My weight has been a struggle all my life. When I was 13, I weighed 180 lbs. By the time I was 17, I reached 225 lbs. I grew up eating fast food every single day, so I felt like I was immune to it. I craved fried food and sugar all the time. I’d buy junk food and hide it because I could purchase a 12-pack of Snickers and eat it in one day. Plus, I was not active at all.
At the age of 34 my weight was 289 lbs. I looked in the mirror and was disgusted, so I asked myself a question: “Do I deserve this?” The answer is: “No!” I realized I deserved to be happy and healthy. I knew I could no longer stay in the house, but I felt like if I went outside people were judging me. I was scared to live. I was scared of life. I knew that my time with fast food, processed food, and grease was done. I knew I had to give up the pint of ice cream and chocolate chip cookies that I ate daily.
First thing I did was see a therapist, which helped me to realize I had been holding onto the past. I never understood why I suffered with my weight while everyone else in my family was small. Many people used to say that the women in my family were pretty but would never compliment me. I felt like I was an embarrassment to them – my family.
As soon as I lost 10 lbs and thought I was getting my life together, I got laid off from my job. I was devastated! Before I knew it, all of my bad eating habits were back and I gained 25 lbs in a month. I was in a serious depression and ate all day. The delivery guys at Papa John’s knew my order when I called. One day I pulled up to McDonald’s to order a Supersize Big Mac Combo with a diet coke (I have to keep it healthy, after all), with a double cheeseburger, 2 apple pies, an Oreo McFlurry, and a caramel sundae. When I pulled up to the window to pay, the cashier asked, “Didn’t feel like cooking for the family tonight?” I was too embarrassed to say it was all for me, so I smiled and said, “Yes, long day.”
After a self-evaluation, I said to myself, “Ki, you deserve to be happy and healthy! This is your time!” First I had to eliminate the soft drinks, as I was drinking 3-5 a day, and started to drink water with lemon. Next I had to get moving, so I started walking around the park and I’d even walk around my apartment complex. I had a gym membership for 3 years but only went maybe three times in a year.
I started to feel sick and had severe stomach pains. The doctor ran tests and I was diagnosed with an infection in my stomach. It’s called H. pylori and I got it from eating tainted ground meat, which can happen from buying meat and not putting it in the refrigerator. After that, I cut out all red meat. I adopted a much healthier lifestyle with clean eating habits and decided to get active by doing cardio and lifting weights.
Now my cravings are different. Now, if I want something sweet, I always keep fresh fruit around. Now, instead of having a sugary candy bar, I eat a Quest Bar! I love the Peanut Butter & Jelly flavor. So yummy! I never thought a Quest Bar could taste so good and be good for you. It satisfies my sweet tooth and has enough protein in it to satisfy my hunger pains. I always bring a Quest Bar with me to the gym.
I rarely worked out in my 20’s and when I look at my old photos it’s painfully evident. Although my body has aged 10 years, I look and feel just as young (if not younger) than I did back then. In total, I have lost 70 lbs. At times it can be challenging at times to do it yourself, so I needed a positive support system. I had to eliminate all the negative people and all the negativity from my surroundings. My support system has been my family and I stay connected to people on social media, even if I never met them, because just seeing their story can be motivating.
I want to inspire others not to give up on their dreams. I want others to realize they are worth it. I want others to realize that you can be healthy and still eat foods that are tasty and have flavor. Being healthy is not boring. I’ve learned that I have self-worth and value. I’ve learned that it’s OK if you have a bad day. Get up and get moving. I’ve learned to be patient with myself. The weight did not come on over night and it won’t come off over night. I had to give myself time. I’ve learned that not everyone will support or understand your journey. Stay away from the naysayers. Most importantly, I’ve learned not to compare myself to anyone else. We are all created to be different. Lastly, do it for yourself and start saying daily affirmations every day.
5 things I want you to remember:
1. You deserve to be healthy.
2. You can choose to be happy. Your circumstances will not affect your happiness.
3. Love yourself just as you are. You are beautiful, inside and out.
4. Do not be a people pleaser.
5. Do not give up.