Transformation of the Day: Tanisha lost over 100 pounds. As a college senior with a newborn, she faced significant challenges. She didn’t let anything stop her from graduating with honors and losing the weight. You may have seen this Alpha Kappa Alpha soror’s inspirational story in People Magazine’s recent “We Lost 100 Pounds” article. Check out her journey.
My name is Tanisha Washington and I am a single mother living in Austin, TX. I was always the big girl growing up in the south, due to poor eating habits and lack of nutritional education. I endured a significant amount of bullying and depression at a very young age. I knew I didn’t want to be the fat girl anymore, but I didn’t know how to lose the weight. During my senior year of high school, I obtained my first job and adopted improved eating habits. Once I lost 10 pounds, I became even more active in the evenings and on weekends.
Through these efforts, I was able to drop 45 pounds! I gained the confidence to be the person I had always dreamed of while I was in college. I was a beauty pageant queen, a cheerleader, and was initiated into the most illustrious organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. However, my life took an unexpected and unplanned turn three years into my degree program.
At the age 21, I found myself pregnant and abandoned. I was a first generation college senior with no plan for where I would be living or working to support my unborn child. I did not have a family who could support me or my child, so I knew I would to have to pull on every piece of strength that I could find within me to conquer the tribulations I faced.
I worked full time while taking 15 hours at school to graduate during the following spring semester. I attended all my doctor’s appointments alone, with no physical, emotional, or financial support from long distance family or my child’s absent father. My son, Liam, was due on December 4, 2013, during the week of finals. With the help of my college professors, I was able to take my exams early. I aced the semester with a 3.5 GPA and a week later, on December 10, 2013, I had my beautiful son.
As a new single mom with a newborn, it was difficult to adjust to the demands of a new life. God provided for me in ways I could never imagine! My sorority sisters would watch Liam for me while I attended class, and help me out when I needed time to study. With their love and support, I graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors in May of 2014! I was filled with joy and excitement knowing that I was making steps in the right direction to give Liam a better life.
Although, I was thrilled with the excitement of graduating and receiving my first job offer, I still couldn’t look at my body in the mirror. Through the stress I endured while I was pregnant, I gained 50 pounds and was extremely out of shape. When looked in my infant’s big brown eyes and knew I had to get healthy for him.
I cleaned up my eating habits and remained consistent and determined. No matter how hard things got, I never gave up. I cut out junk food and sugar. I stuck to a clean diet with lean proteins (chicken, turkey, and fish), healthy fats (avocados, nuts), leafy vegetables, and high fiber carbs (whole grain breads, brown rice, red/sweet potatoes). I would substitute a lot of my carbs for healthier options. (Examples: spaghetti squash instead of pasta noodles, cauliflower mashed potatoes instead of traditional mashed potatoes etc.) I found that when I consumed large amounts of veggies and protein, I had a lot more energy throughout the day.
When I first began my weight loss journey, I did not work out besides walking everyday. I lost my first 45 pounds by just focusing on my eating habits, because nutrition is key when it comes to weight loss. As the weight began falling off, I started going to gym and began working harder than ever to tone and shape my body. I focused on strength training and high intensity interval training for cardio. I would workout 3-5 times a week for about 45 minutes to an hour.
After a year, I had dropped over 100 pounds! I was a whole new Tanisha, with a refreshing outlook on life. In May of 2015, I began a MBA program that allowed me to continue to work full-time to support my son. In December of 2016, I graduated with my Masters of Business Administration with a 3.5 GPA!
Recently, my testimony was featured in the “We Lost 100 Pounds” issue of PEOPLE Magazine. I am living to proof to women all over the world that you can rise above any situation life throws at you. With faith and determination, anything is possible. I now mentor girls and women in situations similar to mine and provide motivation to those in need of strength. I’ve documented my journey and the habits that have helped me change my life so that I can provide it as a resource for anyone in need.
My starting weight was 276 pounds. I’m 5’8″ and I currently weigh 173 pounds with about 15.5% body fat. The biggest piece of advice I have for anyone beginning a new fitness journey would be to remain consistent. Weight loss is a mind game, but anyone can achieve their goals with motivation and consistency. Remember, you did not gain the weight overnight so you’re not going to lose it overnight. Just stay focused and motivated. Put away the scale. It’s not the best measure of progress and can become an obsession. Take pictures and compare them instead to gauge your progress. I maintained my motivation by watching success stories on YouTube. I have since created my own channel, sharing tips and helpful weight loss information. It’s your turn to get happy & healthy!
Updated Instagram: @nishafitness_
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