'I Didn't Have To Work Out Every Day To Lose Weight When I Finally Stopped Having Cheat Meals'

Shavonda Brickley, as told to Emily Shiffer
·12 mins read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

From Women's Health

My name is Shavonda Brickley (@shrinking_shavonda), and I am 35 years old. I live in Dallas, Texas, and I am a customer service representative for a pharmaceutical company. I started my weight-loss journey by doing keto with intermittent fasting and working out with a personal trainer, and I lost 143 pounds.

I tried so many different weight-loss methods and did not stick to any of them. The thing I struggled with the most was consistency. I was my heaviest at 28 years old; I weighed 347 pounds.

In December 2017, I went through a life-altering event that put me in a really dark place. I was giving so much energy to that situation. In addition, I always felt like everyone else’s happiness was more important than mine. I was always placing myself on the back burner. I felt that it was time for all of that stop. If I could pour so much into others (and wanted to continue to be able to do that), I needed to first pour into me.

And that’s when things clicked. Before I could be the best mom or partner to anyone, I needed to be the best me to me.

In March 2018, as I approached my 33rd birthday, I started my health journey.

Initially, I just tried to eliminate things like soda and juice from my diet. I made small adjustments like going from white rice to brown and eating more fruits and salad.

Then I came across the ketogenic lifestyle via Instagram and slowly transitioned into it. I would order a burger and remove one bun, and sub out fries for fruit. Eventually, I did more research and learned more about the lifestyle and went full-blown keto in July 2019. I love how non-restrictive keto is. I can still eat all of the foods I love, and there are so many products that can be used as great substitutes for some of the things that are not allowed.

Shortly after that, I also started to incorporate intermittent fasting (IF) by following a 16:8 schedule (meaning I ate within an eight-hour window every day and fasted for 16 hours).

Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: If I'm fasting, I skip breakfast. If I do have breakfast, I eat a simple meal of bacon, eggs, and cheese.

  • Lunch: Cold-cut sandwich wrap.

  • Snacks: I’m not a big snacker, since I only eat when I am hungry, but I love almonds.

  • Dinner: Grilled chicken and loaded broccoli.

  • Dessert: Keto ice cream or Atkins Endulges are my faves right now.

I actually started exercising before I started eating differently, but I quickly learned you can’t outwork a bad diet.

I would work out six to seven days a week and eat properly during the week, but I would overindulge on the weekends. I thought of cheat meals as a way to reward myself, not realizing initially that this mindset was stalling my progress.

Currently, I have a personal trainer that I see at least three times per week. When I am not training with him, I may walk about four miles or do my C25K running app. I absolutely love working with my trainer. Before COVID-19, I would attend my favorite cardio hip-hop class called Mixxedfit at my local gym. I miss that class so much!

These three changes have made the biggest impact on my overall weight loss.

  • I kept my mind in the right place. I reminded myself that if you think you can, you will. A lot of self-doubt came from my own thoughts. Believing in myself helps me also believe in others.

  • I tried to be intentional. In every decision I make even today, whether it’s to have an indulgent meal or not, it’s intentional. I make sure that when I'm up against temptation, I slow down and intentionally make a choice to stay on track or treat myself.

View this post on Instagram

🔥Transformation Tuesday 🔥 *Excess Skin Edition* Before you get excited, just know that I took both of these pictures on the same day! On the left I have my tights perfectly placed on my waist and on the right I have them underneath my stomach.. Why? I’m glad you asked. Because sometimes on the right is all that we see, no matter what we’re wearing, how good we look, how good other people think we look, it is still all we see. What I have found out about this journey is EVERY part of it is all mental. I chose these pictures today to encourage folks, myself included who have loss a massive amount of weight and are up against tons of lose skin like me. DON’T be discouraged. Know that my 199 pounds does not look like your 199 pounds Lose skin is inevitable for some of us. I had to start thinking of my lose skin as a sign of my reward, a sign of all of the hard work I have put in as opposed to “Omg I’m gonna always look fat “ or “it doesn’t look like I’m doing anything” knowing damn well you are putting in work. These are conversations I have had with self. I’d be confused as hell as to why someone was 210 and looked like a stallion and well 210 on me I still looked like me🤔 Don’t let society make you feel you should look a certain way after losing a ton of weight. Take any and all “Body Goals” out of your head because you don’t know what lies beneath YOUR surface. Be your own body goals. Love your body at every stage of the process. It will feel so much more rewarding!!! Keep going, Don’t quit!! Wit yo bad A$$$!!! 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾 #shrinkingshavonda #keepitketeaux #loseskin #excessskin #extremeweightloss #naturalweightloss #bodygoals #ketoweightloss #ketotransformation #naturalweightloss

A post shared by Shavonda B. (@shrinking_shavonda) on Sep 8, 2020 at 6:18am PDT

  • I "prepare and plan" so I don't "plan to fail." I make sure that even if I don’t meal prep, I meal plan. Each night before I go to bed, I have an idea of what my day will look like tomorrow because I have to live, eat, and breathe my lifestyle for it to work.

I have lost 143 pounds in two years and five months.

My advice to anyone who feels stuck or unsure of how to start: It doesn’t matter where you start or how much weight you have to lose, just start! Don’t focus on how long it will take, just focus on the direction in which you’re going. Do not compare your journey to anyone else’s.

Keep your head in the game and love yourself enough to get started. Be kind to yourself during your journey. Focus on the progression and not perfection. This journey is yours. Embrace it and take it on full-speed. Don’t give up—you have nothing to lose but weight.

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