Update June 2016 – We shared Zoe‘s story of losing over 120 pounds three years ago and we are happy to hear that she is still going strong. Her journey has not been perfect, but she did not let setbacks become permanent stopping points. She has also become a fitness coach helping to inspire and support others.
I shared my story with you a couple of years ago and wanted to do an update. Growing up, I was always self-conscious, whenever I walked into a room I would always look to see if there was another overweight person. I struggled with my weight, from being in Weight Watchers in the 6th grade to trying to hide the fact that I was doing Nutrisystem in high school. I was even on crash diets over the summer. If I lost weight, it would always come back because for ME they were “quick fixes”. I didn’t focus on making a lifestyle change at the time. Eventually, I just thought, “Well, I guess I’m destined to be this size for life.” However, I decided that I would give it one more try before I left for college. I figured if I could get started I would be fine once I lived on campus and had access to a gym and healthy options in the dining hall. I bought an at-home dance fitness program, changed my eating habits and it was the first time I actually lost weight and kept it off.
At college, I decided to stick to my fitness DVDs when I realized I had no idea what I was doing when I was in the gym. Being a student meant I was on a tight budget, but I knew the importance of making a lifestyle change so I had to make it work. I would do my best with the dining hall food, didn’t order out a lot and faithfully did my workouts in my dorm room. The weight continued to melt off and I was so happy!
I went home and continued to change my eating habits by learning to cook healthy and sticking with my at-home workouts. Living in the dorms every year did not make it easy, but I did my best to make healthy decisions. Two years later, I went from a size 24 at 287 pounds to a size 8/10 at 159 pounds! I even became a fitness coach to help others do the same.
After studying abroad for a year without being able to cook and a tough final semester with a terrible dining hall, I got a little off track. I didn’t gain back a lot of weight, just around 25 lbs, but I felt terrible! I felt like I let people down because I wasn’t eating clean anymore and barely getting in 3 workouts a week. I know that no one looked at me as a failure but I couldn’t help feeling that way. Even though I wanted to eat healthy, because I was in suck a funk I just kept eating junk. It took me a while, but eventually I said to myself “Zoe, it’s ok.” This is a journey for a reason. It’s not always fun and we have down times but we are not perfect we’re humans.
When we accept ourselves and love ourselves through every step of this journey it becomes easier. Don’t get discouraged if the scale goes up. Do not get discouraged if you see someone that has lost 100 pounds in 6 months and you feel like you’ve been stuck forever. Remember why you started and that the most important this is to be healthy! If you have fallen off track, all you have to do is start again. You did it before, so you can do it again. My biggest advice for anyone starting this journey is to find something that works for you and that you enjoy! If your friends and family aren’t on board, start joining Facebook groups and follow pages like Black Women Losing Weight so you can start to find the support you need to live a healthy lifestyle.
Sept 2013 – Today’s featured weight loss success story: College student Zoe lost 126 pounds by working out at home doing workout DVDs and eating clean. She is now full of self-confidence. Here is what she shared about her weight loss journey:
Hi, I’m 20 years old and a junior at UAlbany. My journey started in 2011. All my life I was overweight. In middle school my mom took me to Weight Watchers, but after I lost some weight I stopped going and gained it back. In high school I tried different programs but I always gained the weight back. At my highest weight I was 287 pounds.
Towards the end of my senior year I decided to buy Hip Hop Abs. I lost around 20 pounds and actually kept it off. So when I started college I knew there were healthy options available and wanted to change my diet and continue to work out. Eventually, I fell in love with TurboJam and along with clean eating and the weight fell off.
I don’t go to the gym I do all my workouts at home or in my dorm room. I usually do workout DVDs but I also go for walks, bike ride, and do instagram challenges. It’s been around 2 years of getting healthy and I’m down to 161 pounds and people who haven’t seen me since high school can’t believe it.
My motivation was that I wanted to be healthy. I was tired of not being able to do everything I wanted because of my weight. I was tired of feeling insecure in situations because I was the only overweight person in the room. After I made the decision to change my life I never looked back. When the weight started coming off I became more confident and that pushed me even more. I do have tough days but I always think about how good I’ll feel after I work out, how far I’ve come, and how blessed I am to have the ability to workout.