Obesity is one of the biggest and most common diseases of this generation. We often ignore our health and give value to our taste buds or simply our comfort which leads us to eat packaged junk food while working on our laptop or watching tv sitting on our couch. Poor eating habits and unwillingness to work out causes us to gain unwanted weight. Being overweight not only makes us look ugly but also gives birth to many health risks. That’s why obesity in itself is regarded as a disease. Women particularly want to look young and slim forever to maintain their beauty. But after being obese, many people lose all hope in life getting back to their previous shape. It requires great determination and will power to turn your life around and become from fat to fab! Here’s one such story by Jess Le Roux who became slim and fit again after being obese due to her will power. Jess has also given some valuable practical tips to all of us for being in shape. Read her inspiring post now!
Every Story Has a Beginning
I remember so clearly around 6 years of age being asked by a family member what I wanted to be when I grew up. My response was “a bodybuilder” while doing bicep curls with 2 unopened food tins from my mother’s pantry.
Now, although I no longer aspire to be a bodybuilder per se, it amazes me how little Jess knew in her heart what she really loved and what she really wanted out of life…to be fit and healthy.
As we grow up, we tend to lose that childhood self-confidence and let others dictate our paths. Somewhere along the line, I had lost touch with what really made me happy and with that, the extra weight started to pile on.
By my 21st birthday, I weighed a very heavy 194 pounds (about 86 kilograms) for someone only 5.3 feet (164 cm) tall. That extra weight led to further insecurities, anxiety ,and depression and unfortunately a very unhealthy relationship with food that I still need to keep in check to this day.
I knew I was missing out on the life I wanted for myself and out of sheer frustration, I woke up one morning and realized that I was the only person getting in my way of achieving what I wanted to achieve.
Over the course of 18 months, I lost 57 pounds. Now I know this doesn’t sound a lot compared to many transformation stories out there but for my frame it was. My goal was to also lose the weight in a way that was healthy for me and gave my body enough time to adjust to the new ‘normal’ so that there was less chance of putting it all back on at a later stage.
I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to keep the majority of that weight off for the past 10 years.
Here’s a before and after picture of myself from 2009-2010 that I’ve rarely ever shown anyone!
What I Did to Lose the Weight
Many people who witnessed my weight-loss transformation have asked how I did it. Whenever I share my experience I always add that every person is different and it really is about trial and error until you find something that suits your body and your lifestyle.
Here are a few tips that I believe everyone should follow through and which had a major impact on my weight-loss:
Tip 1: Drink Enough Water
I’ve never really enjoyed the taste of plain still water so I always drank less than what I should have. To combat that, I would add fruit to my water like lemon and strawberries to add some natural flavor (none of the artificial sweeteners).
Tip 2: Increase Your Daily Physical Activity
I got my body moving more than I had previously (which, to be honest, was virtually nothing while I was obese).
This doesn’t have to be extreme- go for 20 minute walks around the neighborhood and take that time to do some self-reflection and breathe in some fresh air, appreciating the beauty of nature around you!
I eventually increased my exercise to 3-4 sessions of high-intensity cardio for 30-40 minutes at a time.
Tip 3: Reduce Your Food Portions
Ever heard the saying that your eyes are bigger than your stomach? Research shows that our modern-day dinner plates are way too large for what we should be consuming which correlates with the increase of obesity statistics over the past decade.
I cut my portions in half initially without even counting my calories. Today, however, I count my daily calorie intake on a free app called MyFitnessPal which syncs to my Android phone and my Fitbit. I input the food I consume for the day as well as the calories burnt from my exercise and it tells me whether I have gone over my goal, met my goal or am under my goal in which case I should increase my calories for the day.
The app also helps you to determine how many calories you should consume for your age, height, and weight as well as the goal that you have given yourself i.e. to lose 8 pounds every month. I strongly advise that you go have a look at it.
Tip 4: Choose a Meal Plan That is Healthy, Yummy and Sustainable
I stay away from processed foods and refined sugars. I don’t personally follow a strict keto diet although I do maintain a lower carb intake which assists my weight-loss and I generally just feel better with low-carb.
I don’t drink tea or coffee with any sugars. I may add some organic honey to my tea at night but that’s the only sweetener I add.
To keep myself sane, I do have a cheat meal (not a cheat day) once a week. It’s something that keeps me motivated and also makes me feel that I’m not missing out on the simple pleasures of life!
Tip 5: Ditch the Mentality of “It’s All or Nothing”
I used to operate like this and I know a lot of people still do- the attitude that you have to be 100% perfect with your eating and exercising otherwise you may as well do nothing at all.
That mentality is seriously damaging and reinforces a failure mentality and negative self-talk. I now operate on a “do the best you can do today” mentality. Life is not perfect so you can’t expect your diet and exercise regime to be either.
Ultimately, you need to learn to love yourself enough to not bash yourself down when you’ve fallen off the wagon. Get up and keep going…think big picture.
I used a mental health journal and planner through the years to journal my feelings towards food and to track my habits as well. It’s now a resource that I provide freely on my blog together with many other free digital printable to help assist others with their health.
Helping Others Through My Past Experience
I recently started a blog called Girl Phat which is dedicated to healthy recipes, fitness, self-care and pretty printable that encourage a balanced and active lifestyle. I love working with companies that align with my healthy eating and wellness philosophies.
I currently live in Sunny Cape Town, South Africa, with my husband and three fur babies, working for the Western Cape Department of Health while being a serial blogger/digital entrepreneur at night and over weekends!
Nothing makes me happier than when I am able to help someone move a little closer to their health and wellness goals!
Connect with Jess