We caught up with Tameika to learn about her journey to losing over 90lbs naturally and how her weight loss transformation gave her the confidence to start a business and live out her travel dreams.
What led you to want to make a lifestyle change?
I was the classic story of the girl who had been overweight her entire life. Growing up, I was the fun, jolly, overweight friend that everyone loved! I was in the arts, so performing was my life and took up the majority of my time. Being active and playing sports was never a priority. And my family loves to eat! We’re of Jamaican descent and needless to say, being health conscious was never of true importance. We just ate great food and ate it well! Traditional foods were a huge part of our culture and lifestyle.
As I got older, the weight piled on. I went from being the cute chubby Tameika to becoming severely overweight. After my first year of university and gaining yet another 20lbs, I’d reached 220lbs… my highest weight yet. At only 5’2 it was t(for the first time) becoming a serious life hazard. I just knew it was time for change. After hundreds of failed attempts, it finally clicked and I took control of my life.
What did you do?
At the gym, it started with fitness classes! Through research, I knew how important strength training was. Initially it started off with just cardio, but I quickly learned that if I wanted the body I dreamt of, with minimal loose skin, strength training was important. Fitness classes taught me the basics; what a bicep curl was, how to properly squat, how to target different muscle groups. I couldn’t afford a personal trainer back then, so learning in classes was a perfect alternative.
My love for training evolved. It snowballed into the weight room and planning out my workouts. I loved the results my body was experiencing and was committed to seeing where I could take this.
How did you change your eating habits?
It started off with deciding I was going to make my own food. As a student, that consisted of very basic and very affordable meals. But I knew making and preparing my own meals was a first step. Over time it evolved into making my meals really fun, buying healthy cookbooks, and trying new recipes.
What was your starting weight/dress size?
Starting weight was 220lbs and a size (US) 16/18. Currently I am about 135-140 and a size (US) 4/6 it took about 9 months, 10 years ago.
What was the hardest part about your transformation?
The hardest part was recognizing I had a food addiction. It’s a very real addiction and it wasn’t until I realized that, was I able to address it and eventually combat it. I identified my personal triggers and ways to overcome it. I overcame emotional eating and found healthy foods I truly enjoyed. Once I was able to tackle the diet portion of this journey, the rest was easy. The hardest part as of late has been keeping the weight off. Many people can lose weight, but seldom are able to keep it off, in its entirety, for a decade. So there is a constant struggle with maintenance that I deal with every day.
How have things changed with you in general
My outward appearance finally matches how I feel about myself inside. I am happier, more energetic, more productive, and so confident. This transformation changed my life completely. Once I lost the weight, I got certified. I now devote all of my spare time to helping others through personal and online training. I’m committed to this industry and helping my clients achieve the happiness I’ve found.
Who or what helped you along your journey? Is there a product that helped you or anything in particular you’d recommend?
It all starte
d with research. I was a great student and loved to learn. I lost the weight 10 years ago – this was during a time when Instagram, blogs, and the wealth of information available today, just wasn’t there. I resorted to the library and took out books on weight loss. I studied the science of weight loss, caloric intake, macros, fitness, weight training and the psychology of obesity. I was basically a sponge, absorbing everything I could.
What might we catch you doing on your days off?
My love for this lifestyle enabled me to get certified many years ago. My passion in life is helping my clients (both in person and online) achieve the success and happiness I have found. Since losing the weight I have helped over 300 women lose a lot of weight!
When I am not servicing my clients, I travel! At the moment, I actually travel full time … soaking up as much of the world as possible. I’ve just spent 2 months in Europe, and my base is currently Asia. So when I’m not at yoga, the gym, or tending to my clients, I am out exploring a new city/town/country!
What piece of advice would you give other women looking to start on their own lifestyle change/fitness journey?
I think the biggest advice I can give is you need to make this lifestyle work for you! Let’s face it, I will never be the girl eating no carbs, taking tons of supplements, and having salad three times a day. I’m a lover of food, so I’ve learned ways to make all of my favorite foods healthier. I have more restrictions, yes, but I never feel without.
So I would suggest continuing to eat the foods you love, but find ways to make them healthy. I would also suggest taking the “slow and steady” approach to this journey, so you can enjoy this process. Always ask yourself, is what I’m doing sustainable? Can I do this 5, 10, 15 years down the road. If the answer is no, revisit your approach. Ditch the fad diets, trends, and things you see on social media. Just start with a healthy balanced diet and get moving! Keep it simple.