Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Evrim Sölemez is 5’4” tall, and currently weighs 132 pounds. After reaching her breaking point over being the “fat kid” in school she decided to lose weight to improve her self-esteem. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
As far back as I can remember, I was always the fattest kid around. Weight was always an issue for me. But emotionally, my lowest point was when I was 15 years old. I was trying to feel pretty in my huge body and failing miserably as I grew bigger because I was also eating my emotions. It became a cycle after a while: I ate because I felt sad and I felt sad because I was gaining weight.
After I started high school, I realized I was afraid to socialize because I didn’t want to be ridiculed for my weight. Kids can be cruel and sometimes I was really hurt by the way I was treated. I was just a teenage girl! I wanted to have friends, have fun and go out at one point, so I decided to join my classmates for a birthday party. It was nothing special for others, but I was excited and I even went out to get a pretty dress for that day. I remember crying in the changing room secretly as I looked at myself not fitting into anything I wanted. I guess my turning point was that day, in the fitting room when I hated what I saw in the mirror.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about weight loss. I just thought, “Stop snacking and you’ll lose weight!” It helped me a lot at the beginning. I stopped drinking fizzy drinks and eating chips and lost over 20 pounds in a month. It was such a small change that made a huge difference, so I went along with an “eat clean, eat less, lose weight” plan.
I tried exercising as much as I could. I started with walking around the block, and then started using an elliptical bike at home. After I felt strong enough, I started weight training. Starting exercising was the hard part but once I did, everything was so much better for me.
Seeing the numbers on the scale go down bit by bit and feeling like, “Yes, I got this!” was the best thing ever. I was so lucky to have supportive people around me. They kept me motivated through everything with their praise, and I just wanted to keep going to keep the smile on my face.
Physically, I feel so much better. I know what my body is capable of right now. I was even afraid to sit on a chair comfortably in the fear of breaking it, but now I can literally jump and climb anywhere. It feels wonderful to be able to do things without my body stopping me.
After losing weight, I realized how people seem to be friendlier with you. I know that fat girl also deserved the same smiles and attention I’m getting now, but I feel helpless for that little girl inside me. I can’t help her anymore and it makes me feel disconnected with myself somehow.
When I first started to lose weight, I thought everything would be perfect in my life if I could just fit into the size M. I would be happy, I would love myself unconditionally and my life would be amazing in general. Oh boy, how wrong I was! Now I wear the size S and well, I realized not everything is about how I look or what I wear. Life is way bigger than that. I wish I could go back in time to slap some sense into myself like, “Girl, chill out! Not everything is about how big your butt is. Live a little.”
As for eating, I just make sure I eat high-fiber foods every day, at least for one meal. I stopped tracking what goes into my body a long time ago. At this point, eating healthy and being active is a habit. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat some fries and cake from time to time, though. I make sure to listen to my body and sometimes you need to indulge a little.
As for exercising, it feels great to move around in general so I make sure I walk a lot. I almost never use any public transportation because well, I have legs, and they take me places.
The smile on my face keeps me going. I know I’m happy in this body right now, and I remember how I felt before. I really love myself and I wish to keep myself happy, so I won’t ever let myself feel that way ever again. That keeps me motivated.
Self-love never comes easy. I thought being “skinny” would solve all of my problems, but it doesn’t. Some days when I look in the mirror I can see a fat girl staring back at me or there are days I get annoyed by my stretch marks or some flabby skin here and there. It sucks to feel alienated in your own body, yet I make sure to remind myself that those marks are from my journey. They show me how strong I was. I’m reminded of how proud I am of myself for everything I’ve gone through.
Don’t make this a huge deal. It’s just a body; see it as a machine. If you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. That’s it. And know that you won’t suddenly become worthy because you lost some fat. You’re already worthy and great. Don’t let yourself bring you down — you’re amazing already. Focus on your happiness before anything else.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other wellness winners!
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