. I had never come at my weight loss attempts from the nutrition side of things because that was the hardest part for me. But doing so now has made ALL the difference.
11. How did you end up working w/ Body Refined? What has your experience been like working w/ Body Refined?
I read the story of a woman named Michelle on Black Weight Loss Success. I could identify with the struggles of other black women and weight loss because I think our community accepts a higher weight as a sign of “thickness.” But I knew my thickness was really dangerous fat and I so desperately wanted to get on the right track but was too scared to work with a trainer and too tired of trying to figure it out on my own. Her story inspired me because she mentioned Body Refined Inc and their focus on not just exercise but nutrition. I just felt like this was what I was looking for. And Michelle’s before and after was so amazing. I just thought, “Man, if Body Refined Inc could do that for her, why not me?” So I gave Body Refined Inc a call and never looked back.
12. Would you recommend anyone to Body Refined? If not, why? If so, what would be the deciding factor on your decision to refer someone to Body Refined?
I would recommend Body Refined Inc to anyone that has the belief that change is possible, a positive attitude, and a willingness to try, every day. If you have those few things, Kurt (My Health Coach) from Body Refined Inc will work with you to get you where you need to be! But if you have a negative or defeatist attitude, or you’re not willing to even try, even when it’s tough, to stick with the road map Body Refined creates for you, you won’t fare well. It’s all about attitude and commitment. But those things are easy enough to have, if you have even a little bit of hope!
Update – 8 Months Later
“Around the last time my progress was posted, I’d lost a significant amount of weight and thought I looked pretty good. But I still had a high percentage of body fat and I knew I was a stone’s through away from being back in the 200’s. My coach assured me I could continue to lose, so I kept up with my clean eating, logging foods, and working out. And now, a few months later, I’ve shed a few more pounds and have broken that 100lb marker! I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished; But I never realized how hard it would be, still, to continue to lose weight. I would like to be at around 20% body fat, which means I still have to eat very clean, with little to no cheats, and workout very hard. It’s not like when you’re maintaining and you can cut yourself a break. And the weight comes off much more slowly. That’s something one of my health coache’s former clients told me back when I was just starting to get healthy; it doesn’t get easier. She was right. It doesn’t get easier. I still crave the same sugary, buttery, delicious foods. I still hate cardio (even though I’m better at it), and I still wonder some days if I’m going to reach my ultimate health goals. I do love to lift, so that part, while physically demanding, has actually been the fun part. But yeah, everything else can sometimes be a drag… It doesn’t get easier. I’ve just gotten more determined. I’ve gotten stronger and more stubborn about not going backwards. I’m still working with my health coach at Body Refined Inc, and I’m still pressing forward to get to 20% body fat. I’ll be able to have a cheeseburger and fries again some day in the future! But for now, I’ve got goals to reach.”