Weight loss story from @plusisaplus

Cymande shares her weight loss story with us, she writes about how she made a change with fitness classes and correcting her diet. Eating healthier and meal prepping enabled her to to stop eating fast food 75% of the time.

My entire life I’ve worked out on and off, for different stretches of time.  I would lose a bit of weight here and there, never more than 50lbs at a time, but I always quit, gaining everything back, plus some. In 2014 I lost my dad to congestive heart failure. Before his passing he would always remind me that I should try to be as healthy as I could be. I’m not sure if it was God’s timing or if I’d just had enough, but in July 2016 I’d reached my breaking point! I went out of town with the first lady of my church, Pastor Fran Love, to Hollywood, Florida. I was excited about lounging on the beach and just relaxing.  I wanted to capture the moment, so we took pictures in our bathing suits. That was the first time I’d really seen myself. I mean, SEEN MY SELF without clothes or spanx covering up my imperfections. THS WAS A WAKE UP CALL. I didn’t know who that girl was. I began to cry and my first lady said it was time to do something about it. She immediately called her trainer and I signed up over the phone and started that Monday.

On my first day of working out I weighed in at 365lbs, the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. I didn’t care how long it took; I just knew this couldn’t be my life anymore and this time I wasn’t giving up. I started working out in small group classes Monday – Thursday for 45 minutes daily with 2 trainers. On the first day one of my trainers told me I moved like I was 165lbs, this motivated me to push past any pain I felt. It was a lot of cardio and strength training; doing things I could have never imagined I could do. My thighs were heavy! Heck, my entire body was heavy and I had knee issues so in the beginning I would do alternative workouts. I became so mentally focused and loved working out so much that I eventually began doing 2-a-days. I love working out in small groups, however on my 2-a-days doing one-on-one training made me realize why I never stuck with working out by myself. I’m extremely competitive so being in class with others fueled me to push myself harder. I didn’t have to know you but if I saw you struggling I would yell, encouraging you to keep moving or say, “We got this”.

In the process, I completely changed my eating habits. I travel with my business at least once a month so I was used to not eating breakfast, snacking late and eating fast food 75% of the time. My trainers put me on a strict eating regimen. I gave up soft drinks, fried foods, and what we call in New Orleans “comfort foods” for the first 7 months. I started cooking and eating healthier, meal prepping and I became a protein shake junky.

I started at 365lbs; size 18/20 in dresses, anywhere from 22 to 26 in pants, and 16-18 tops depending on the stretch. I am currently 250lb, size 12/14 in dresses, 16/18 in pants, and 10-12 in tops. I honestly never paid attention to the time frame it took me to lose the weight until my trainer and friends brought it to my attention. Going into my 8th month of workout I was already 100lbs down. I went back and forth with a few gains in and out during that time, but when I finally made it to the 100lbs mark all I could think was how many 8 months had already passed.

After the first 100lbs down you’d think it would get easier, but for me it was the complete opposite. I’m from New Orleans so the food is irresistible. I was determined in the beginning so in the first 3 months I had no cheat meals. I remember the first time I had a cheat meal; I gained 5lbs in one weekend. I was devastated! I came to the realization that this is still a process and I’m not perfect. Eventually I was able to do better. I ate cheat meals in moderation as I’d changed my habits, they didn’t taste the same. The things that once tasted great weren’t as good anymore so, it was easier to resist temptation.

Since my lifestyle change I’m much happier with myself and with life overall. I find myself smiling and laughing daily. I remember the first time I was able to get on a plane and not have to use a seatbelt extender. That made me smile, cry a little and truly enjoy the small victory. I used to worry about being tired after walking for a while or breathing heavy but now I’m able to truly enjoy life and all of its adventures. One of my greatest joys was completing Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, CA, something I never thought I could do. I’ve always been extremely confident, so I’m not sure if it was possible to be more confident, but I have allowed myself to be open to find love. Before this lifestyle change I was focused on me but now I’m ready for the man God’s been preparing for me.

I’m so grateful to God that I had so many people who rooted for me the entire way. My trainers, Moe Flippen and Joe Terry, push me constantly and remind me how far I’ve come. They let me know that I am motivating more people than I could have imagined. My family and friends supported me throughout my journey; therefore I had no choice but to keep going strong. In the process of working out my friends: Arianne, Kendel, Dom and myself formed a group called the Fab Four. We’d been working out for a while so we started making small weight loss challenges amongst ourselves. We recorded videos after workouts to get people on social media to join in and help us stay motivated and stick to our weight loss goals. To our surprise, our social media presence not only kept us motivated and focused but it also led our trainer to start an online workout program, the Thick Chick Challenge and the response was overwhelming. Women word wide used our workouts and we were able to show plus size women, like ourselves, that their weight loss journey could be successful too. Women told us it felt great to see women just like them going through the struggles and process with them. We are each other’s accountability partners and we make each other want to do and be better.

On my days off I’m usually running my business, a precious gemstone beaded bracelet business or traveling all over the world spreading my brand. You may catch me taking an off day somewhere in the world exploring, listening to music, getting a massage or sleeping, something I don’t get to do often.  

My advice to women on this journey would be to find accountability partners or people on the same journey as you who can fuel your motivation and constantly push each other. I lost 100lbs in 8 months and I’m officially 115lbs down in a year. I reached a point where I wanted to lose this weight more than I wanted anything else in life. We often wait until we’re diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure to start the process of changing our lives when it’s almost too late, but I wanted to be ahead of the curve. I tried on my own for a long time and couldn’t stick with it so I had to find help. I figured I could either pay my trainers to help me become a better me or pay for doctor bills and medicine because I waited too long to start. It wasn’t easy but it was definitely worth it! It’s an indescribable feeling to say I did this with no shortcuts only hard work, determination and dedication. To those who are thinking about beginning your journey, don’t worry about how long it’s going to take, think about how you’ll feel once you can say you did it! Start somewhere, don’t stop and don’t count the days it takes to get there but remember the journey once you’re there and keep pushing forward.