Transformation of the Day: Taliah lost 93 pounds. She was stress eating and dealing with high blood pressure issues while serving in the Air Force. As her weight continued to fluctuate, she was diagnosed with PTSD. Eventually, she was taking 18 pills a day. She decided to reclaim her health. Check out her inspiring story.
I’m Taliah, and I started to struggle with my weight about ten years ago at the age of 25. I was active duty Air Force at the time, and my grandmother was in the late stages of cancer. Being on active duty meant that I had weight and fitness standards to adhere to. However, my grandmother’s sickness caused me to stress eat.
My weight always ranged from 155-170 pounds. My first spike in weight took me to 180 lbs. I thought that weighing 10 lbs over what I usually weighed wasn’t that bad. I thought that it wouldn’t be difficult to tackle 10 pounds. However, this weight caused me to have high blood pressure that was only controlled by medication (2 pills daily). I also started to retain water all over my body. Before I knew it, I weighed 200 lbs!
As I mentioned before, at the time I was in the military, and my doctor agreed to help me lose weight by prescribing me another pill for weight loss (3 pills a day). I thought they would help. The pills made me starve myself. In return, I got back to around 180 lbs, but my weight would NOT stable out because I wasn’t changing any behaviors. I wasn’t getting to the root of the problem. I was just covering it up with a pill.
My weight fluctuated up and down for the next two years or so. By that time, I was sent to Korea for a two-year tour. While in Korea, I found a civilian diet clinic that prescribed the same pills I had taken before. I piled more pills onto my problem without changing anything about my diet and of the amount of exercise I was doing. Needless to say, I dropped to 175 pounds before ballooning back up to over 200 pounds again.
I continued to struggle with my weight, and by this time, my body was failing. I got out of the military in 2011 (took a buy-out), and by that time my weight was consistently over 210 pounds. My blood pressure was no longer controlled by medication. I was eventually taking multiple pills to control the symptoms of my illness. I continued to fluctuate up and down in weight.
I started my care at the VA in 2012. I was diagnosed with the dreadful PTSD, so that meant even MORE PILLS! After another year of this, I decided enough is enough.
In 2014, I had gone up to 18 pills a day, and the side effects were sometimes worse than the original symptoms. I found myself having to choose between no sleep or diarrhea which would keep me up all night. I felt that I was fighting a losing battle. By this time, I had ballooned to 248 pounds. That was too much weight to carry on my 5’7” frame. Everything began to hurt, I was short of breath all the time, my feet would swell so big that I couldn’t wear closed shoes, and I had edema was worse than I had ever known anyone else to have.
What always motivated me was my grandmother’s words to me before she passed away. We were talking about how EVERYBODY is so sick these days. I asked her how do I NOT get sick. She told me to eat more fruit and veggies and less meat… No meat if I could. Years later I saw that my 86 year old auntie adopted the same practices and lost over 100 lbs.
Before I started making changes, I understood that this time had to be the real thing. I didn’t want any more pills! I realized that this time I had to change my thinking. I knew that this was going to have to be that lifestyle change that all the dieticians, nutritionists, and other health nuts tried to tell me I needed to make over the years. I knew that I couldn’t stop at the drive-through windows for ice cream anymore when I was feeling down. After I swore off fast food. I realized how programmed I was and how that was making it difficult to let go of the unhealthy habits. Every time I passed by a fast food restaurant, I could tell which one it was just by the smell. The smell would bring my favorite item on the menu to mind, then my stomach would growl. I had to start paying attention to little things like that when I got serious about my lifestyle change.
Along with avoiding fast food, I immediately started eating more fruit and veggies and drinking more water. I used to think about how good food is FIRST. Now, the only thing I’m concerned with is the health benefits of the food I put in my body. I only eat meat (some type of fish) when I crave it (a couple times a month).
One thing I want to add about eating:
Take it easy. I didn’t start out eating “occasionally some fish.” There have been days where I was craving something and ate it. BUT! What I realized by doing that is, “bad food” makes me sick to my stomach. The longer I ate healthily, when I cheated, it was just a reminder of why I decided to eat healthy in the first place.
My work out routine was very simple. I was always a runner, so I wanted to run again. However, it was hard exercising while carrying around 248 pounds. I did what I could at first. I wasn’t too hard on myself.
I started out walking for 20-30 minutes or until I got tired, which didn’t take long. I added 5 minutes to my walking time every week until I was walking for 60 minutes. After that, I would do 60 minutes of cardio every day. Instead of walking the entire time, I would run the last 5 minutes of my cardio. Every week, I took five minutes off my walking time and added it to my run time. I did that until I was running for 60 minutes.
I took me 2 years to lose 93 pounds and keep it off. Today, I weight 155 lbs. (no surgery) What got me here and kept me here is understanding that this isn’t JUST about losing weight. I decided to make a complete lifestyle change from inside out. Weight loss is just a product of making healthy choices. My ultimate goal today is optimal health and longevity, but for me to get to where I am today, I had FIRST to LOVE MYSELF.
I’m no professional (yet), but I know that encouragement can take you a long way. If you need real encouragement or tips from a real person, I’m here to tell you Keep up the good work!