Instagram @patriciaelaina

Meet Patricia W.: “Just Start With Twenty Minutes”

@patriciaelainaI have struggled with my weight since I was young and have gained and lost weight over the years. But four years ago when I had reached around 300 pounds and was so unhappy I knew I needed to make some big changes. It was tough at first to break my habits of using food as comfort and honestly make a real effort to change my life, but after a few weeks it became easier.

A big struggle for me is using food as an emotional crutch. If I was sad, lonely, upset about anything I would use food to temporarily make me feel better. I had to change my whole mindset about how I look at food and why I needed it as a comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my days where I indulge because of how I’m feeling. But instead of beating myself up about it, I just keep moving forward. As far as my nutrition goes it was difficult finding as balance between what I had always done and what I am trying to accomplish. I have to make a conscious effort everyday to stay focused and make my nutrition a priority. It can be a challenge when I am surrounded by food that I know could send me back to a place where I am out of control. That is why I set limits and keep myself in check.

When I decided to make this life change I made sure I was doing this for me and know one else. I wanted something better for myself and changing my mindset was the first step. As cliche as it sounds you have to find a way to love your self and know you deserve better. Another important one is knowing that there is no end date and that this is a lifestyle change. For me having support was crucial. My mom and I have been great supports for each other as well as my best friends. It was important to have someone to talk to when I wanted to give up or go get take out. Knowing someone else was having these same struggles and talking through it helps so much. A big one for me is not having any food in my house that will tempt me…if it’s there I will eat it! So if I decide that I am going to have a treat day I buy the food that same day and make sure there is nothing left over the next day to tempt me.

 My advice would be to not cut everything out all at once. It can be overwhelming and can make you want to quit. Something I would do in the past that never worked for me was having the all or nothing mindset – cut everything bad out of my diet and tell myself I had to work out at least an hour a day. If I didn’t do these things I would get down on myself and would ask “what’s the point?” and just give up. You must have balance! We are human and we still need to enjoy life and enjoy food! Start incorporating healthier options into your life like fruit and veggies and get rid of processed foods. It’s amazing how, in short time, your body adjusts and stops craving the junk making it easier to say no. You don’t need to work out 3 hours a day. Start with 20 minutes and work up from there. Setting unrealistic goals that are hard to reach is defeating and can push you to give up.

 My diet mostly consists of protein, fruits, veggies and some whole grains. I eat at least 5 – 6 times a day and make sure to drink water. I do allow myself treat days usually on the weekends. If I tell myself I can’t have something that’s all I will want. So instead I allow myself anything, while setting limits.  I try to workout 5 days a week. I walk outside because I love the fresh air, go to an aerobics class and try to incorporate lifting weights as well. I am looking forward to trying yoga in the fall to increase my flexibility.

I am standing up in my cousins wedding in Las Vegas next year so I am working towards looking and feeling my best for that! Shout out to my parents, family and friends who have supported me throughout my journey. Without them I would not have been able to get to where I am.