Another story of inspiration from someone just like you and me, someone who wanted to make a change and just did it! Darah Doubt and I attended school together in our younger years but more recently I have been watching her weight loss journey and it has been a great inspiration to my own. If you want to hear someone be honest and open about their struggles and successes, I promise, you won’t be disappointed by reading her interview below.
Like many others, I have struggled with my weight for a very long time. I wasn’t a heavy child and my weight was not a problem until about 12-13 years old. At first it was just “baby fat” and the fact that obesity ran through many generations on my father’s side, was a warning. But when you’re 200 pounds and in the 9th grade, you know it’s now a problem. My mom and I would often shop and look at big sizes and say that will never be us, but it’s all fun and games until your closet is filled with nothing but those sizes.
In my journey, I’ve always had people tell me how beautiful I was or how I didn’t need to be small to be beautiful, which is absolutely true. But unless you’ve been there, you truly don’t understand. People treat you different when you’re overweight. They often see it as a problem that you caused and can fix, unlike skin color, age, or sexual orientation. Even as I see my weight come down, I notice how many people want to “do lunch” or “link up” and it saddens me.
I am sharing my story and I hope to cause someone else to maybe shares theirs as well. Please be patient with me, weight is something I don’t usually talk about….
How did you get started on your healthy lifestyle change?
I started on my weight loss journey back in 2009-2010 during my freshman year at Lincoln University. When I first started there, they had a fitness class requirement for all students who were over a certain BMI. Now this was totally unfair not only because BMI is inaccurate for people like athletes (not me lol) but it’s also a form of discrimination. The class was later dissolved but I took it because I actually wanted and needed to. So after completing the class, I lost a total of 16 pounds in a semester which is really good and made a total of 30 pounds lost for the year and ended up somewhere around 209 Yay Me!! So fast forward through some life events, some poor eating habits, lack of exercise and I graduated in 2013 at around 240-250. I couldn’t believe I had gained so much weight. I tried losing some more but after more life changes events, there I was, 22, 4’10, and 265 pounds. On my 23rd birthday, I decided to talk to a nutritionist and my PCP about a healthy weight loss plan that I could implement and began my most recent, most successful and hardest journey yet.
What is your motivation?
Aside from wanting to look good, which is something most people won’t admit because they don’t want to sound vain, my motivation is to just have a better quality of life. It sounds cliché but it is true. Since losing weight I find joy in the smallest things like walking between poles and not having to turn sideways or getting on a plane and not having to get an extender belt. I also think about future things like fitting into a nice wedding dress and being able to play with my children. And while I never had any health issues related to my weight, that is not something I wanted to experience and I wanted to be proactive.
Do you follow a strict diet regime?
I have a very strict diet. The biggest part of my diet is protein intake because it helps me to stay full. I only eat chicken and fish, I eat lots and lots of Greek yogurt, eggs and cheese. I drink protein shakes as well which help with toning after exercising. I also eat fruits and veggies. I don’t eat any fried or breaded foods, sugar, bread, starch, candy, pop, butter, chips, or creamy dressings.
Do you follow a strict workout regime?
My workout consists of at least 45 minutes of cardio that makes me break out in a profuse sweat including treadmill, bike and elliptical. I then lift weights with emphasis on my glutes, abs, and thighs.
How long have you been on this journey?
I began my most recent and most successful and hardest journey on Friday September 12th, 2014, my 23rd birthday and the best gift I have ever given myself. I was put on a very strict diet and exercise plan and I actually gained 7 pounds before my weight started to go down. Frustrating right!
What would you say has been the hardest part?
The hardest part for me is portion control. What can I say? I love food lol. But controlling my portions and eating very small amounts of food has been more beneficial to me than exercising, I found that even on weeks where I missed the gym, I still lost weight because I ate small amounts and also ate very healthy choices. I also was a candy and Sprite fanatic which I miss sometimes but I tried to drink pop one time and it just didn’t taste the same or give me the same satisfaction.
What are some routines that you swear by?
Cardio is key when working out because it makes you sweat and raises heart rate. Greek yogurt and Tilapia are the best foods to eat besides cottage cheese.
Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those out there looking to get started or to get back on track?
Cliché but just do it. Stop thinking about, stop talking about it and just do it. That’s the hardest part. Once you start and make a conscious effort to make it a part of your lifestyle, it will become second nature. Certain things won’t even feel the same or taste the same. The best feeling is when you can try on something and say “it’s too big.” And do it for yourself, not for anyone else. That way whether you fail or succeed, it was up to you and you are held accountable.
How much progress have you made thus far?
My highest weight (December 18th, 2014) was 274.2 pounds, size 24 pants, 3x top, 44H bra size. Today, (July 13, 2015), I am 185.6 pounds, size 14 pants, Large top, 38H bra and loving it!
What was your goal? And how did you set it?
My first goal was to lose 100 pounds and I have lost 89 so far. My new goal is to be between 140 and 150 but also look a certain way in my clothes meaning no back fat, thigh rolls, or muffin top.
Is there any one thing or things that have helped to make the biggest impact whilst on this journey?
My family and friends are very supportive of me and they often joke with me about my weight loss. My mom jokingly calls me Honey Bunches of Oat because of my healthy diet and I love it. I also appreciate my boyfriend because he puts up with my constant stories, he celebrates every pound like it’s the first, and makes sure that I know he is in my corner no matter how much I weigh.
Is there anything else that you want to share?
When they say love yourself no matter what size you are, it’s really true. When you beat yourself up about being heavy or decisions you made, you hinder your progress. Once you realize that you only get one natural life to live, you learn that you deserve to be happy in it. I thank God every day for the progress that He has placed upon my journey because I could not do it without Him. I’ve never loved myself the way I do now and it’s not because I am smaller but I am truly proud of myself for setting a goal, making a plan, and sticking to it. There will also be critics who say things like “you want to dress sexy because you lost weight” or “you look better big” and those are the people to stay away from because they were never for you and will stunt your growth. And no matter what size you are remember that life is about choices and anything that you decide or don’t decide to do, it’s up to you and it’s all on you.
Honestly, anyone can make a change, you just have to be consistent and persistent, check out more pictures of Darah’s transformation below!
Do you know anyone who has an amazing transformation? Tell them to email me to be featured at firstname.lastname@example.org.