My weight loss journey has been off and on since I was a freshman in college realizing that I was “fat” when I was actually fine. And, like some of you, I would have success with losing 10, 20, or 30 or so pounds, but I’d gain it all back again. Then I’d do nothing for another year or decade. It wasn’t until summer of 2014 when I put a stake in the ground and rededicated myself to going all the way through the process this time.

I’ve been asked where my motivation came from. Looking back, I can see that it was birthed out of a very broken place. I felt so hopeless in some of the areas of my life. Through Godly counsel from sister friends (and also listening to inspirational teachings), I decided that I would be more compassionate with myself and treat me as if I were my own best friend. I would be good to me in every way. That included the way I talked to myself about myself and the way that I cared for my body.

Before and after, weight loss, black women losing weight
Before and after

                                                                               Height: 5’6

                                                                 Starting weight: 246 pounds
Current weight: 152 pounds
Goal weight: 145-150 pounds

I started with just walking. This was good for my body and my soul because I would use that time to pray and plan. After a couple of months of walking, I noticed some ladies who were working out together in the park. I stopped to talk to them and learned that they had been training together for a while. I got the meet-up information from their trainer and promised to follow-up about joining them. About a month or so later I actually did follow up, and I began to work out with the group 3 times a week. I started to really enjoy group training. Also, before this, I did not understand the benefits of strength training which were a part of these workouts. Now, my body was beginning to transform beyond weight loss as I was gaining endurance AND muscle! I worked out with that group throughout the fall and by the end of the year I was down 25 pounds.

Black women losing weight, before and after
Fit and healthy in her 40’s

At the start of 2015, I discovered a fitness boutique that specialized in weight training for women, Dre’s Diesel Dome (D3)http://d3bootcamp.com/.  I came to D3 looking to take my body beyond where I could transform it on my own. I was struggling to break the 200 pound mark. Well, after only a month at D3, I had lost 13 pounds and was well under 200 pounds for the first time in over a decade! What I discovered was that the training, nutritional education, and sisterhood at D3 is what I had been missing. It would be these things that would help to radically transform my understanding of fitness, and also help others to begin or renew their own fitness journey.

Before and after, Black women losing weight
Before and after, Black woman getting fit & healthy

Before I was dedicated to the fit life, my diet was dominated by fast foods, junk foods, processed foods (stuff out of a bag, box, or can), and occasionally even so called healthy foods which were actually far from it. Those alleged healthy foods were high in sodium and/or sugars and very low in quality protein. When I started to eat less of the mess, I would have some success. That was just because I wasn’t eating enough. However, I would sabotage those crazy efforts by overeating on the weekends and trying to start over again every Monday.

Through following weight blogs and success stories, I learned about clean eating, so I did some Google research on it.  I realized that eating clean needed to be my next step if I wanted to get stronger inside and out. I chose more whole foods that I prepared at home (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, chicken breast, etc. that has not been processed to death).  I chose to keep foods as close to their natural form as possible, basically without all the additives and preservatives. That’s when I started seeing changes that became lasting.  I lost more weight in my first 3 months of clean eating and working out than I had in the entire time with poor eating and working out! It’s true that you can’t outrun a bad diet.

Before and after
Motivation and Inspiration

My advice for others who want to lose weight is to start with cultivating a greater love for yourself first. When you love someone, you want to give them your absolute best. The same goes for ownselves. When we love ourselves tremendously, we will also be willing to be patient and compassionate with ourselves throughout the process. I would also encourage anyone who wants to lose weight to have a personal declaration, mantra, or scripture for daily motivation. Mine is 1 Corinthians 9:27 (MSG Version) – “I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”

I had been heavy for over 20 years. Overweight in my 20’s, obese in my 30’s, now I’m getting fit in my 40s! Diva, you have what it takes to do this once and for all! Start now, not on Monday…that’s a trick.

One more thing: be merciful and compassionate towards yourself along the way. We will get there together!

Instagram: @Quekayjay

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Blog: www.quekayjay.com

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