Transformation of the Day: Demiko lost 107 pounds. Since childhood, she was on various diets and tried a variety of methods for losing weight. She told herself that if she reached 300 lbs, she would take action. When that day came, she made good on her promise.

Demiko before and after

What was your motivation?
For most of my life, I’ve been big. My mom would tell me I got it from the women on my dad’s side of the family. (She said he had a sister who was big.)

No one…I mean no one…on my mom’s side is overweight or ever has been. I feel that she would tell me about my dad’s side to make sure I didn’t feel bad about my weight. Saying that it was hereditary was easier than addressing the real issue: my eating habits.

Even though I was a big kid, I was pretty active, but I had a true southern granny who made sure I was well fed! As I got older, the elders in my family would say I needed to push back from the table, My doctor put me on several diets, and I even tried weight loss pills. Everything I tried worked as long as I stuck to the plan. However, once the diet was over, or the pills ran out, I went back to my normal routine, and the weight came back. I tried exercise, as well. I had Barbie, TaeBo, The Firm, and many more workout videos. I would use them for a while, then get fed up and throw in the towel.

In 2012, my life changed! I decided to try this weight loss thing again. I got on the scale to check my weight and saw 307 pounds. I always told myself once I got to 300 pounds, I would make a change. Every time I say this, I think to myself, “Why was 300 my number?” It sounds weird actually to hear myself say it, but apparently, that was my breaking point. I shed a tear at the time, and it seems like everything clicked immediately!

I knew I needed to change everything about the way I was living. I started walking around my neighborhood, drinking more water, and using those workout tapes. I started taking walking breaks at work and continuously aimed to make better decisions about my food.

I stopped overeating and started recognizing how my emotions triggered my desire to eat. Eventually, I started working with personal trainers and coaches. From there, I kept adding more layers to my regime and continued to grow on my journey.

What inspired you to keep going when you wanted to give up?
Not going back to the person I was is what drives my determination. At no point in time has my journey been easy, but making better decisions has gotten easier! That is the only thing I have control over yet it’s the most important thing on this journey.

Tell us more about how you changed your eating habits?
The change in my eating habits has evolved as I have grown. I started with small changes that I could manage without killing myself, like drinking half my weight in ounces. Then I focused on adding more fruits and vegetables. After that, I ate more grilled/baked foods and switched to leaner cuts of meat. Eventually, these changes pushed fried foods and starchy sides out of my diet without me recognizing it. From there, my desire to eat better grew!

I tried programs, like Whole30, that focus on healthy habits and the quality of food. Eventually, I did the unthinkable. I became a vegan! I’ve been following a plant-based diet for the past two years, and I love every moment of it! I have more variety in my meals than I ever had eating meat. Being a vegan has introduced me to several new foods, a variety of tastes, people, and experiences! I absolutely love it! (However, it did not contribute a lot to my weight loss. I lost the majority of my weight before moving to a plant-based diet.)

Tell us about your workout routine.
My workout routine included personal training, walking, running, fitness classes, and dancing. I also created workout plans based on the knowledge I gained, and routines from the internet (Fitnessblender is my favorite free workout platform) I tell people all the time, “When starting exercising, try everything! That is the only way you will find what you like to do.”

I would and still do workout 5-6 days a week. Now, I do a lot of weight lifting and take a nice long walk once a week. Strength training helps me to relieve stress and reminds me of how strong I am (physically and mentally). My long walks ground me and slow me down. During this time, I reflect on my journey and life in general. After one of my walks, life is just better!

What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 307 pounds, and my current weight is 200 pounds.

What is your height?
I am 5’4″.

When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started in 2012 and lost 100 lbs in a year by changing my mindset about food, what I ate, and how I moved my body. When I tell people this, I usually get a response of, ” No, really! What’s your secret?”. There is no secret. That’s all you need to do. It sounds easy but by no means is it. My journey has many struggles, and I wanted to give up numerous times. However, I was determined to be a better me, and I still am.

Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
No, weight loss surgery was not part of my journey. I decided not to go this route because I knew I could do this and needed to prove that to myself. That’s the decision I made for me. If someone decides to take advantage of weight loss surgery, they should do so because it’s the best thing for them. The methods are different, but I feel they are both difficult.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
The only thing that has led to my success and kept me from going back to my old ways is how my thought process has changed. Weight loss isn’t about starving yourself, doing boring workouts, and achieving an unrealistic weight. It’s about changing your life and focusing on being better than you were yesterday. That is the biggest thing I’ve learned. No matter how motivated or unmotivated I am, my determination keeps me going!

What advice do you have for people who want to lose weight?
Find your why and never let it go. Also, learn from your failures. You will fail, and that’s ok. Failure is life’s lesson. Be sure to learn from those failures in order to improve! Most importantly be kind to yourself. You can’t expect others to be kind to you if you can’t be kind to yourself.

Instagram: @ohpretti1

Demiko before and after

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