Always seen and never heard: I was always that fat friend that everybody had. That girl who was picked last in physical education class or rejected by boys, because of being too fat. Externally, I always judged by my size and weight; internally, my self-esteem was suffering as I hated how I looked. I especially felt anxiety when I could not fit into my clothes or when I did not look like the girls I went to school with. I avoided cameras and mirrors whenever possible and cringed at my reflection whenever I did look in the mirror.
For years I tried to lose weight, I always resorted to dieting because it was the quickest way to lose weight, secretly hoping that within a day I would magically look like the models in magazines. Every diet felt like I was starving myself and a form of punishment for allowing myself to put on so much weight. Inevitably I failed at every diet by the third day, especially when the results were not seen as advertised.
During my college years, I managed to move from a size 20 to a size 12 jeans. It did not last long and eventually the weight came creeping back on. At the age of 27 when I had to check my weight for a company related physical examination, I was 260 pounds, probably the heaviest I had ever been. I was always too ashamed to get myself weighed and avoided all scales as much as possible. Over the next 2 years my weight fluctuated as I was in a new environment and was dealing with the repercussions of a failing marriage. I was stressed and suffering from panic attacks that seemly got worse. By 2010 at 28 years of age, I was diagnosed with hypertension and was told I would need medication to control it for the rest of my life.
Hearing that I needed to take medication forever was the worst thing possible. It was a reality check, this disease was not going to go away in a few days nor a quick fix, this was here forever. I refused to accept my new reality and decided I needed to make my health a priority. As many of us know, high blood pressure is common within the black community, my family was no different. Unfortunately, I never thought I would be diagnosed at such a young age as I assumed it was a disease for the elderly.
Despite my disdain for medication, it was crucial for my healing to take the pills as prescribed. However, I recognized that relying on pills would only place a Band-Aid on the problem, I wanted to solve it. I began to educate myself on what I needed to do to control this disease naturally. My mindset shifted from wanting to be skinny to being healthy and whole. By 2012 I had lost 113 pounds. Since then, I have been maintaining my weight of 155 and consistent in wearing a size 8. And have also lowered my medication dosage and slowly on a regime to being completely off all medication. This process was not easy and involved a lot of trial and errors and figuring out what worked for me.
What’s the secret to losing weight? I believe it is a combination of the following: a positive mindset, eating whole foods, exercising, patience and self-love. Fad diets do not work. Being healthy is a lifelong commitment.
After my transformation, I received so much love and support and requests for advice on being healthy. I decided to write a book called, The Healthy Makeover. The book goes into further details about my :
- My weight loss story
- The impact of obesity on my self-esteem
- Facts about hypertension and obesity
- Strategy and tools I used to lose the weight
- A guide to help others start their health journey as well.