Let’s jump in to her story:
✋ At what moment did you realize you HAD to lose weight?
I was so severely depressed that all I was doing every day for several months was constantly eating and sitting on my couch. I wasn’t working and had dropped out of school. So I guess the moment I decided I had to fix my mental health coincided with the decision to lose weight.
1️⃣ What was the first step you took towards transforming your body?
I was eating fast food literally everyday, to the point where I’d be eating over 5,000 calories every single day. I didn’t even realize this until I decided on a whim to log my calories one day. I was shocked. Continuing to log my intake (I use Lose It) has been THE biggest help.
🍳 What kind of adjustments did you make to your diet?
Mostly the proportions. Honestly, I still love Taco Bell. I’m just not eating 5,000 calories of it, or of anything else, every day anymore. Also, I pretty much only drink water now. I’ll have a soda once in a while but really no more than once a week.
🥕 What were your go-to staple foods that helped you achieve your goals?
Black coffee, it’s zero calories and the caffeine helps lessen excessive appetite.
💪 Can you talk a little bit about what you found to work the best in terms of physical exercise? What worked best for you and why?
I don’t really do any cardio except maybe go for a jog/walk once in a blue moon. I rely very heavily on strength training and calisthenics. I’ve found that focusing on building lean muscle helps to shape my body in a way that I prefer, rather than just getting “skinny”.
🧾 What was the best advice you received (or read) along the way?
Not to rely so much on the number on the scale. Right now I weigh the same as I did in 2016, but my waist is actually smaller and my arms and legs are more toned. It’s all about body recomp!
🥵 What was the hardest part about your journey? How did you overcome it?
Honestly, the hardest part has been the perpetual body dysmorphia. Looking in the mirror, or seeing photos of myself, I cannot see a difference between how I look now versus 60lbs heavier. I am still trying to figure out how to overcome this, but hoping it will become easier after some time maintaining weight.
💡 Was there an ‘aha’ moment where everything began to click?
It’s kind of been a lot of ‘aha’ moments put together. It’s every time I find clothes from high school that finally fit again, or holding out an old stretched-out pair of jeans that’s now 8 sizes too big.
😎 How has your life changed since the day you took your before photo?
I now live in New York, and I’m a much happier and healthier person than in my before photo. My life in the before photo was made up of sitting on the couch and overeating as a bad coping method for my depression. Over the last year since I took my before photo, I’ve started working out regularly, eating only when hungry, and have been in therapy for my mental health.
❤ Based on your experience, what advice would you give to our readers who are starting off as the ‘old’ you?
Be kind to yourself.
Thanks for the interview, Jess!