Dorene before …

People look at me now and say, “Oh wow, you are in great shape. You eat right and workout so easily. You would never understand my struggle.” I always tell these individuals that I came from the struggle. I know exactly what you are going through because I went through it when I was younger. As a child, I ate whatever my parents cooked and the portions that they cooked. Since my family originates from the south, it was mostly large portions of comfort food. We never exercised and I was not allowed to join sports teams until middle school. In middle school, I was at the largest I’ve ever been, 170 pounds and 5’ 1”. I was a very overweight child, who didn’t drink water or exercise. So I decided to join the basketball team. Well we had to sell candy as a fundraiser, but instead of me selling it to other people; I would buy the candy and eat it. I realized this was not good for me, but my parents would not tell me I was fat.

All I needed was someone to tell me I was overweight. Of course you have the mean kids at school tell you, but the determining factor was my brother. My brother was the only one who told me I was fat and that I needed to do something about it. So my mother and I decided that we would lose weight together. The summer before eighth grade, I started walking with my mother around the park, then we began to run one mile and soon my family began eating salads for dinner. In this three month period, I lost 42 pounds.


… Dorene Now!

However, for a few years I continued to struggle because being 128 pounds was not an ideal weight for me at that time with just eating salad. I gained 12 pounds back, but I was solid and muscular. In high school, I began running track and that gave me an excuse not to watch what I ate because I was running all the time. My burned calories balanced out my intake. I changed this mentality when I went to college. I started to be more conscious of my eating because of family history and my overall health. It was hard, but I continued maintaining my weight.

After college, I was determined to continue my workouts and focus on nutrition, so I joined Anger Management Fitness for some additional motivation and assistance. They helped me in the nutrition area and I began to understand what foods work best for my body and fitness goals. This led me to structure my workouts more and I saw my abs and legs toning! Currently, I am preparing for a bikini competition in April 2016 and I am hoping to reach the level I need.

How did I do all of this? Motivation and determination. I did not want to look like I did before, nor did I want to have future health issues that I could have avoided with exercise and healthy eating. I keep old pictures of myself to constantly give me motivation and remind me of where I started. My advice? Find something that can help you stay motivated to lose weight or just become a healthier person. Once you have a cycle, it will become routine.

I decided to give up fast food because even though it is something I do not consume often, on my cheat days, I would reward myself extremely well. I had to learn how to celebrate those days better. For instance, I can make my own cheat meals and be excited while making it because I know what I am putting in it and I’m save money. Overall gaining a new you will be worthwhile if you have decided to become healthier. It will make you more alert and energetic because healthy foods give you energy and you will not be sluggish. If you are beginning a weight loss or exercise plan, you can do it! Just stay dedicated and do not let anything stop you or prevent you from your goal. If I could do it, you can do it too!