“Jesus did come and die for me so that I could live a defeated life.” – iBelieve.com

 

It was inside of the master bedroom of my first apartment when I had realized that I had gained weight. I was lying-down, in between piles of clothes, with my jeans pulled half-way up to my knees. I remember crying hysterically in disbelief. At the time, I did not know just how much weight I had gained, but I knew that it was a great deal. I had barely noticed my weight-gain. I worked night shifts with little to no social life, and I hardly wore anything outside of my work uniform. There were no time in schedule to get dressed-up in normal people’s clothes.  I must have sat in a pile of clothes for an hour before finding an outfit suitable and appropriate for night out with other Christians.

My story is like many who are on the road to healthy living: both terrifying and challenging, yet if you persevere you will eventually get to the reward.

Past of Skinny

So, here is the disclaimer: I have a past of being skinny. I think it is very important to share this with you all. In the 10th grade my metabolism sped up, and by the 11th grade I was 121 and a size 4. I maintained my 120s-130s from high school to mid 20’s. When my weight leaped into the late 130s to 140s, I tried a weight loss program to tone up. The program was unsuccessful for me, personally. I had no accountability, and I did not use the products correctly. Neither did I work out regularly.

Life As A Pescatarian

According to google, a pescatarian is “a person who does not eat meat but does eat fish.” I was a pescatarian for about a year and a half (2015-2017). I decided to go pescatarian because I wanted to lose weight. I was slowly climbing into the 140s, and I thought this diet would slow the process down. I know. Slap me now, right? Sigh. During this diet, I ate a lot of dairy and I substituted meats for more carbs. By the end of this journey I had gained approximately 50 pounds.

As a pescatarian, I faced many challenges outside of my diet and in my personal life. At the age of 25 I battled with stress, depression and anxiety. Unhappy with my weight, I went to see a weight loss specialist to receive help with over-eating. By the first day on his program, I was nearly hospitalized. The doctor placed me on a high energy appetite controlled diet. The doctor did specify that if I was dealing with anxiety to advise him, however it would be after when I learned of anxiety and depression from the doctor who responded to my house call. Once I learned I honestly did not want to believe that I was depressed, and let alone struggling with anxiety, so I pretended to not have those struggles and stopped the doctor’s program. The stress of being overweight and other personal stress related events really took a toll on my body and thought life. Depression set in more. Everything that I tried during this point yielded no results.

The Return of Meat

My return to eating meat was not an easy one. My first-time eating chicken left me sick for about a day, however I could not eat beef ever again. The smell of beef made me sick. With the return of meat came the love of snacks. Prior to the changes within my body, I was not a snack fan. I did not eat candy and I disliked sweets and candy. Tons of bad habits over the years which introduced like excessive sugar, coffee, lack of sleep and over eating.

Trainers Don’t Play

It was December of 2016 when I was co-leading a campus Bible-Talk (small group) on the Rutgers camden campus. A beautiful married, Muslim couple joined us one night for one of our Bible discussions. At the end of the lesson they asked many questions. One question, in particularly, sent me into deep prayer. The husband asked, “Do Christians believe in discipline.” He was asking along the lines of honoring God with our lives. I immediately answered him without hesitation, “Yes.” Almost immediately The Holy Spirit convicted me. I was warned not to speak so quickly about what I was unsure of. I had much time to think over what the young man had asked over the Holiday break.

Once January had arrived I began to pray and ask God for His help with discipline in my eating. I began praying, specially, for God to place people in my life who could help me on my journey, and to help me to stay accountable. Accountability was very important to me.

One day I was sitting in my work vehicle when I noticed a woman with beautiful natural hair about to walk pass. I quickly put the down the car window, and yelled out, “EXCUSE ME.” She looked super scared. I recognized her face, but we had never met before. I can be very spontaneous like that, by the way. To my surprise she was a local trainer who had just became my instagram buddy a few weeks prior. She had sent me a request to promote her business as a trainer. Look at Jesus! Won’t He do it?!

I hired her immediately to be trainer. She and I quickly got started at her gym in my old stumping grounds. When I arrived to the gym my first weigh in at 202 pounds. We would trained for three months for about 30 minutes every other day. She would send me home with a strict meal plan and a meal schedule. At this time, I was strictly eating clean and following everything my trainer assigned me to. NO BEEF. Accountability was my trainer’s strongest quality overall. She did not play with me. In less than two months I was down 13 pounds. I felt amazing. The weight was falling off.

Vegan-ish

I was having the time of my life training. Before leaving I was able to bench up to 40-50 lbs. Which is a huge deal for me. However, my training days came to an end. Not only did my move to a different city took a toll, but depression crept its way back into my life. I gave up on losing weight and began eating in larger amounts.

After getting off of work at 10:30 at night (sometimes later), I would go buy myself a hoagie, a bag of chips and a milkshake. Some days I would order two medium pizzas with wings. I would come home, by-past my family and go straight to my room and turn on the tv. Although I wanted to change, but quit, I knew that in order to fix the outside, I must first repair the inside. Therapy. Do not be ashamed of it! It helps. 

By May of 2018, I had almost gained back the weight that my trainer helped me lose. I continue to see my therapist despite all that I was feeling. Stress was causing problems with my weight which lead to me going to the hospital. I was told that my weight was stress related and that it was causing nerve issues. I was terrified. Seeing my Mother rush from work to the hospital really scared me. Hearing my Father say, “Z, I am worried about you” really scared me. I grew in fear of “what ifs.”

In June of 2018, I decided to leave Jersey for a few days to destress. A friend of mine and I chose Los Angeles to vacation. We had the most incredible time with God, one another and other Christians from our churches in the area of L.A. county. On our second to last day we visited Long Beach, California. After praying at the Pacific ocean we walked around a main strip full of natural, vegan restaurants. I can still remember how beautiful the sun was as its light bounced off of the people and local store fronts. It seem like every one there were super healthy. As we got back into the car, I noticed older people on bicycles. I think that is when it hit me: go vegan. My goal as a pescatarian was to go vegan eventually after I had watched a bunch of documentaries. Yet this was the sign I had been searching for. All of sudden I thought long term: Do I want to live a long, healthy life? What message will I send my future children? My decision to go vegan and clean up my life was not just talk. This was one decision, I prayed about and sought God about.

Disclaimer: Being a vegan is not a cure for depression, anxiety or stress in any way. However, healthy eating and exercise can help.

When I returned home from California, I cleaned out my refrigerator, went shopping and created a plan! I have now been vegan-ish for almost 8 months now.

What Can I Eat?

Vegan-ish is a word I created for myself. So if you use it tag me! I consider myself vegan-ish because although I eat like a vegan, I value human life over animal life. Oh and I still have honey every-so-often.

I do not eat or drink:

Dairy {Milk, Butter, Eggs, etc.}

Meats {Chicken, Beef, etc}

Fish {Tuna, Salmon, etc.}

And I am not a huge fan of soy beans or heavy carbs.

I am plant-based.

Where Do I Get My Protein?

Food. Duh.

No, seriously. That question is so overly used. Vegans can still get their vitamins and protein from the foods they consume. Many vegetarians and vegans get their vitamins and protein from dietary supplements and protein substitutes.

If you do not know if you are getting the proper nutrients, you can always see your doctor for tests and consultation. I do.

Exercise 

Exercising is important to weight loss. I do workout with the same time and day structure I learned from having a trainer. It is during exam times that I find it most difficult to execute. Working out is 10% of how I manage my weight loss. During the first few weeks of no meats I lost the most weight all at once.

I started off with a gym in my townhouse community. It was free! I remember looking in the mirror while on the treadmill and making the decision to only speak/think positively about my body. Before that time I would crack inappropriate, yet sad jokes about myself in front of others. It was as if I was beating them to the punch—I guess. This decision to speak/think positively about myself was inspired by a woman from my church in Philadelphia who over heard me in a McDonalds’ restroom. She rebuked the mess out of me. Chile. So now I make efforts to correct my thinking as soon as I can, and I will even apologize if I have said it around someone else.

I now have at-home equipment and my school’s gym to work out at for free.

Tips and Advice

  1. Go to God. Pray and do not give up praying. Ask for help. He cares for you, My friend.
  2. Make the decision. Ask yourself these questions: Why do I want to lose weight? What is my motive? If it is self-ish or shallow in any way reexamine your reasons for why.
  3. Talk to yourself. Speak to yourself with love and gentleness. When my trainer and I would work-out, she would tell me to do go harder and I would physically feel as if the task was too big, and so I would encourage myself through prayer in that moment.
  4. Do not be afraid of weight-loss programs. Be wise, but do not take someone else story as the “be-all, tell-all.” There are some great programs out there.
  5. EXERCISE and MEAL PREP.
  6. Invest! Spend wisely! Start off small. I started with just a floor mat. Now I have weights. Ease your way in there. Do not go spending money just have what you bought collect dust.
  7. Invest in a good blender.
  8. Hire a trainer! At least learn from them! Learn accountability, workouts and how to structure your meals. Most great trainers are studying your body type and knowing what works for you—learn that from your trainer.
  9. Go Vegan! Just kidding. You can eat clean and still yield these results. I lost 13 lbs from eating clean in less than two months. I lost 38 lbs in 7 months of being a vegan. What works for me may not work for you but #9 is just here to encourage you.

 

 

Published by Zakia Boone

Welcome to TTL! I am a part-time blogger from one of the world’s most dangerous cities in the U.S. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, my mission is to live out Jesus’ last commission in Matthew 28:18-20. I consider myself and all believers travelers of The Gospel (The Light).

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5 Comments

  1. Omg I love it so much! I’m proud of you. This is amazing also very encouraging as I to am taking my own journey to weight loss. I have been struggling for a little while but I too have reached the point where I have finally got some results. thank you so much for sharing this and God bless you and on the rest of your journey in this healthy lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Z!!!!!! THANK YOU! So vulnerable, courageous & relatable Sis. LOVING watching God work & all He has I’m stored for you. I need to get on this workout/ bestife journey also ASAP!! And she’d these extra pounds I’ve picked up. LOVE YOU!!!! Praying & cheering.

    Like

  3. #veganish 🤔 Love this! I am inspired by your tips and the things you shared. I love how open you are with your life. xo

    Like

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