Transformation of the Day: Tonya lost 45 pounds. After years of failed attempts at releasing the weight, this Bahamian sista decided that she wanted to feel happy and healthy inside and out. Her faith, prepared meals and the love she received from her support system were all key to her success. Check out how she lost the weight.
What was your motivation?
I live in the Bahamas where unhealthy carbs and fried foods are a way of life, from the cradle to your early grave. However, I was never a chubby child or teen. I graduated high school at 140 pounds, but when I entered the workforce I slowly gained weight little by little over the years. 10 years later, I weighed 250 pounds at 5’8”. After many failed attempts at weight loss, I just gave up. I felt that I was beautiful on the outside so the weight didn’t matter, but I was not happy or healthy on the inside.
After a while, I just got tired of it all. I was tired of hearing “You’re so pretty for your size”. I was tired of knee pain. I was tired of not liking the way clothes looked on me and how I looked in pictures. I was tired of being tired. In August 2017, I spent a month in the U.K. and I lost 10lbs unexpectedly due to not being used to the food over there. When I came home, everyone complimented me on the weight loss and it motivated me to get started seriously.
What inspired you to keep going when you wanted to give up?
My faith in God has helped me through every other aspect of my life so this one was no different. My supportive and loving family and friends supported me during this journey (as they have done with my many, many, many, previous weight loss attempts). They never gave up on me, even when I bought yet another exercise DVD or machine that I never used. I was also inspired by the BWLW page and other weight loss success stories that I read on a daily basis. I also looked at old pictures of myself at the various sizes and made up my mind every morning that I will do it this time.
How did you change your eating habits?
I have a professional chef, Sara Knowles, who started a healthy meal prep company here in The Bahamas called Clean Eats 242. I utilized her services on a weekly basis and she was a blessing to me. Her recipes are similar to the Keto diet, low carb with high protein. She would create portion controlled, creative and tasty meals for my breakfast, lunch and dinner… delivered right to my doorstep. I stopped eating fast food, fried food, bread, chips and sweets. I also cut out sodas and juice. Now, I drink a gallon of water every day (which doesn’t leave much room for any other liquids). I allow myself one treat meal (not a cheat meal) at the end of every month. This has allowed my cravings to stay under control.
What did your workout routine look like? How often did you work out?
I began by walking with my mother 3 days per week. The first day, I could barely walk for 2 miles and thought I would faint. After 3 months, I ran a half marathon in 3.5 hours. After increasing my stamina from walking to running in about a month, I incorporated a group workout class for toning. I try to run 4-6 miles per day, 3-5 days per week. I invested in a treadmill for the second time in my life for when there is rainy weather, which happens often in The Bahamas. This took away all of the excuses that I created during my previously unsuccessful journeys. I plan to keep running and to continue to do half marathons.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
I started at 250 pounds and my current weight is 205 pounds. I plan on getting to 190 pounds.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started my journey unexpectedly in August 2017. I seriously committed in October 2017 and lost 45 pounds by May 2018.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. All of my previous weight loss attempts focused on exercise and doing my own version of “healthy eating” (which still included giant portions). Consistently eating clean in the right portion sizes and drinking a gallon of water a day has transformed my life. I’ve also learned that you won’t be 100% perfect 100% of the time. Coming to grips with the 80/20 rule has helped with my mental focus.
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
DO NOT do anything to lose weight that you cannot see yourself doing for the rest of your life! A juice fast is a fad. Get into the mindset of lifestyle changes. Also, this is not a race! I gained my weight over the course of 10+ years, so I had to realize that I was not going to lose it all in 3 months.
Do not compare yourself to others! We all love to look at success stories online as motivation, but make sure you do not get yourself into a negative mental space by comparing yourself to others and getting discouraged.