Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Kimberly Delmundo is 22, 5’4″, and currently weighs 142 pounds. In 2014, after a lifetime of being overweight, she decided to pursue a healthier lifestyle after being motivated by a character in a video game.
The turning point
I was an overweight child who grew up in a family with terrible eating habits. I was always aware of how overweight I was because of constant teasing and bullying from other people.
However, despite being very self-conscious, I’ve always been in denial of the extremity of my size and weight. I tried to comfort myself by eating and telling myself, “You’re big, but not that big. You can afford this super-size meal and a Coke.” I was also in denial of the amount of time I’d spent feeling sick and thought of excuses such as, “Everyone feels this groggy every morning.” I never realized that my habits and my body were contributing to those hindrances to my health.
It wasn’t until I graduated high school in 2013 that I realized I had dug myself too deep into a hole. By that time, I looked in the mirror and felt so uncomfortable in my 215-pound body. Reality hit me, and I am so thankful for that wake-up call.
My turning point came in late 2014. I had tried many fad diets, which I truly regret doing. I always gained most, if not all, of the weight back. I never really took it seriously and did it for vanity rather than for health. But, of all things, a video game called Life Is Strange helped me. I was diagnosed with major chronic depression and had been trying to find ways to distract myself until I came across that game. I related to a character named Chloe Price in so many ways, and I always admired her impulsive nature and confidence.
It may sound silly, but that game was kind of the catalyst to everything. I realized by then that there’s so much I’ve yet to experience in life. I knew that I couldn’t do all the things I’ve always wanted to do in my physical state. I didn’t want to live a life full of what-ifs. That is when I finally stepped into the cheapest gym I could find, put on some sneakers, and just started slowly.
When I first started losing weight, I was very unsure of everything. I simply started to increase my existing daily activities that required me to move, and I started to eat less, without any worries of calories or the total number I burned each day. I guess I was winging it because I wasn’t even sure whether I would successfully lose any weight or see any difference.
I checked the scale one day and realized that I had lost seven pounds. I felt invincible and inspired, like I could achieve so much more. From then on, I spent a minimum of two hours in the gym every day and slowly started to replace the junk in my daily diet with more nourishing food.
At first, when I was still in the 200s, I was losing five to 10 pounds at a time, but of course it started slowing down as I got smaller. When I hit plateaus and stalls, I made tweaks here and there and started to actually track my calories and be more vigilant with my deficit. I used MyFitnessPal and religiously followed my calorie goal, all while pushing myself to work out at least three to four times a week. I still ate carbs in moderation, because I knew I shouldn’t restrict myself too much. It wasn’t easy, and it definitely wasn’t linear, but when I was consistent and made adjustments here and there, progress slowly but surely blossomed.
While I was losing weight, I realized that I was the only one who could really motivate me. No matter how many times people complimented me or gave me newfound attention, it just didn’t cut it. I learned that I was doing this for myself and I wasn’t going to stop until I was truly happy and content.
With my depression and occasional suicidal phases coming into play, I’ve honestly had periods of time (which would span from weeks to a month) in which I didn’t care about losing weight at all. I would say, “What’s the point of putting in all this effort anyway?” In those times, I’ve always gained back 10 to 20 pounds each time. It definitely was and still is a roller coaster that I try to ride out.
What motivates me is having the power to control what I do with my life and constantly reminding myself that future me will thank present me if I just jump back on the wagon. Once I start to get the ball rolling and get back to my routine again, I always seem to do better than before — learning to correct mistakes I’ve made in the past and trying not to associate how I feel mentally with my exercise performance.
When I finally lost more than 70 pounds, I still felt like my journey wasn’t (and isn’t) over. There is always room for improvements, and this is a long-term commitment to changing my lifestyle. For the first time in my life, I felt confident. I felt like I was actually valuable to myself and others. I felt happier and more daring. I was willing to do anything and everything I never thought I could do. All these feelings outweighed the changes I’ve seen in the mirror. Physically, I felt beautiful. I had always seen myself as an unattractive person, but I guess I learned to admire myself overall. Getting hit on wasn’t so bad either!
The thing that surprised me most is how easy the process actually is. It’s all about consistency. I was also very surprised by how difficult it actually is to even gain one pound (when I realized how much food 3,500 calories visually looks like).
Nowadays, I am not as strict as I was while trying to slim down. I often treat myself to lunch out. I also take a few days off at the gym. It’s not that I am slacking — I am simply trying to create a routine that I know I can maintain in the long run without burning out. I realized that my weight stays the same when I do this.
With exercise, I have never had a personal trainer, and I still don’t. I’ve done this all by myself simply through researching online. I go to the gym and do my best.
One of the daily habits that helps me maintain is tracking my calories through MyFitnessPal. I always try to be accountable and see calories as a budget you spend every day. Calories are my body’s personal currency, and I try to spend them wisely every day.
What inspires me to this day is the need to feel alive. I realized that my most fond memories were after I’d gotten my health in order. I have a bucket list for myself. The longer I improve and maintain my weight, the more I reward myself with experiences to look forward to. For example, I will skydive soon to celebrate doing a great job with myself and my journey this year. And if I keep this up for two more years, I will attempt to travel the world. Staying healthy also keeps me sane to some extent and distracts me from my dark feelings.
The biggest thing I struggle with is maintenance, which can still be extremely hard with my depression. If I hit 142 pounds, I would neglect everything for a few weeks and go back to 152. I often stop myself, though, and get back into it. I try to forgive myself and move on. Gaining 10 pounds back isn’t as bad as gaining back the 70-plus pounds.
My advice for people is to be consistent — no matter how low you feel or if you lose motivation. When you lose your way, just try to hit the reset button and start again tomorrow. Also, I recommend for people to do what works for them and their bodies and not to stick to someone else’s regimen.
All photos courtesy of Kimberly Delmundo.
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