Transformation of the Day: Yakila lost 150 pounds with healthy eating habits, exercise, and determination. She has endured many challenges during her journey, including divorce and the passing of her beloved mother in March. She is a mom of four, a wife, a full-time employee, and a student working on her Master’s degree. Despite being very busy, she has worked hard and made health a priority.
Back in 2015, when I first shared my story with BWLW (after losing 80 pounds), I was married with two children and working all the time. Shortly after that article came out, I ended up divorced and moved back home. Life happened.
My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer and my mother with leukemia. Yes, it happened at the same time. My life was all doctor’s appointments and fast food. I lost track of myself because I had to keep track of everyone else. At the time, I was responsible for two small kids, my grandparents, and my mother.
I finally met someone two years after my divorce and fell in love again. I get pregnant, so now I’m pregnant, taking care of everyone, and emotionally eating every single day. I gave birth to a beautiful daughter and then got pregnant again nine months later. So at this point, I’m in pain all the time. I had to sit down just to cook and shower. After I had the baby, I knew I was going to have to work my butt off to get the weight off again.
On his death bed, my grandfather made me promise to lose weight. He said our family was dying off because we’re so unhealthy. He told me not to wait and to start as soon as possible. I lost my grandfather, and my grandmother passed away 40 days later. I stayed strong, buried them both, and kept my promise. I use that promise as my motivation every day.
Eating Habits: After I had my son in February 2019, I was off to a good start. I made healthy choices and stopped eating large portions. I cut out all sugar, carbs, sodas, alcohol, and processed foods. It has been hard, but I never gave up.
I encourage my friends, and I’ve joined health groups like N.E.M. (No Excuse Moms) and Black Women Losing Weight. I also share recipes, from vegan to low carb.
Exercise: Before quarantine, I was doing exactly what I do now. I’ve learned that gyms are overrated, and they are a distraction for me. I figured if I wanted to work out, I could do it anywhere. I walk a mile five days a week and take a good hike on Saturdays. If it’s raining (I live in Washington state it rains all the time), I look up free workouts on Xfinity.
I’m a mother of four, a wife, a full-time employee, and getting my Master’s. I had to find time to save my life. My starting weight was 366 pounds, and my current weight is 216 pounds. I’m 5’7″.
I lost my mother two days before my birthday, on March 27, 2020. I have been battling feelings of loss because I was always an emotional eater. Now, I meditate, walk a mile at least five days a week, do 10-minute cardio workouts with my kids during quarantine, and make healthy food with my family. We drink smoothies together. I bake cookies using bananas and oats and dark chocolate. I eat lots of protein, veggies, and seafood (fish and crab).
The biggest lessons I’ve learned so far;
1) Never give up.
2) Don’t compare myself to others.
I always let the number on the scale bother me. I would check my progress almost every day. I learned the hard way it doesn’t work like that. I forgot about the scale and just did the work! Every day, I just made good choices. If I made a bad one, I didn’t beat myself up. I just started over right there.
I’d get discouraged when I saw other people losing weight, and I was not. I had to realize that everyone loses weight differently and find out what worked for me.
My advice is never to give up on your health. This journey is a lifestyle change. I know my family is watching me, and they are so proud. I finish Master’s degree in November 2020. My goal is to be healthy and happy as I walk across the stage and grab my diploma.