What was your greatest motivation to lose weight?
Actually, I did not have any real motivation because in my eyes, I thought I was so sexy...so fine...so everything but I had a reality check in March 2010 and it set me in a direction I have never been before. I went to the doctor for a sinus infection except I made the grand mistake of going to Urgent Care and not my regular doctor. The doctor there saw me and he said he would treat me for my sinus infection but he told me the real reason I was there was because I was a "HOT MESS" and that I was killing myself with my weight. Well with me and my "attitude", I was ready to slap this doctor. I should mention that this was my first time ever meeting him. The doctor states that I was probably at risk for many diseases and he said he would do my blood work just to make sure. Sure he was....turns out I was pre-diabetic and that alone turned me into a new person wanting to be around this earth long to be a mother to children I haven't bore yet...wife to a husband I do not have yet, etc..
I never tried any "programs" before. In previous years, I was interested in weight loss surgeries like lap band and the gastric bypass but decided I did not want to go under the knife no matter how minimally evasive the methods claim to be. I did however work out in the past but I had not changed my way of eating. I would go to water aerobics but drive to KFC when it was over and order a 10 piece of wings. All the sweat of working out, all to let it go down the drain for some measly, greasy-filled chicken wings.
How did you choose the weight loss program that worked for you?
I really did not choose a weight loss program. My doctor firmly insisted on me seeing his nutritionist which I did. I only saw her for one hour but in that one hour, I faced reality of what I was really doing to myself. The nutritionist asked me what I ate on a daily basis and listening to myself say sausage biscuit with fried potatoes, 3 slices of pizza, Big Macs and fries did not sound good. The nutritionist recommended that I eat 2500 calories, 225 carbs and 50 grams of fat a day and exercise 5 hours a week. On the nutritional level, I decided that I would slice those numbers and I decided to do 1200-1500 calories a day, 20-40 grams of fat and 140-180 carbs daily. This was severe as I was normally consuming approximately 4,000+ calories a day. I was the "Drive-Thru Diva" and I knew I had to quit that toxic behavior. The first month of doing this, I lost 14 pounds. That was enough to convince me that whatever I was doing was obviously working.
What workout/exercise regimen do you do?
In the beginning, I walked a lot. I actually started my lifestyle change right before going out of the country on a business trip that lasted about three weeks. Everyone knows it's hard to lose weight when you are traveling but I was dedicated to being consistent. After I returned to the United States, a coworker mentioned that I should try Zumba. I did Zumba for approximately one month and the Zumba instructor asked the class if we would like to try kickboxing....best decision ever. I left Zumba and began doing kickboxing. As I lost more weight, I started doing 5K walks. I even started doing salsa dancing which is something I am passionate about these days. As of two weeks ago, I have enrolled in a Toning Up Boot Camp which I am hoping to give me some definition in my arms and legs.
Overall, how much weight did you lose?
At this point, I am at the 114 pound lost. I started this journey in April 2010 and have been fairly consistent. I have about 45 to 50 pounds to go and I will move into the maintenance mode.
What were some of the obstacles/challenges you faced during your weight loss journey? What helped you to stay motivated?
Some obstacles I faced was I personally decided to give up certain foods so I could concentrate on losing weight. I was a person who would drink margaritas a few times a week. Plus, I loved cake (what fat kid doesn't?) and would have to have a slice daily thanks to a nice bakery near my house that would cut slices that you can buy individually. I had to use mind over matter and tell myself that I am stronger than cheese, pizza, fried chicken, etc...During this time, I gained a boyfriend and many people end up gaining weight as they are dating. I told my boyfriend that I will go out to dinner but I will not be gaining any weight. What helped me stay motivated was I know I could do this and I wanted to prove to myself and others that this could be done naturally without the aid of surgery, pills, injections, etc.
Exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand. What foods are a part of your diet? What foods aren't a part of your diet?
Great question by the way. In the beginning of my journey, I used to say if it says creamy, savory, delicious, awesome, amazing and other awesome sounding adjectives...that meant it was something I should not eat. Foods that are a part of my lifestyle change (note I never say diet) include fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, lean meats like chicken (skinless), turkey and seafood. I also eat vegan bran muffins daily for the fiber benefit. I learned to enjoy brown rice and multi-grain/whole wheat/whole grain breads. Despite popular belief, I do eat carbs but the good kind. I do enjoy eating black beans and occassionally enjoy my turkey chili with black beans and pinto beans. For food that I don't eat or hardly eat...candy, potato chips, cakes, cookies, ice cream. I also rarely eat fried foods perhaps once a month. I stopped going to buffets. I don't eat samples in grocery stores and stores like Sam's Club or Costco. I haven't had a hot dog or a Snicker's candy bar in over a year. People that know me well know I started a Facebook Group to get people off mayonaise and ranch, two condiments that have a considerable amount of fat in a serving. There are other things I don't eat such as steak because I never liked it and I rarely eat hamburgers...maybe once every two months if that.
Was prayer a part of your weight loss journey? If so, how did it help?
I would say I would always huff and puff (as if I was talking to God) during my exercising! I would say things like God help me do this, help me get it together. I would not necessarily pray in the traditional sense but in the sense that when I am about to go somewhere to eat with others or I get ready to exercise, I'd ask God for help just outloud. I still consider that praying and I will say it does help because it allows you to focus on your goals in a calm way.
What was the most important thing you learned from your journey?
One thing I learned that in the past, I was truly never ready to change my life. Many people come to me and say they are ready for true change and when I tell them what I have done, then they turn their nose up and say no thanks. I've learned that only you know when you are ready and it took me to get into my 30s to actually see this. I've also learned that I am not big boned (as we like to say)....turns out, my bones are the right size...lol...I just had a lot of meat around them in the past!
What encouragement would you give to someone who wants to begin a weight loss program but doesn't know how?
I would encourage someone who wants lose weight to look at weight loss and exercise as a new lifestyle for them. They need to know that there are many changes that will need to be made and the biggest issue will be their own body resisting the change. The first two weeks are the hardest...if you are used to eating KFC, Big Macs and burritos all the time, the body will resist salads, lean meats, fresh produce, no pizza, etc....temptation (of food) is the devil I tell you but the battle can be won. As far as exercise, start with something easy like walking and build up to Zumba, running, kickboxing, dancing, turbo and other things. Many times people just head first into an exercise program and not realize, some courses of action need to be moved into slowly like BOOT CAMP!
More pics from Kenna's amazing weight loss journey