Weight loss story from @TaiMcQueen

Despite feeling depressed and suicidal Tai was able to pull through and turn her life around

I’ve been overweight for the majority of my life. Starting at the age of five, I witness my mom being abused by her boyfriend on a consistent basis. This was the start of my binge eating disorder. Because I did not have an outlet to talk about what I was witnessing at home I relied on food to comfort me. This behavior continued throughout the course of my life. Food was my comfort and way of dealing with my problems.

At the age of 27, I finally had enough. I was visiting South Beach, Miami with some friends and I was literally the biggest person on the beach. I had to smile through an entire weekend, while my friends partied and had fun, feeling so disgusted and uncomfortable with myself.

I returned home and decided that I wanted to work on being a better version of myself. It was long overdue because I had suffered from health elements which included high blood pressure and cholesterol. At that point, I had already been on medications for almost 3 years to deal with it. My doctor even told me that I would be dead in 10 years due to heart disease if I didn’t change my ways, but I was not ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle until that weekend in Miami where I had finally seen myself for what I really was. I was a pretty girl, but I was severely overweight. Standing 5 feet tall and weighing 282 pounds, it was more than my body could handle.

I started my journey by immediately cutting out unhealthy food. Prior to, I never cooked. My main source of nutrition came from fast food. I was addicted to McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and McNuggets. I would on sugary snacks and greasy fried foods. I had to learn how to change my eating habits, so I started to do research on healthy options for people new to losing weight. I stuck to a low calorie diet while logging all of my intake on my fitness pal food tracker app. It help me to understand how much food I was putting into my body, which helped with controlling my portions.

In the beginning of my journey, I joined a gym. I was very intimidated because I did not know what to do so I stuck the cardio. Within a few months I was down 40 pounds before plateauing. It was at this point in my journey I became very de-motivated. I was still a newbie to the gym, and I wasn’t ready to start lifting weights, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do. I decided to start working out at home. I started doing the insanity workout combined with running outside. Doing so, along with maintaining a proper diet, I was able to lose an additional 85 pounds, dropping to 150 pounds.

It took me 14 months to lose my initial weight, which I maintained for over a year. However, due to the throes of life, I gained more than 50 pounds back. During this time I dealt with depression and more binge eating. I was already popular online and motivating others through my journey, but once I gain weight my audience started to turn on me. I was socially bullied almost every day. I will login to my social media accounts to very hurtful comments. At this point I decided to start The PHAT Movement, Pretty Healthy And Thick. If people were going to make fun of me being fat I was going to own the word. I turned a negative into a positive by inspiring other women whom were just like me. I focused on embracing my body at its current stage while working on being a better version of myself.

It took a little over two years, but I was finally able to lose the weight again. Going from 215 pounds at the height of my weight gain, down to 164 currently. I still have more work to do, but if anything my journey shows how it’s important to never give up on yourself. I was counted out by so many people after gaining weight back, I was embarrassed and discouraged as well. However, my dedication to change allowed me to do what I didn’t think I could for a second time in my life.

What helped me most the second time around was being open and honest about the struggles of weight loss. Media always advertises weight loss to be quick and easy, but the truth is that it’s hard and time consuming. You have to make yourself dedicated, consistent and make sacrifices that you may not necessarily want to. However, the end result provides a great reward. I have build up my self-esteem and confidence. The love that I have for myself is so abundant, like I’ve never had before in my life. I am full of vigor and I have a new outlook on my future. Before losing weight I was seriously depressed, I relied on prescription drugs and alcohol to medicate myself and I was in a very dark place in my life. I attempted suicide more than once because I didn’t feel like I was worth living or that anyone would love me. Changing my lifestyle has reversed not only my health ailments, but also my mental health status.

It’s important to know that change is possible. You don’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep working your way towards the end of the road you will make it to where you want to be. Never give up on yourself and always remember that this journey is a process. Doesn’t happen over night and it may not be easy, but I promise that every bit of your struggle will be worth it!