It has been scientifically proven that your metabolic rate decreases by 1% each year after turning 30. Without realizing it Natasha Ray gradually fell into natures trap. Natasha shares how she snatched her body back together after a hard dose of reality at the doctor’s office.
Did you struggle with your weight before your thirties?
Prior to my thirties I never had any problems with my weight. I was between a size 4 and 6. Then suddenly my metabolism turned against me! Because my mom and her sisters also never struggled with weight my fitness level was never something I thought would be a concern or struggle area for me.
What made you prioritize your healthy journey?
I decided to make my health a priority when I went for my annual “ladies” appointment and I weighed in at 179 pounds! I honestly, literally almost fainted! I was seriously in denial. I took off my shoes, belt, and even earrings and the scale didn’t move! I was mortified! I knew that I had been putting on weight but I had no idea that I had gotten as big as I was. At my biggest I was 179 pounds and wearing a size 12/14 in suits, jeans, and dresses.
How do you feel since losing the weight?
I feel literally like a new woman! I am healthier now than I was even during college when I was actually a size two. I have more energy. I feel more confident when I go shopping and I feel like I’m back to myself. I no longer feel ashamed when I have to go shopping for an event. I love the skin I’m in. Even with my weight loss I’m still a curvy woman. I’ll always be curvy no matter how “thin” I physically get. My body type is curvy and I totally embrace each and every one of my curves along with the few stretch marks I have on my thighs. To me my stretch marks are my badge of honor! I once allowed myself to get bigger than I had ever been and I have taken charge of my health to get my body to the best it’s ever been!
What are some healthy habits to practice daily?
I jog/walk between two to five miles a day. I also do a kickboxing class three times a week and yoga twice a week. The thing that has made the biggest impact in my weight loss journey is that I now meal plan. I don’t just go to the grocery store and pick items I want to eat like fried chicken, corn bread, mac n cheese, goat stew etc. I build my meals by shopping specifically for a dinner that has a protein (chicken or fish), vegetables, and grains. I have totally eliminated breads and cakes from my diet and I also removed all snack foods from my diet cold turkey! When I got back from the doctor after learning I was 179 pounds I took a garbage bag and gathered my ice cream snickers, and peanut butter cups, cheese its, pretzels, cheese sticks, cakes, and chips and dumped them all. From that moment on I stopped buying snack foods and replaced them with healthier substitutes like grapes, strawberries, and dried fruit like mango slices, pineapple, and cranberries. I also buy almonds and cashews as a crunchy snack substitute. Bottom line exercise alone will not get results. Fitness is a lifestyle that has to be done in all areas including the foods you eat, how you exercise, and how you sleep. I made a holistic change and was able to stick to it with the support of a close friend who held me accountable and encouraged me along the way! I also printed a picture of myself as the biggest I’d gotten, laminated it and put in on my refrigerator has a constant reminder of what I couldn’t allow myself to continue to be! I’m a visual person so seeing that picture of myself – where I was hardly recognizable – kept me focused and was the daily wake-up call that allowed me to put in the work to accomplish what I have so far on my weight-loss journey.
What advice do you have for others looking to lose weight?
Start today! Make a decision to eliminate one food group be it bread, or snacks, and then replace your unhealthy beverages with water! That in and of itself will make a major difference. I would then suggest that anyone serious about weight loss should find an activity they LOVE that doesn’t feel like “exercise” for me it was kickboxing. But there’s Zumba and a host of other types of classes that are super fun to do. Then I would suggest downloading the Nike plus App on your phone it’s compatible with Apple and Android handsets. It is an awesome way to hold you accountable and motivate you because it automatically tracks your daily activity in a fun way that’s super easy to use. The last piece of advice is to be patient with yourself. It takes time and hard work to lose weight. Most of us didn’t gain weight overnight so we can’t expect to lose it overnight either.
Share your weight loss story with BGH by emailing Alicia@blackgirlhealth.com.