Transformation of the Day: Tezhina lost 93 pounds. She struggled with depression and emotional eating that intensified after the death of her mother. By enrolling in a medical weight loss program, working with a personal trainer, and going to therapy, she was able to create a healthy lifestyle that works for her. Check out her journey.
My weight yo-yo’d up and down for years, but by October of 2017, I weighed 326lbs. (height: 5’5″) That was the heaviest I had ever been. I always tried to eat healthy, but I struggled with emotional eating, especially after the death of my mother in 2016. I have stopped and started a lot of weight loss regimens.
I was worried about developing diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, all of which run in my family. I never hated how I looked, but I felt like I hit a point where my weight was going to start becoming a problem. I started therapy in mid-2017 to deal with issues around my mom’s death and depression. In December 2017, I found out about a program called CoreLife. It’s a weight program where participants are followed by a doctor, nurse, and dietitian. I started to lose weight by tracking my meals on My Fitness Pal and cutting out a lot of the unhealthy snacking. Then my husband and I did a Meatless March challenge that led to us being even more focused on what we ate.
In April 2017, I signed on with Figure 8 Fizique, my cousin’s personal training business. She put me on a strict regimen and encouraged me to change my mindset towards food and emotional eating. I’ve been working with her ever since. It’s a tough journey because the temptation to fall back on old habits is strong, especially when things get tough. However, I have learned to enjoy exercise, especially powerlifting, and I’ve done a major overhaul of how I eat. Right now, I’m following a low carb eating plan with a focus on lots of green vegetables and lean proteins. I’m even eating fish, which I wouldn’t touch for years.
My workout routine primarily consists of weight lifting and HIIT with some cardio thrown in. I began out working out two times a week with my trainer. Then I added a 3rd day on my own. I also try to do planks, pushups, situps, and squats daily.
I’m down to 233 pounds right now. I went from a size 30 to a size 18/20. Today, I can deadlift 200 pounds and squat 170 pounds. Between us, my husband and I have lost over 100lbs. I have more energy and feel so much better overall.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that weight loss starts in your mind first. You have to change the way that you think about yourself and how you think about food. I have depression, and I’m an emotional eater. I had to learn to change my coping skills so that food wasn’t my immediate go-to. I also needed to accept my body as it was in order to start making changes. The mindset of hating my body just fed into my depression. Learning to love my body at 326lbs helped to break that cycle. Also, just like with any addiction, relapse is a thing. I had to learn to work through those relapses rather than letting them derail me entirely. One bad day no longer means a return to poor eating habits; it’s just one bad day.
My advice: Start with the mental aspect of this journey.
- Why do you want to lose weight/get healthier?
- What are your goals?
- What behaviors need to change, and what are the thoughts behind your behaviors?
The desire for sustainable change has to be internal rather than trying to meet some external pressure (i.e. losing weight for someone else, or trying to fit into a particular outfit).
Be realistic. Trying to lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks is not practical or sustainable. It’s going to take time, and it’s going to be frustrating. That is why it’s vital to develop coping skills. I also recommend at least starting with a trainer who can help develop a workout and nutrition plan that is customized to where you are, both mentally and physically.