Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Jaime Spiak is 22, 5’6” tall, and currently weighs 145 pounds. In 2015, after losing weight due to severe health issues, she decided to embrace a healthier lifestyle for the sake of her future. This is her weight-loss story.
The Turning Point
My weight had been an issue my whole life. I was always the chubby kid, always taller and bigger than my peers. Because of that, I was uncomfortable and depressed. I remember gym class in particular, because I was slower than all the other kids. It was an especially difficult time for me because it’s where I experienced the most bullying. When I was 18, the summer I had just graduated from high school, I lost all my friends. I was miserable, alone, depressed, and suicidal. It was after a failed suicide attempt that I realized I didn’t want to live my life like this anymore. I wanted to be comfortable and confident in my own skin.
The first step for me was not a healthy one. Toward the end of 2015, I had my gallbladder removed and I was battling kidney stones as well as ruptured ovarian cysts. I was in so much pain that I physically could not bring myself to eat or I would get sick. I spent two weeks in the hospital because I had dropped 60 pounds in two months. They wanted to put a feeding tube in me, but I had to fight it and essentially relearn to eat as well as exercise to regain all the muscle I had lost from being sick.
It was a roller coaster of emotion. I really used my illness as a turning point. Since I had to relearn to eat, I started with healthier options, like yogurt and vegetables, and really changed my diet from there. What kept me motivated was continuing to shed pounds, my clothes getting looser, and the sizes getting smaller. I partially became obsessed with seeing how low I could possibly go. Could I get to a size small? A size 5?
At the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I met my boyfriend, and that was the first instance I ever experienced of a guy truly being interested in me. Now, I definitely have more confidence. For the first time in my life, I can walk into a store without questioning whether I’ll be able to find something that will fit. And most of all, I don’t feel as uncomfortable in my everyday life. Because of that, I’ve become more social. I’ve come out of my shell, and I’m not afraid to use my voice.
There were a lot of surprises. Foodwise, now I actually crave vegetables. Also, there unfortunately is definitely a difference in how people treat you when you’re bigger versus when you’re smaller. But I think the biggest surprise for me is, physically, it’s crazy how much I can walk without getting winded or how many sports I’ve found I actually enjoy, such as cycling and skiing.
I love to cook now. I cook dinner every night, mainly things I would’ve never eaten before, like Brussels sprouts and quinoa. My diet has changed drastically. As for exercise, I’m fortunate to have met a very active man. We go for walks or bike rides every night we can, swim in the summer, and ski and snowboard in the winter. We’re always looking for new physical activities to do together.
A daily practice that I use to maintain my lifestyle is calorie counting. I have also found activities to get my mind off of mindless eating, like puzzling, word searches, and art.
Today, my boyfriend inspires me. He has cystic fibrosis and had a double lung transplant a year and a half ago. If he can be so active while struggling to breathe, there’s nothing stopping me.
One thing I struggle with today is cravings. I love chocolate and sweets, and oddly enough, I get through those cravings by baking. I’ll bake cookies or other desserts and bring them to school or to my friends and family so that they can enjoy. This way, I can get a little taste and yet don’t have to face constant temptation. It also helps that they enjoy my baking so much and are always grateful when I bring something over.
The hardest part is getting started, but once you get through that, you’re already halfway there. You truly can change your mindset. Once you start eating healthy, you’ll see that you’ll start craving healthier foods. Once you start a physical activity you love, you’ll find yourself getting excited to do it again. Always remember, you’re a lot stronger than you think. You’ll truly amaze yourself at what you can do!
Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!
Have a weight-loss win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.
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