Transformation of the Day: UniQue lost over 170 pounds with a proven weight loss plan, exercise and lots of support and accountability. For years, she’d been binge eating, medicating her emotions with food and living in denial. Now, she is committed to living a healthy lifestyle and helping others to lose the pounds. Check out what she shared with us about the actions she took to change her life.
My name is UniQue W. In 2012, I started my journey in October 2010 and I lost 170+ pounds in 13 months, all natural. I was misdiagnosed as pre-diabetic and that’s when I realized it was time to take my life back. I committed to improving my health and fitness by living a healthy lifestyle consisting of healthy eating, and daily physical activity.
How did I allow myself to get to a whopping 300 plus pounds after losing 150 pounds five years prior? I’ll tell you how, through depression, anger, and bitterness. I was emotionally attached to food. I sought out refuge in fast food and chocolate. It provided a sense of comfort when all else failed. I didn’t realize that my negative outlook on life or just my skewed perception of life held me in captivity. I’ve worked so hard for everything I have, yet I couldn’t understand why I was borderline unemployed and, at one point in my life, homeless sleeping in a shelter or at rest stops in my car.
I felt a sense of entitlement; as if life owed me something more than what it owed the next person. I didn’t realize that this negative thinking perpetuated a vicious cycle that left me dependent on food. It became the metric for measuring my self-worth. The strategy it took to hide my addiction and commitment to binge eating was uncanny. There were mornings I would enter a restaurant with a plan to hide my addiction from others and yet somehow “trick” myself into believing my eating wasn’t any different from anyone else. I told myself that my weight was a result of life’s many burdens placed upon me. Boy, was I fooled!
I placed my order. “Hi can I have your egg, bacon and biscuit meal with hash browns.” “Anything else ma’am?”, said the waitress. Motioning my eyes to my mobile phone, I said, “Yes, my friend would like a French toast bagel with strawberry cream cheese and a fruit cup. Please put them in separate bags.”
The sad thing about what just transpired was that both that meals were for me! I ate the first meal at the restaurant and planned to take the “safe” meal to the office to eat in front of my cohorts. No one could understand why I was so overweight. The façade I created was not only effective but detrimental to my well being. Sure, I lost the weight before; however, I failed to learn the HEALTHY approach to weight loss. I starved myself, took over the counter appetite suppressants, water pills, fat burners, tried the low-carb diet, no meat diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Lemonade Diet… you name it, I tried it.
This disturbing behavior commenced at the tender age of 14. I hid behind laughter, jokes and my smile. No one was aware of the pain, anguish and confusion I felt at such a young age. My affinity for food was a direct reaction to my biological mother abandoning me at birth. I wasn’t able to make a direct correlation between the two until recently. In retrospect, I discovered that the abandonment affected me greatly, more than I realized. Relationships, whether intimate, family or friendships, were hard to endure. The one between my father and me was that of an emotionally abusive roller coaster.
Fast forward. I was sitting in my doctor’s office. I’d switched insurance; therefore she was a new doctor. I was in her office for my routine woman’s check up. She was vaguely going over my blood test results conducted weeks ago.
“Your test results came back that you are pre-diabetic.”
“What! How can that be? I have always been healthy.”
“Why are you so surprised? You are vastly overweight.”
I remember thinking how insensitive, cold and rude her comment and tone were. She refused to go into details regarding my results until I scheduled a follow up with her office. I stormed away from her office into my car, sat and cried. How could I do this to myself? I thought. Determined not to feel defeated, I took matters into my own hands. I purchased a Blood Glucose Test Strips home kit and started conducting home exams. I knew I needed a second opinion! I called another doctor and scheduled an appointment.
“Ms. Webster you are all set for your appointment. Remember to abstain from eating 8 hours before the test tomorrow. See you soon.”
Aha! I thought! The last blood test I took, I remember eating an hour before the test. A king size chocolate bar to be exact! I wasn’t sure the effects it had on the test, so I didn’t bother mentioning it to the first doctor. I remember thinking what a long exhausting two weeks waiting for the results. What would I do if I had Diabetes? What would my life look like? Even though the results of my home kit were negative, I wasn’t convinced I was in the clear. Then I received the call.
“Hi Ms. Webster, your results came back normal. However, the doctor would like to speak with you about your Vitamin D.”
Frantically responding, “Really? I’m cleared? Seriously? How do you know? Are you sure?”
“Yes, we can provide you with a copy of your results when you come in.”
At that moment I felt a sense of relief! So, what’s next I thought? I was roaming the Internet and a picture of Oscar award winning actress Jennifer Hudson popped on my screen. It was a hyperlink to her Weight Watchers’ video. I thought this couldn’t be. She had just experienced serious adversity with the death of her mother, brother and nephew. How could she find time to worry about losing weight? She looked so happy and rejuvenated. After reading her story, I became instantly inspired! “I must take my life back!!!” I lamented! But how? I’ve tried every “trick” in the book. Feeling a little discouraged, I called Weight Watchers’ customer service and remembered asking the rep so many questions. However it was the answer to one question in particular that piqued my interest. “How are you different from the rest?” I quizzed the rep. “We aren’t a diet.” He responded confidently.
He was right! I could eat what I enjoyed and still lose weight. The first couple of weeks the weight was falling off. I managed to eat candy, pizza and other “unhealthy” food and lose weight as long as I stayed within my Points Value. I realized I wasn’t improving my health much. It wasn’t until my WW Leader conducted a session about making healthy choices in our food intake. She showed the class a chart that compared a full course meal to a buttery croissant. Same point value but the full course meal had more nutritious food. That class piqued my curiosity for improving my health. I realized I had to break this vicious cycle of viewing food as my abusive spouse. One I loved but hated vehemently at the same time. I was misinformed all these years. During this pivotal moment in my life I was at a crossroad. It was time to deal with the demons of my past that haunted me; that held me back, and isolated me from living and enjoying my life.
Week after week I started making healthier decisions in my diet. I went from consuming a medium pizza for lunch to cooking baked tilapia, steamed broccoli and brown rice. I went from gorging myself with second and third helpings to eating the serving size, weighing my food and measuring out my portions. I took pride in my health. I started incorporating exercise into my daily routine. No longer did I make excuses for not wanting to exercise. I started with just 15 minutes on the Elliptical to challenging myself weekly. Currently, I exercise daily. My routines include jogging, hiking, brisk walking, using the Arc Trainer, step aerobics and weight training. I average about 18,000 -20,000 steps a day, with a combination of two of the exercises listed above. I try to remain as active as possible.
I joined Weight Watchers online challenges to keep myself motivated. I joined other message boards and became completely involved in improving my health and wellness. I researched, studied and became thrilled at my results! I mean after all these years of abusing my body, I finally discovered the secret to weight loss! And that was, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!
Having lost 170 pounds, standing a proud six feet tall, I reached a “happy” place in my life. I’ve never been as committed to improving my life as I am now. Being able to celebrate the good, understand the bad and find ways to embrace the challenges of life is paramount. I’ve severed ties with emotional binge eating. I am healing from my past struggles and continue to triumph adversity. One thing is certain, I’ve not only gained a sense of self-worth but I’ve acquired a strong commitment to helping others in their struggle! It motivates me to see others take control of their lives! “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
This weight loss journey not only encouraged me to love myself, but it also inspired me to share my journey with others to hopefully motivate and be an resource for encouragement. I am a certified Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist.