Weightloss Story by @ella_az
I have always been that chubby kid. To be honest, chubby is putting it mildly. I was plain fat. I was that fat friend that never fit in the group and was mostly the odd one out. I grew to accept that I was born to be overweight especially with people always saying to me “not everyone is meant to be slim”. It felt like my destiny and who was I to change that? That didn’t stop people’s remarks about my size to hurt. The more the scale went up each passing year, the less self-confident I became and the more I had self-esteem issues.
At the age of 23 I was already over 250lbs and being barely 5ft 3inches I looked stout and ‘round’ with all that weight on. I made up my mind to avoid the scale since the numbers were never friendly. By 25, my blood pressure was so high and I was told by the doctor that I was borderline hypertensive. I was asked to lose some weight to help manage it else I would end up on medication for life. This made me sad but that didn’t push me to try to lose some weight. I turned to more food for comfort.
Sometime in June 2014, after series of tests, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome popularly known as PCOS and was told it had no cure. From my research, I discovered that unusual weight gain and disordered appetite control were some of the symptoms of PCOS. I began to understand why I was experiencing these symptoms and losing weight was the only way I could keep them under control. This was a wakeup call for me and at this time I weighed well over 275lbs. I finally decided it was time to do something about my weight.
Before now, I had tried so many short cuts/quick fixes/fad diets to lose weight. I had tried almost every fad diet I heard of: cabbage diet, fruit and water only diet, protein only diet, drinking local herbs that caused diarrhoea for days non-stop and landed me in the hospital at some point, I went as far as going to the dentist to get my teeth tied together to stop me from eating solid food and I fed on liquid alone for two months. Just name it, I had done it all but I simply lose a couple of pounds with each diet and gain them all back and more after I resumed eating normally again. This time I heard of the Cambridge diet (another sophisticated fad diet if you ask me) and decided to give it a shot. On this diet, I ate only packaged shakes and soups and within 9 short weeks I had lost over 40lbs! I didn’t know any better and I was happy with my progress. Unfortunately, by September of same 2014 I lost my dad suddenly and the shock of that loss threw me back into depression. By March 2015, I had regained all the weight I lost from the diet.
Sometime in April 2015 after looking through some fitness pages on Instagram I made up my mind one last time to give weight loss a shot. This time I was going to do it the old fashioned sustainable way – eating healthy and exercising. I honestly didn’t know what eating healthy really meant but I was willing to try. I read a lot about nutrition and I started off by cutting down my eating out, soda and all sugary drinks, high fatty foods and late night binging. For exercise, I started by brisk walking/jogging 45mins – an hour, 5 times a week. I would go out early, as early as 5am while it was still dark to avoid being seen by people who might laugh or throw snide comments at me. I didn’t want to be discouraged by the embarrassment. I did this faithfully for about two months before signing up at a gym. This was a huge move for me as I had no idea what to expect. Will people judge me? Will they laugh at me? What if I cannot lift myself? So many fears but the wonderful people and trainers at my home gym encouraged me each day. At the gym, I was introduced to weight training and I fell in love! I haven’t stopped ever since. My new routine became jogging in the morning for an hour and going to the gym to train in the evenings, doing a total of 3 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. Workout was therapy and the gym was my place of release. On the days I couldn’t make it to the gym, I worked out at home to YouTube videos.
I started my journey weighing over 275lbs, wearing UK size 20/22 and currently I am about 203lbs wearing UK 14 (My lowest weight in 2016 was 197lbs). The plan was to lose 50lbs and I didn’t even think I could do it but seeing how far I have come gives me the confidence I can do more! Now my goal is to lose a total of 100lbs loss and more.
I will say that the hardest part of my journey was my mental struggle. At the beginning, I struggled so much with self-doubt because I didn’t believe in myself and my abilities. I was so used to seeing me fail so many times in the past that it was hard to picture me winning this time. So for me, showing up even on the days I don’t feel like it or making a healthy food choice when I could easily make a bad one is victory. I have had weeks when I just shut down due to mental pressure but I never give up. I simply pick up from where I stopped and keep moving. I have learnt to stop beating myself up for struggling. It’s all part of the journey and makes me stronger each time I pull through.
Losing weight has changed my life in a lot of ways- Physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and medically. First, all traces of hypertension have vanished and my blood pressure is very normal now. Second, the incessant migraine I used to have due to the high blood pressure is gone too. Third, even with PCOS, my hormones are more balanced now and some of the other symptoms are less intense now. Fourth. the greatest reward losing weight has given to me is confidence. I learnt to love myself and gained so confidence! My self-esteem skyrocketed, I believe more in myself, I am more vocal and outspoken and each day I am more like the woman I envisioned me to be all these years. I can’t say enough about my experience with self-love. It has helped me grow so much and changed my mentality completely
Food used to be my comfort and I would binge hard on my dark days or whenever I felt stressed. But not anymore. I still fall off and binge every now and then but I have more self-control when those moments come and mastered the art of bouncing back fast from it. Throughout my journey, I have not used any product to aid my weight loss. I have stuck to the natural way -eating good healthy food and exercising my body. With no gym buddy, no one to encourage me physically it has been tough but God has kept my head up through it all. On the days my physical strength fails, He is always there pushing me. Over the past year as well, I have drawn strength from my cyber community on social media that understand the hi-lows of this journey. I have never met most of these people but some have become family I can depend on to push me towards my goal when I struggle.
- JUST START. The time will never be right. There will always be a million and one things that will take your time and make you believe you cannot put your fitness first. If it is important to you, you will make time for it. Just start off and wobble/crawl along if you have to. You will eventually find the balance.
- You do not have to know it all to start, all you need to have is your desire and passion to gift yourself a better, healthier and fit body.
- Do not look for quick fixes. The old-fashioned way of exercising and eating healthy is still the surest and most sustainable method. It might take a while but it will get you there.
- Patience cannot be over-emphasised. Be patient and do not compare your journey to another person’s journey. Understand that everyone’s body works different and that that you are slow isn’t an indication of failure.