Transformation of the Day: Shanta lost 65 pounds by transforming her mindset and her habits. As her life evolved through the years with marriage, completing her doctorate, working as a clinical pharmacist, and raising three kiddos, she experienced significant weight gain. This Zeta Phi Beta soror shared with us the steps she took to release the weight.
I am a 49-year-old wife and mother of three. Professionally, I am a clinical pharmacist working in the inpatient pharmacy of a local hospital in southeast Michigan. I’m also the creator/moderator of a Facebook fitness support group, Fit for Service.
While I’ve never been “thin” (more like medium), I would say my struggle with obesity began not long after getting married at 24 years old. I quickly put on several newlywed, “happy & in love” pounds trying to whip up some good, old school “meat & potatoes followed by dessert” meals for us. Combine that with the stress of finishing my doctorate, working and subsequently birthing and raising three kiddos. The next thing I knew, ten years had passed, and I was 109 pounds heavier than I was on the day of my wedding! I had gone from 126 pounds in May 1994 to 235 pounds in 2005 after the birth of our youngest.
I yo-yo dieted for many years during this ten-year span and several years beyond. As a health care professional, I knew better, but somehow I pushed knowledge to the side and put everything else ahead of my health. I made excuses. I indulged in unhealthy foods regularly. Honestly, I ate those foods just because they taste good, so I chose to ignore what they did to my body and health. I wished and hoped to be fit. Dare I even say that I envied those who had fit, lean bodies. I convinced myself that they were the genetically lucky ones and that most people, like myself, just wouldn’t and/or couldn’t obtain fit bodies. I realize now that it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Fit people put in the hard work and sacrifices required to achieve the results they want. Period.
Finally, around 2012, I had enough of the wishful thinking and yo-yo weight gains and losses. Watching my parents die at the relatively young ages (62 and 71) from potentially preventable diseases, and observing the consequences of the unhealthy habits of so many of my patients at the hospital finally forced me to consider what I was doing to myself.
Did I want to live or not? And not just live, but live in health with a high quality of life well into my golden years? I determined to make a forever change. I thought about and focused on my “Whys.” I gave up my excuses and changed my mindset. This required me to adopt a full paradigm shift in how I viewed fitness and health. Exercise was no longer an “optional activity” that you fit in just three days a week or whenever you can. It became and continues to be as critical and normal as brushing my teeth every day.
I began by committing to a MINIMUM of 10 minutes of exercise (continuous intentional movement of my body) every day. That has now grown to a minimum of 20 minutes daily (which I usually exceed) and is simply non-negotiable.
When it comes to my routine, the exercises and duration vary, but it always happens in some form. I walk on my lunch break at work every day after eating, just as a baseline activity. Why sit for an hour when I can be moving? I follow that up most days with a workout at home in my basement. Over time, I have slowly added equipment to my home gym and now have everything I need to get in a good workout right there at my convenience. I began focusing on heavy weight lifting regularly. With lifting, I saw amazing changes in my body composition and shape, as well as my strength and my energy level.
As for nutrition, I initially began with counting macros and an IIFYM approach. I utilized the My Fitness Pal app to record my food intake, and it was beneficial to me for many years. The nutrition part is always the hardest for me. I like tasty food and would find myself slipping back into overindulging sometimes. As they say, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. At some point, my progress stalled. However, I never backtracked too far because I will check myself. I just hovered around the same spot, never quite reaching my body goals. So I decided to make another change and give Keto a try.
I began Keto in August of 2018 and once again saw progress towards my ultimate fitness goals. I enjoy low carb, healthy fat meals, and I feel great. This is the best I’ve felt in many years, actually. I’m happy with my body while still having some work to do. My current weight is 170 pounds/size 10. I’m down from 235 pounds/size 16/18.
The process is life long. What you do to achieve fitness and health, you must continue to do to maintain it. I consider every effort as an investment in my future. I intend to do everything within my power to stay healthy, strong, energetic, sexy, and active for the rest of my days on this earth!