Making the decision to lose weight is tough and only one person can make that decision for you, and that’s you!

In May of 2010, I graduated from college and I was on my way to join AmeriCorps in October. At that time I weighed a total of 240 pounds. Bold and proud– I never let my weight be a deterrent for my self confidence. I had no problem with dating or wearing sexy clothing. In fact I was more comfortable wearing clingy clothing than I am now. In the south we are taught that bigger is better and more beautiful. I left Mississippi with the notion that everyone else in the world thought the same thing. I was sadly mistaken when I returned home to Maryland to find that my weight would soon be life threatening.

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1097199At 240 pounds I didn’t feel that I weighed as much as professional football player. I have always had large breasts, hips, and bottom. Then I had to add the love handles and belly that I accrued over my four years in college. One day during my summer vacation I decided to take a walk on a nice day. While talking I noticed that I was quickly out of breath and had only been walking for a less than 10 minutes. I was completely shocked because I had always been an active person. This lead me to think, “How did I allow myself to get this bad?”

I had to do something about this and I did!

About a month later I went out and bought my first pair of running sneakers and each day I would start out walking a mile. No matter how long it took or how hot it was, I made sure that I walked that same route until I did it without getting winded. Before the summer was over I was able to walk that same route without losing my breath within 10 minutes. This mini accomplishment felt really good, at that moment I decided that I was going to make this a major part of my life. Little did I know that was going to happen one way or another.

As I arrived in California for my AmeriCorps year I was informed that physical training at least 3 days a week was required for all corp members. In the beginning of my service year I started out in 17min/mile running group. To some that may be a disappointment but to me that was just another mini accomplishment to add to my list. With the support of my teammates I started to work out six days a week, exceeding the required minimum. I started learning about yoga, kick boxing, Pilate’s and even P90X. I got to a point where exercising wasn’t about just losing weight, it was about being happy. I began to not only enjoy working out but crave it. By the end of my service year in AmeriCorps I lost a total of 40lbs, putting me at my 200 pound mark. I also joined the 10 minute/mile running group. Making it to this point was completely unbelievable to me. I didn’t realize that I was capable of making such a drastic change to my body and my life. I felt amazing and like I could take on anything life threw at me.

That was until a year later and 35 more pounds seemed to disappear from my body and I didn’t recognize the woman standing in the mirror.

Last summer I went through a rough period of not mentally accepting my new body. I was so comfortable being a plus size girl that I didn’t allow myself to become comfortable with my new body. I was still wearing clothes that were too big and didn’t feel secure enough in myself to shop for new clothes. This new body was foreign to me. Although family and friends who witnessed this major transformation complimented me on my new look, I still struggled to accept it.

In my mind I had to start all over again. I had to rebuild the confidence that shed away with the pounds that I lost. It took some time but through constant personal reassurance and new clothes I am now able to accept the woman that I see looking back at me in the mirror.

Now at 165 pounds, 75 pounds lighter, my confidence level is higher and I feel great everyday knowing that I did it all on my own. No diets, fat burning meal suppressant pills, expensive personal trainers or surgeries can claim credit for what has happened to my body. When I tell people about my weight loss success they always ask for my secret. My response is always, “There is no secret! Just faith, patience, portion control and a good pair of sneakers!”

I lost weight naturally and I believe you can too.

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