Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Megan Ling is 6 feet,1 inch tall and currently weighs 195 pounds. In 2015, after reaching 355 pounds at the age of 21, she found the motivation to change her life and her health. This is her weight-loss story, as told to Yahoo Lifestyle.
The Turning Point
My weight became an issue when I first began middle school at 6 feet tall. I was just naturally big — but I also remember having to special order my pants for the waist and length. As my weight increased over the years, I noticed constant pains in my back and feet.
The next thing I knew, I was 21 years old and 355 pounds — that was the first moment I ever acknowledged and felt ashamed about my weight and my poor choices. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself anymore. It ignited a fire inside of me.
I didn’t know a single thing about losing weight, but I found Medical Weight Loss Clinic in Livonia, Mich., which offers a structured plan with a physician, who oversees a high-protein and low-carb diet. I was also prescribed an appetite suppressant and took vitamins and additional supplements. After losing 100 pounds, I wanted to start exercising so I joined Omnevo Wellness Academy, a private fitness center.
In the beginning, I felt very motivated, but restricting calories was difficult. However, I had invested in this diet plan — financially and emotionally — and that continued to drive me. As the weight came off, I felt better and better. I used to be prone to illness, along with chronic back and foot pain. Now, I’m virtually pain-free.
My biggest motivator was believing that there was a different version of me out there and only I was in charge of finding out who that was.
Physically, I am in the best shape of my life. I always have a spring in my step and the energy to do more. Although I have grown emotionally, I fell into some dark times acknowledging that I did, in fact, have a binge eating disorder and I had to learn how to cope without using food. However, overall, I am very happy now. My thoughts and outlook on life are more positive.
What surprised me the most was that not everyone was supportive about my weight loss — maybe not always consciously. People really do treat you differently.
Now I eat for performance and health. I found my passion for the gym during this process and exercise five or six days a week. I try to maintain a high-protein, low-carb diet, but I do indulge in heavy carbs sometimes; I could never give up pizza, which I eat in small portions. However, I keep a log to monitor how my body feels after a meal.
I work out any chance I get, at least to squeeze in an hour of movement and lifting. The most important habits I have now are portion control and keeping my mind active — once I feel bored, I naturally gravitate toward food.
Don’t give up on yourself. It didn’t take one night to put it all on; it won’t take one night to take it all off. There is always a next version “you” out there, and we only have room for improvement. We are the only ones in charge of our health, and it starts with nutrition and exercise.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other wellness winners!
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