Transformation of the Day: Manuella lost 60 pounds. She thought that she would always be the heaviest person in the room, facing ridicule and being looked down on. After a loved one passed away at a young age, she reflected on how short life is and how she wanted to live the rest of her life. She used a combination of several methods to get results, including Keto, intermittent fasting and going plant-based.
What was your motivation? What inspired you when you wanted to give up?
After my first year of university, I hit the lowest point in my life in terms of my mental health. I felt like I was in a cage, and my eating habits worsened to the point where I would binge eat every day.
I never thought of myself as ugly. However, I did not appreciate and love myself enough. Before my weight loss journey, my health was never my #1 priority because I thought I could not lose weight. I thought I would always be the heaviest person in the room and that people would look down on me. I work very hard to achieve my dreams, so I buried myself in my work and made that my #1 priority.
During a depressive episode, I lost a loved one. I felt very confused because she was very young. (This also happened after I lost my grandmother just a few months prior.) Although the event was tragic, it made me realize how life short is. I no longer wanted to be forever stuck in the “I’m gonna be obese forever, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” mindset. In April 2019, I decided I had to start loving myself and making health my first priority.
It seems ridiculous that someone would not make health their first priority, but after years of being the bigger girl who got called names and got looked down on so much, I did not appreciate my worth enough to appreciate my health. My weight loss journey has not been just about losing weight. It has also been about loving myself (mind, body, and soul), understanding my body and mind, finding my truth, and forming my confidence.
The journey has not been easy at all! There are still days when I fall back into my old mindset. During those times, I always remind myself that I can work hard to achieve many things. However, if I am not alive and well, I can not enjoy the fruits of my labor. There are many days that I want to give up, but I always remind myself that I am worthy of a good life, a good body, and a good mind. My body feels stronger, my mind has become more resilient, and life feels so much better. I am glad that I didn’t give up.
How did you change your eating habits?
I initiated fat loss with the Ketogenic diet. I attempted to do the cleanest version of Keto possible but, there were many days of “dirty” Keto. Clean Keto consists of more low-carb vegetables, no dairy, and healthier fats. Dirty Keto allows for the intake of dairy, all types of fat, etc. It still worked nonetheless because I restricted my carb intake to less than 20g a day.
Eventually, I felt the need to start a more wholesome diet. I started developing negative symptoms whenever I would eat meat (I’m still not sure why), so I started going plant-based. On top of going plant-based, I did intermittent fasting. With both diets (Keto and plant-based), I was able to lose weight. The more I lost weight, the more I had to restrict my calorie intake. Right now, I am in the process of slowly incorporating meat back into my diet. I want to follow an entirely whole foods-based diet.
What did your workout routine look like? How often did you workout?
Initially, my workout routine consisted of mostly cardio. I would go for walks (I made a goal of 10,000 steps per day). I ran as well. (At first, I could barely run half a sidewalk, and now I am running 5K! Patience and consistency are important).
I love to dance (especially to Afrobeats), so I would dance a lot, even if I looked silly. After my body got a bit stronger, I did some home bodyweight and resistant band workouts.
I was worried about how my figure would look after losing weight, so I wanted to start building muscle in certain areas while losing fat. I did a lot of leg/butt/hip exercises and forgot arm day a few (well, a lot of) times. Unfortunately, I am now left with strong legs and very weak arms. I am still exercising (the grind don’t stop) and working more on my upper body.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 275 pounds, and I currently weigh 215 pounds. My goal is 175 pounds, and I am so excited for the day I can say I lost 100 pounds. I am focusing more on inches rather than weight at this point, as I would like to replace fat with muscle, and muscle is more dense than fat.
What is your height?
I am around 5’7″.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started my journey in April 2019. In about five months, I lost 50 pounds. When school started again in September, I knew the stress would hurt my progress, so I decided to maintain my weight. When 2020 began, my schedule was less stressful, so I decided to get back on track with weight loss. With meal prepping and intermittent fasting, I was able to lose 10lbs more in about two months. My weight then stalled for a while, but I lost two more inches off my waist despite my weight staying the same. I have not checked the scale recently, but I have lost more inches on my waist and arms this week!
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
No, I have not done any surgery at all.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Firstly, there is a huge difference between weight loss and fat loss. Fat loss is what you should target.
Secondly, the most effective weight loss occurs when you start to appreciate and take care of your health holistically. You should aim to make lifestyle changes so that the maintenance of your new body will be easier.
Exercising can be so addictive and enjoyable! This is coming from the girl who could barely do one push-up last year.
It is also crucial for you to surround yourself with the right people. I am not telling you to cut off friends who live sedentary lifestyles. It can be something as small as following more fitness influencers on social media. When you become more active and are living a healthier lifestyle, you will see that you will also start to influence people in your circle.
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
Imagine the number 1000,000,000 (huge, right?) Now take away the “1”. All you have left is 000,000,000 (zero, nothing). You need to take care of your health to live longer so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, see your loved ones grow, and find more of the beautiful surprises & blessings that life can bring.
Secondly, you have to want to do it for yourself. Many people can tell you to lose weight, but if you’re not up for the challenge 100%, it’ll be a much harder process.
Thirdly, do not forget that mental health is just as important as physical health. The mind and the body are very well connected.
Lastly, enjoy the journey— the failures, the successes, everything. You will feel your body get stronger on some days. You’ll complete workouts and eat well. Then, there will be days that you will not want to get out of bed, and you’d rather watch Netflix while eating a lot of junk food. No matter what happens, don’t give up. This is your journey, and it’s not impossible. Do this for you.
My fitness page on Instagram is @psychedelicfitness. On my page, I share more of my transformation, my meals, and my workout routines.
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