Transformation of the Day: Janel lost 74 pounds. Two Pulmonary Embolisms, emotional eating and divorce could not stop her from reclaiming her health. By making small changes, one at a time, and committing fully to the journey, she created a healthy lifestyle that she can maintain for years to come. Check out her journey.

Janel before and after

My name is Janel, and I’m 28 years old. I started my weight loss journey in 2011 after being diagnosed with two Pulmonary Embolisms. Though my weight wasn’t entirely at fault for the blood clots, I was tired of my weight, even being a factor. I always thought to myself, ‘If I wasn’t overweight, maybe they’d look more at the problem and not me.’ By 2012, with healthy eating and going to the gym, I lost 90 pounds.

Shortly after that, I got married and started slowly gaining the weight back. My jeans weren’t fitting again, and my shirts felt tighter than usual. I was sad about it, but eating was easier than fixing the problem. Eating was always easier than fixing anything, which is why I knew if I wanted to lose weight AND keep it off, I had to find another solution.

After reaching my heaviest weight of 278 pounds and going through a divorce, I’m proud to say I lost 80 pounds and have kept over 70 pounds off for more than a year. My current weight is 204 pounds. My goal weight is 190ish.

Janel before and after

In the beginning stages, I used MyFitnessPal to track my fat intake and to see how many calories I averaged daily. Once I felt confident about making healthy choices, I stopped tracking my food and just kept being consistent. I stopped drinking soda and cut back on alcohol, but I eat some kind of chocolate daily because…balance.

I looked up tons of workouts and recipes on Pinterest. I chose to eat healthy 4-5 days out of the week. On football Sundays and Mondays, I don’t feel guilty for enjoying a day of everything happy and delicious. I also bought a dress that I knew I could realistically fit in a few months if I stayed consistent.

For the first year, I did cardio for 30 mins and free weights for about 20 at planet fitness. However, with two jobs getting to the gym became so hard that I stopped going. That is how I fell in love with dance videos online.

ZUMBA, ZUMBA, ZUMBA! If you’re looking for a fun, energetic, heart racing, sweat producing work out, try ZUMBA! I would not have lost all my weight and kept it off if it had not been for YouTube and Danielle Habibi’s Zumba channel. I would love to meet her one day and thank her for making me feel healthy and sexy!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far: To be successful with losing weight, you have to learn to love yourself, decide you deserve better, and WORK. YOUR. BUTT. OFF. There is no quick fix that will last. No pill can stop you from not working out or keep you from overeating.

Find a support group or create your own. Make cooking healthy foods fun, and include the family. Choose an evening walk vs. sitting down for a movie after dinner. Lastly, if I can give any advice at all, it is to keep moving. Go for a slow walk and then, every week, walk faster or add to your distance. Park far away from your job, so you have to take more steps. Do squats every time you go to the bathroom.

These are all small changes that I added to my routine over time so I know what a big difference they can make. Do this for yourself, for your family, or for your pet. Whatever the motivation may be, find it and use it to crush your goals because, as Lizzo so beautifully says, “We all deserve to feel good as hell.”

Instagram: @_lightskinnellllly

Janel before and after

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