Weight Loss Story From @bimi877 / @LoveLedWorship

My love for food and wanting to look good is what motivated me to start working out. I would be lying if I said the physical aspect didn’t matter because it absolutely did! Another huge motivator was family; family is a big deal to me. And looking down the line to my future, I want to be that mom/wife/sister/friend who is healthy and agile. I want to also honour God by trying to take care of my body; really, prioritising my health, is my way of communicating my love to those I care about…

First before I share what I did, let me say you should find the BEST way to do what works for you and take the good advice offered to you, challenge yourself to be better than your best effort, and stay consistent with improving! If you fall off, get back on; It’s a lifelong lifestyle.

Now to answer the question, not to sound super spiritual. But honestly, the first thing I did {and continue to do}, was involve God and pray to him about my desire to lose weight. In a conversational manner, I expressed what I wanted and how I needed Him in every way because I couldn’t do it on my own; and I listened to what I felt he was telling me.

Before immigrating to the US in 2001, I weighed around, 150-170lbs and gained weight; reaching 245lbs by July 2006. Along the way, between about 190lbs and the 245lbs, I would try to exercise and diet here and there, lose a few lbs and gain it all back again (and then some). This time however, prayer worked for me! I prayed God’s strength, grace and help to start the journey to lose weight one final time and God answered my prayers beyond my wildest imagination.

I charted my daily exercises on a calendar (we didn’t have cool phone apps yet back then, so I got used to using a calendar for every year since then). I personally prefer hardcopy and not electronic so that I can physically write what I am doing. I used a colored markers to cross out the day I didn’t exercise, so when I saw too many of the marker color, I knew I needed to pick up the next week to avoid too many mark offs on that week. I used the month in view calendars so I could see it all at a glance for each month which really motivated me. I also set goals at every stage, and rewarded myself sometimes (mostly with favourite sinful foods that I can’t have until I meet a goal) and set new goals with each one accomplished. Then I whipped out the treadmill we had in storage for over five years, purchased a static exercise bike, planned my food, researched a bit about what I was committing to do and starting to do, mixed the research up with my personal preferences and got to it!

Now on to my actual workout routine – I’ll try to be as detailed as possible to help whoever is reading this, but remember you must find and do what works best for you and what will keep you going towards your goal – Back when I started out and when I was actively losing the weight, I aimed to workout 6-7 days a week, with a minimum of 5 days a week. On most days, I did two-a-day workouts (in the morning before work/school and again in at night after work/school before bed). I planted my exercise bike in front of my TV along with basic dumb-bells; (5lbs and 8lbs set) and made sure the only time I was watching my TV shows or movies was While working out. I started out very slowly with a low incline on the bike or walking about 3.4mph on the treadmill. I was more concerned with building a routine at the early stages so I didn’t “overkill” in terms of intensity early on. I just wanted to be sure I was doing it twice a day 6-7 times a week. Once I got the routine down, after a couple of weeks I started pushing myself more (on either speed or incline) over time and going for both maintaining the routine (frequency) as well as challenging myself and getting the most out of each workout (intensity).

Currently, I do 3-5 days a week of incline treadmill (5miles on a high incline which takes me about 65mins to complete since I brisk walk – I don’t run cos I have bad knees). Then in addition to that cardio focused plan, I also plan to do at least 3-4 days a week of muscle work; either muscle tone home workout DVDs at home; I have a collection of DVDs and I shuffle for abs, lower body, upper body, total body, Pilates, etc. OR at the gym, I’ll take either Bodycombat class (mix of kickboxing, cardio and tai chi) or Bodypump class (bars and weight circuit). I really love Bodypump for toning my muscles. I attend boot camp or kickboxing classes (considering trying CrossFit but not sure yet) once in a week or so. In summary, cardio about 3-5 days a week and muscle tone/sculpt at 3-4 times a week.

For me, portion control was huge; I love FOOD! It was and (still is) a major vice of mine. I like it bad, I like it fried, I like it carb filled, and worst of all, I like it plenty in quantity! So, that combination, made it particularly challenging then and even now. I tried portion control instead of cutting anything out (know thyself, cutting things off all together may work for some) except for soda which I cut out. I did however, set a calorie max for the day and because of that I had to sacrifice feeling full by eating more of a good thing, and I had to eat less. I could have eaten a bigger portion of healthier options instead of choosing a small portion of rice (the former may be best for some people). I mostly chose portion control- setting my daily caloric intake motivated me to not waste it on calorific drinks. I also did a lot of exercising to compensate for my love of food.

Growing up in Nigeria, weight loss or weight gain was never something I was conscious about. When I moved to the US after high school in 2001, and being exposed to large portions, choices and inexpensive junk food, I just kept gaining weight. The first time I remember a number on a scale it was 190lbs. my weight kept climbing and even though (in my mind mentally anyways) I thought I was doing my best (looking back now, I really wasn’t. Not consistently anyways), It went up until 2006 when my weight gain journey reached 245lbs; on my 5ft 4inch body at 19 years old. It was in July of that year that I decided (again) to lose weight and this time stick to it until I got back to below 200lbs (which was where I thought I could get to and no less). Now I’m 30yrs old, still 5ft 4in (fortunately or unfortunately lol) and I dance between 140lbs and 150lbs most times.

The major part of my transformation took under a year to manifest. As I said before, I started out in July of 2006; being very intentional daily and I didn’t slow down for a year. Within that time frame, I was losing about 6-10lbs a month; so, over 12months, I had lost the bulk of my weight. Since then I’ve had gains and losses dancing between 143lbs and 160lbs over the years. Right now, in this moment I feel great and am continuing my routine where I sit at 145lbs.
Food was, and still is my vice however It helps me to think that food is a lesser thing than my goals, so I can’t let it steal my joy. It’s still a struggle every day for me to choose moment by moment between working out and not working out, or eating and not eating. It’s a struggle for me because it doesn’t come naturally. I hope to keep up my new lifestyle in the seasons of my life that are ahead – like the childbirth and child rearing season which is a phase I am most anxious about – but thanks to folks like @afrogirlfitness, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to conquer it by the Grace God has already given me!

I have grown mentally, and learned so much that has built parts of me I never thought existed. The fact that I achieved my goal shows me and that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to; and that I’m more determined and committed than I once felt. When I face challenges in my life, I remind myself that, I once thought I couldn’t lose weight! I thought it was more likely in my lifetime to see a dead man raised than for me to lose weight. If anyone had told me at 18yrs old that weight wise, I would look how I did by 20 years old, I would have laughed at them like Sarah laughed at the angels when she got the message that she and Abraham would have a child at their age. But hey! Apparently, God really can do the impossible! And if I join forces with Him, doing what I can, He will bring the grace and power to make the impossible happen! I am grateful for the cards I was dealt in life. I used to look at people slimmer than me with envy and complain about why I wasn’t like them; but I’ve come to appreciate my life experience as it birthed the strong woman I am today. Through my experience, I am now able to empathise with those who are struggling, and at the same time motivate myself and loved ones out of self-pity.

My faith and relationship with God played a major role in my weight loss success. I feel like He set my mind on opportunities that spurred my desire to lose weight. I drew inspiration from church sermons and I’d relate it to my fitness journey, I would get inspired by commercials, seeing kids playing, seeing elderly people enjoying life; everywhere I looked, I drew inspiration. My family has been a huge support; their constant love by words of encouragement, kept me going. Their support was never conditional on what I looked like or if I fell short; so, this gave me the confidence to keep working to become my best self.
I would advise you to start on your own fitness journey because you really want to. Start, however small, because the time will come and go anyway. The difference between this year and the next is what you do with the time in between. It’s the daily, gradual commitment that will get you to your goals. Be your own cheerleader and commit to your goal whether you feel like it or not! If you fall off, so what? The tragedy will be quitting! Restart if you must, but don’t quit. Commit your efforts to hard work, and join forces with God to succeed!