Dear Sista Friend,
Whew. Okay, this is about to be a real transparent and honest post. I was – and probably still am a little – nervous about sharing it but hopefully my journey helps someone out there!
I’ve struggled with my weight for years…so many years. Why? Because I LOVE food with allllllll my heart. Lol Give me all the fried chicken, french fries, pizza, lemonade, toast, queso, biscuits, tacos, ice cream. I was eating full racks of ribs in like middle school (it was nothin’ to a G lol). I was – and probably still am – actually known for how much I ate Smh. But because I was so young (and skipped breakfast most school days), my metabolism was my friend. People would always tell me, “It’s gonna catch up with you one day!” And sure enough, it caught up with me…and then some.
In undergrad I probably gained a lost weight two or three times. During my senior year I was running – like actual miles y’all – and working out five to six days per week. Eating around 1200 calories per day (absolutely miserable). I think I got down to about 147 pounds. When I began working full time and attending grad school (also full time!) working out was a struggle and meal prep definitely wasn’t happening. In the almost nonexistent spare time I did have I was trying to relax or have some kind of social life! Sure enough, the pounds started to creep up on me. Just like that I was in the 170s and asking myself, “Girl, how did we get here?” I began working out as much as I could but my diet still wasn’t what it should have been. At the beginning of May 2016 I was about 179.
Fast forward to August 2016, I went in for my yearly appointment and had to get on the scale. Lawd. I knew I had gained weight but I was NOT prepared for what the scale had to say. 199. One hundred and ninety nine pounds. HOW SWAY?! Somehow – well I know how – I’d gained 20 MORE pounds in three months. I was devastated. I sat there crying to my doctor like girl how could this happen to ME? She tried to reassure me. “It happens to all of us! You’ve had a lot going on with work and school. I gained weight when I was doing my residency.” I wasn’t trying to hear any of that.
After that appointment I reached out to my sista friend Renee and told her we had work to do! I signed up for the online/app portion of Weight Watchers (WW) and made small goals such as drinking at least 64oz of water or incorporating more fruit. I really liked WW because fruits and vegetables are ZERO points! The weight began to come off but ever so slowly. By October I’d lost about 10 pounds but then gained about 5 back after a weekend indulging in good eats with my family.
So here I was again, feeling like I was starting all over!
In December, my boyfriend and I said okay, we REALLY have to get it together…well after the holidays of course. However, I was still working out about four days per week. We really got serious after my birthday in January. I increased my workout days to at least five and only “cheated” on the weekends. I made the commitment to put myself first. Reading might not get done, dishes may not get washed, but skipping my workout? That wasn’t an option. I realized that when I worked out consistently I was a lot less stressed. It put me in a much better place mentally as well as physically.
By March I noticed a big difference but we still weren’t satisfied with our overall progress. So we decided to create a health challenge for the month of April. We invited friends to join us on the journey. I also increased my workouts to six days per week and changed my daily calorie goal on MyFitnessPal (add me!: deveanracquel). My starting weight on March 31st was 181.7. Two weeks later I was at 177.6! This was actually working.
This weight loss process feels different for me because it is different. Our five week health challenge has turned into a lifestyle change. I’ve discovered vegetables (which I’ve always strongly detested) that I actually like and meals that are healthy but still very tasty! I eat baked salmon, ground turkey stir fry (whole wheat pasta), spaghetti squash, sushi (brown rice most of the time), baked chicken, asparagus, cucumbers, rotisserie chicken, broccoli, bell peppers, yellow & zucchini squash, sweet potatoes and LOTS of fruit! I know I’m an emotional eater so I don’t keep tempting foods in the house. Once you find things you like, stick with them! My meals are almost the same every week but I like them and they taste good. It may seem boring to some but it works for Devean.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I will never eat fried food or sweets again. That’s just crazy! Lol But in moderation. Portion control. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy life – go get margaritas and apps with your sistafriends. But make sure you get back on your game after. Reframing your mentality about food and health is SO hard. Trust me. I was completely “deprived” of all my faves for five weeks and it suucckkeeddd. But seeing the results? SO worth it. However, it’s not just about how I look. It’s about how I FEEL. I have more energy and am less stressed. Dare I say my skin and curls are flourishing as well?!
It is vitally important to understand that everyone’s body is different. You’re probably not going to look like models in the magazines or the Instagram models even. You have to decide for yourself what is best for you. Nobody else can make that decision. It’s also detrimental to your mental health to strive for the illusion of the perfect body *as seen in the media* (because we all know plastic surgery, filters and photoshop is real!). Confidence, authenticity and true happiness comes when you accept and love yourself – [perceived] flaws and all.
During our five week health challenge I lost 8.7 lbs! As of today, I’ve lost 25+ pounds total and I’m so happy with not only my physical progress but my mental progress! I’ve decided to break up with the scale. Your progress won’t always come through on the scale (especially if you’re weight lifting/building muscle). Pay attention to how you feel, how you look and how your clothes are fitting. Progress pictures often say more than the scale ever could.
I still have so many goals to strive toward such as running my first 5K but I am enjoying the process one day at a time. I am no doctor, nutritionist or personal trainer. Therefore, what works for me may not work for you but I do hope that my story inspires someone struggling to get back at it.
Your Sista Friend,