“When I think back on my past and how I used to look, I can’t believe I am the same person. Every comparison picture I post is just another mind blowing reminder that I have actually done what I used to say was impossible. I can’t tell you how vivid the memory is of me saying, ‘I can never see myself in a size 10,’ to myself… and now I am in a size 6.
My whole life I was chubby. Chubby baby, chubby little girl, chubby preteen… I never realized how much of a ‘problem’ my weight was until I hit middle school. I was already awkward and shy, frizzy hair and glasses. I was bullied from the first day of middle school to the last. Three years of torture I never want to relive. I had little to no friends and I skipped so many days of school my 6th grade year they threatened to hold me back. I eventually agreed to meet with a counselor every morning before school to avoid the hallways and stay ‘undetected’ by the school tormentors. It didn’t help that gym class was humiliating, forcing us to ‘run the mile’ when I could hardly run 30 seconds. I can still remember the taunts from the boys we shared the class with. Nasty comments about my physical appearance and shy demeanor. Physical activity was never introduced into my life and being a young girl with no friends and no idea where I could turn to for help, I steadily continued gaining weight and never gained any self-confidence in, what I believe, to be one of the most important times of a child’s growth.
In high school I struggled with the concept of eating food, but never lost any weight because of it. If I did eat, I would get a salad, but load it up with ranch dressing which obviously did nothing for me. At home, I would lock myself in my room and read when I felt hungry; reminding myself how ‘disgusting’ I was when I looked in the mirror. The truth is, the bullying had died down by then, but I had become so self-conscious of how I looked, I kept my head down and was a loner most of the time. I had no self-esteem and figured people saw me as I saw myself… just a ‘Fat, bookish, nerd’ who would never fit in to any social group or setting. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t look like the other girls around me. I truly hated myself and my body.
It wasn’t until after I graduated (and was in a very controlling and abusive relationship, thank God THAT ended) that I decided to try to really better myself. Sick of the passive aggressive comments and slurs that were thrown at me about my weight and overall looks, I signed up for a local gym. I started visiting every morning and watched what I would eat, but after three months, I plateaued and gave up. I had gotten down to 189 pounds from 200 and the weight wasn’t budging. I felt helpless and hopeless and figured I would always be a plus size girl and that wasn’t going to change… and in the eyes of society, I would never be good enough or worthy.
I had tried EVERYTHING to lose weight. Dieting, ItWorks products, over the counter weight loss pills, prescription weight loss pills, the insanity workout program, NOTHING. WORKED. After I stopped working out I started gaining back the 11 pounds slowly, plus more. I was miserable. I would cry myself to sleep thinking of how ugly and unworthy I was of love and life. I hated the way I felt all the time; I despised looking in the mirror after a shower… I was in such an unhealthy relationship with my body and I only had one person to blame. Myself. I had never taught myself to take control of my physical health and the path I was headed down. I never stayed motivated enough to change because change takes time and I never saw the results I wanted. In September 2017, at 236 pounds, that’s when I decided enough was enough.
I was/am in a wonderful relationship with a man who had introduced Intermittent fasting to me. He was doing it specifically for himself and his own health, but I became intrigued. I had always heard that fasting and not eating was unhealthy, but that is not that case in any way, shape or form. After doing extensive research I decided to give this much needed weight loss journey one last try and started Intermittent, alternate day fasting.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet; it is an eating pattern, where you go for a certain amount of hours without consuming calories for fuel. There are many different forms of this, but I decided to go with alternate day which essentially means, I go 36-40 hours without eating. My body then uses my stored fat for fuel and in the process it has helped me lose a tremendous amount of weight. Fasting has TONS of benefits besides weight loss, but I won’t go into that here.
When I started fasting, I weighed 236 pounds and was wearing a size 2x in women’s shirts and 16/18 (More of an 18) in pants. I downloaded the LoseIt! Calorie counting app and started documenting my calories throughout ‘my eat days,’ making sure I stayed at my calorie count or TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure) and I downloaded Happy Scale to document my weight loss. The first week was easier than I thought because I was SO determined for this to work for me. I kept positive and powered through my fasting days learning self-discipline when it came to when and what to eat. I can’t tell you how shocked I was when I found out I had lost 17 pounds in my first month. That was all it took for me to be hooked and every month after that, I continued to lose more weightAt first, I received lots of criticism for my new lifestyle. Like me, people had thought fasting was unhealthy. As the months passed and people saw my results, the criticism turned to curiosity and soon praise. As the pounds continued to shed and my family and friends became used to my eating schedule, it was obvious that I was finally starting to feel happy with who I was becoming as a person.
It wasn’t until month 7 at 62 pounds down, that I decided to start exercising again. I had used the C25K app before so I figured that would be my best bet when it came to exercise because I was familiar with it. I had no idea running at 62 less pounds would be so much easier! Every time I hit a milestone of 5 minutes of running, 8 minutes of running, 10 minutes of running, 20 MINUTES OF RUNNING!, I knew that Intermittent fasting had been the right choice for me. To think of the girl I used to be in school, who struggled in gym class, I can’t believe I am where I am now.
One of my proudest moments since losing the weight is when my boyfriend and I went to Colorado and hiked 14 miles in 3 days. At the time, I weighed 183 pounds, but being able to hike up and down the mountains and on the countless trails that I had always wanted to explore, but couldn’t because I didn’t have the stamina, was honestly one of the most memorable experiences of my fasting journey. If I never would have started IF (Intermittent fasting), I never would have been able to do that. I am now addicted to long walks and adventures because now I CAN. Nothing is holding me back!
Currently, in August 2018, I sit at 150 pounds down from 236. That’s a total of 86 pounds lost since September 2017. I am down 12 inches in my bust, 12.5 inches in my waist and 14.5 in my hips. I now exercise every other day from running to lifting weights and I couldn’t be more proud of the person I have become so far. My goal is to hit 135 pounds by 2019 and I think I am well on my way.
When I started this journey, I NEVER expected to inspire as many people as I have. I am simply me. Hearing someone tell me that I have inspired them is a heartening feeling. I started this journey for me and thought documenting it would be fun. I never dreamed I would have the outreach that I have been so lucky to have. The amount of support and people who have reached out to me on social media is so incredible. People have been so kind and motivating that it’s one of the reasons I have kept going for the past 11 months and continue to keep pushing until I reach my goal.
This whole journey has been a lesson on self-discipline and determination that I have never experienced before and I will cherish this lesson for the rest of my life. I would love for everyone who was/is in the place I started at to feel that way too.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Sharp, 25, of Lees Summit, Missouri. You can follow her weight loss journey on Instagram. Do you have an incredible weight loss journey? We’d love to hear from you. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.