Transformation of the Day: Venita lost 79 pounds with healthy eating habits, exercise, and determination. She changed her lifestyle, transformed her mindset, and claimed victory over emotional eating, physical injuries, and the trauma of sexual abuse. This woman is a true overcomer.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
I was motivated to get healthy because I didn’t like how I felt. I didn’t like how my boyfriend at the time had to tie my shoes, zip my dress, or help me up the stairs. I didn’t like how my stomach protruded, and I couldn’t see my feet. I also hated the way I looked in my clothes. I allowed myself to get into a size 22. I felt full all the time and had all kinds of body pains in my back, legs, and ankles.
I was inspired not to give up every time my boyfriend had to help me. I felt disabled.
How did you change your eating habits?
Before I started this journey, my boyfriend (We got married in 2019, so he’s my husband now.) and I would eat out almost every day. I am a cook, so we ate my food too but not often. On Thursdays, it was TGI Fridays, Hibachi restaurants, or some type of Chinese food. Saturday would be Italian Fiesta pizza. On Sundays, we would go to Breakfast Buffets. My favorite was (and still is, lol) the Original House of Pancakes. During the week, he would bring me Chef Luciano or Chick-fil-A. Name a restaurant, and we’ve been to it… in and out of Chicago. Our relationship was based around eating. Of course, he’s skinny/fat, lol. Me, I kept getting bigger and bigger and more miserable.
To answer your question, I ate everything except pork and sometimes beef.
Now, I eat none of the above, with one exception. I still go to the Original House of Pancakes and have Pumpkin Pancakes when they are in season. I meal prep weekly, eating lean protein and LOTS of vegetables. I also do a lot of juicing, and I snack on popcorn. My food is correctly portioned. I have substituted foods I enjoyed, like pizza, for healthier options. When I do eat pizza, I eat cauliflower pizza that I make from home.
What did your workout routine consist of? How often did you work out?
I joined a gym here in Chicago, 360Mind, Body, Soul. They have yearly challenges that have helped me adopt a healthy lifestyle. I’ve had phenomenal coaches who have taught me how to exercise, eat, and have mental fitness. 360Mind Body Soul saved my life.
My workout routine consisted of two hours of exercise every morning from 5 am to 7 am, Monday through Friday. I walk/run on most Saturdays. During my workouts, I had to do burpees and planks (I hate them both) at that time. I also did mountain climbers and LOTS of Cardio. The list of exercises I had to do is long. I was determined to get into shape. I didn’t quit on myself… not this time.
I fell in love with Cycling. I remember when I 1st tried to Cycle. I’d never been on a bike that went that fast. It scared me, and I promised myself I would never get on anything that moves that fast if I have to use my legs. Now I own a Cycle Bike and ride at least three times a week for about 45 minutes. I LOVE IT!
Now I am strength training with my Personal Trainer, Coach Fritz with Powertrain. When I started with him in May 2020, I had two damaged shoulders. He worked with me and still is training me. Both of my arms are healing. The weight I carried for so long damaged those areas on my body.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started this journey on my own in 2015 and lost 40 pounds. In a year, I gained it all back and then some. I started again in September 2018, and I am still at it. I will not quit on me EVER again. It took 2 1/2 years to transform into who I am today.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 268.9 pounds. I got down to 186.3 by June 2020. My current weight is 190 pounds. I’ve gained 4 pounds since June 2020. I have managed to keep my weight between 190 to 194.
Yes, I am still striving to lose more weight. I want to get down to 170. I’ve learned to live in maintenance, and sometimes I hit a plateau. It seems like the more I lose, the harder it gets to lose.
My life is so different now. I am working on my Personal Training Certification. I have been coaching two women, and they both have lost. One of them has lost 30 pounds in 2 months. I am so proud that I’m helping others to get healthy and stay healthy. Words can’t explain how different I feel and look.
What is your height?
I am 5.1 and a half. Lol! Yes, give me my half. I used to be 5 feet, 2 and a half inches tall. I had a cervical herniated disc that slipped from my vertebrate. I had to have surgery in 2007. My left arm was delayed impaired, and I couldn’t use it at all.
As time went by, the injury caused me to have Degenerative Disc Disease. My spine is bending, and I am getting shorter. However, this won’t stop me from pushing to get smaller and stronger. Coach Fritz got me pumping 20lbs weights now. I can hold a plank for almost 5 minutes, and I can do at least 25 burpees without stopping.
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
No, I NEVER got any weight loss surgery. It was hard work and dedication.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I’ve learned to identify with my WHY: “To Be The Best Version of Me, So That I Can Help Others.”
I will not ever give up on myself, and I will teach people how to treat me. I’ve learned to eat for fuel and not for emotion. I was an emotional eater. I went through a lot when I was young, from being raped by my father to dealing with rejection, abandonment, and broken relationships. I AM NOT THE VICTIM ANYMORE. Food is not my BEST Friend anymore.
What advice would you like to share with women who want to lose weight?
It’s not easy, but you have to start eating healthy and exercising. Find accountability partners who care about you. Find one who is going to be stern with you. Wanting to lose weight does not start with just going to the gym. It begins in the mind. When your mind is fat and overweight, you can lose weight, but you will gain it back (sometimes as fast as you lost it).
You have to address WHY you are overweight, and what is hindering your start. You also have to examine your relationship. My now husband isn’t my enabler. Our marriage isn’t built around eating anymore. Yes, we are still trying to figure out how to socialize without food being the center of attention. Yes, it’s an even bigger challenge thanks to COVID-19.
Regardless of the challenge, I put myself 1st EVERY DAY! I pray, read my scriptures, meditate, write in my journal, and exercise before doing anything else. I’ve even got my husband cutting up my veggies, making my water, and keeping our basement/gym clean. He doesn’t buy trigger foods anymore. Talk about a LIFE Change!
My Beautiful Black Sisters, Keep on keeping on and never give up on You! You deserve to be healthy, Mind, Body, and Soul!