Weight loss story from @auteezytaughtyou

Autumn shares her weight loss story with us, despite still being tempted by the fast food “demon” she was able to lose a considerable amount of weight.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been “bigger”. I was never really obese to be labeled “the fat girl,” but I was big enough to feel like I shouldn’t be the size that I was. The first time I noticed my size, I weighed in at 83lbs in the 3rd grade, while my best friends were 70lbs or less. Whenever I shared my concerns with my mother, she would assure me that I was naturally bigger because she was the same size that I was when she was my age. My parents didn’t allow me to cheer or do gymnastics, so as I grew older, I made the effort to try to be as active as possible. I joined a step team, dance team, and even started going to the gym in high school, even though many of my friends didn’t understand my need to work out so much. It was personal for me, I was eating the same meals as my younger sister but was always at least 30lbs more than her. I was eating less than all of my best friends but was literally twice their size.

When I went away to school in 2011, I came back having gained the “Freshman Forty,” (yes, 30lbs more than expected). In 2012 I was the biggest I had ever been, weighing in at 215lbs. I’m 5’8 so I am able to carry more weight, but it was obvious that I was out of shape. I went to the gym but was lazy. I stopped eating beef, pork, and drank nothing but water, but I still ate whatever I wanted to compensate for what I was “cutting out” of my diet. In 2014 one of my friends complimented me on being a beautiful plus size girl, but in my mind I was “bigger,” not “plus size.” As crazy as that sounds I got offended. I knew I wasn’t small but I always considered plus size to mean a Size 16 dress and up, and because I was only a size 12 I didn’t think I was too big. It was at that point that I began to take my health and exercising seriously. I joined a gym and began working out 4 or 5 times a week, and I became a vegetarian to incorporate more vegetables in my diet. At the start of 2015 I was vegetarian, had a regular exercise routine, and was down to 190lbs. I remained this size and really focused on being healthy-but I still wasn’t happy. I ate so much better than most people I knew but I still didn’t understand why I was bigger than them. I was still a size 12 and I wasn’t progressing the way that I wanted to, I was just maintaining my weight.

In September of 2016 one of my close friends said to me “girl you still working out? You look a little bigger but you look good though!” Again, someone saying something about my size became the fuel for me to do something about it. It wasn’t me waking up unhappy; it was how I appeared to others that upset me. I began to do research on why I was eating healthier and working out consistently, but still couldn’t lose weight. I found suggestions on monitoring calorie intake, how to change my workout plan, and what specific foods I was eating that could be affecting my size. I saw that I needed to incorporate more cardio to lose the fat, and consume fewer calories to make sure I actually lost the weight. I began using “MyFitnessPal” to monitor my calories, but more specifically to see what carbohydrates, protein, and fats I was consuming. In no time I began to lose an average of 1lb a week; at this point I was living overseas and walking everywhere, so I was the most active I had ever been. The experience of living overseas was the best one of my life, and I feel like the joy I found while teaching abroad contributed to me taking my health back. I realized that I had been so busy being offended by someone calling me bigger, that I didn’t even notice that they weren’t necessarily offending me. In middle school I was called fat a few times, but back then I would just not eat for a few days, and then get over it; or so I thought. A few days of starvation to make the number on the scale go down was a band aid over my self-esteem and how I viewed myself. The best thing that could’ve happened to me was my friend telling me that I looked a little bigger because I was; my weight was fluctuating because I considered myself healthy but I really wasn’t monitoring what I was putting into my body.

On this day, March 15, 2017 I am 161 pounds and have never felt happier. Not because I am small, but because I worked hard to do something and it paid off. In the process of shedding pounds; I shed the weight of low self-esteem, caring too much about what other people thought; and considering an unhealthy lifestyle, happy. At this point my fitness goals are based on trying to build muscle, so if I count calories it’s to make sure I’m getting enough protein. As a vegetarian my protein sources are usually high in carbohydrates so I still use MyFitnessPal to monitor my carbs vs. protein intake. I work out about 5 days a week; I do a JAMM fitness class (it’s like Zumba on steroids) as my main source of fat burning, 3x a week, and weight lifting at least 2 days a week. I am still a vegetarian, but sometimes I eat fish on the days where I want more protein and less carbs. I self-care; I meditate and read and take time to check out from the world because my mental health was one of the biggest factors that influenced my progression. In 2012 I was the biggest I had ever been at 215lbs, but I was also happy. Obsessing about my weight allowed the number on the scale to decrease, bringing me to 190lbs in 2015, but I wasn’t satisfied. Around November of 2016, while breathing the fresh air of another country that values people for who they are and not how they look, I found joy; something that cannot be taken away. On this day I know that no matter what anyone says, including those haunting 3 numbers on a scale, I am beautiful, and I am enough.

As black woman, we often feel heavy. We cook, we clean, we have to look good, we have to smell good, we have to be smart, we have to have street smarts, we have to be skinny, we have to be thick, we have to be mothers, we have to be independent; there are so many roles that we have to fill that make us forget who we want to be. If you look in the mirror and you’re unhappy, change it. If someone says something about you that upsets you, evaluate why it upset you. Think about if what they said held any weight, and if it weighed you down, figure out what can lift you up. Take it slow; don’t make unrealistic goals. If you want to be healthy, it’s a lifestyle change. Find what works for you, and stick to it. There are so many IG celebrities, teas, waist trainers, and different suggestions for quick fixes to lose weight; but at the end of the day your temple deserves permanent positive changes. I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to, until I removed myself from the things that were weighing me down, literally. Don’t be a slave to food; enjoy it by all means, but recognize when you’re upset, sad, or depressed. Don’t look to food to fill those voids; but find other ways to self-care. You are worth more than the number on the scale or the perception the world has of you; until you love yourself; nothing will change. Peace and love.