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My Twisty, Turny, Complicated Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle

By: Davita Duvall

"I would never be able to transform the outside until I healed the inside."

I'm not sure where I should begin, I guess the beginning is always best. I moved to Montgomery, Alabama as a small child and was raised on that good old southern cookin’, from there the weight just pilled on, and with it, the insecurities. I sometimes wonder if the insecurities were already there and they manifested into the weight gain. Whatever the case, I thought my weight made me unlikeable. I never felt pretty enough because I was big. My friends and family always told me I was beautiful but I just couldn’t see it.

By my twenties I was 275 pounds with a ton of insecurities. I thought if I lost the weight, I would attract guys, gain friends, and fit the mold society made for how women should look. In retrospect, I can see that I allowed my weight to stop me from living. I purposely kept myself busy working and going to school full time while holding a part time job so that I wouldn’t have to face the world. When friends would ask me to do things, my busyness was a valid excuse but the truth was that I was insecure. I was tired of being the BIG girl in the group. 

I tried every possible means to shed the pounds. If there was a fad diet or weight loss gimmick, I probably experimented with it. Some worked for a while but even when the weight was gone my insecurities were still there. Before long I would gain the weight right back plus extra. Sustainable weight loss would require a shift in mindset and change of perspective. 

That change started with a photograph. A friend wanted to do the “Biggest Loser Challenge” which, of course, required me to take a before picture. Now, I knew I was big but seeing that picture allowed me to see how big I really was. The next step was the weigh-in. Imagine my disgust when the scale settled at 316 pounds - Three-Hundred-and-Sixteen POUNDS.  I was 33.  Shortly thereafter, a visit to my doctors office revealed that my blood pressure was 175/95. I was immediately put on two blood pressure meds.

This series of back to back events hit me like a ton of bricks but it was just the wakeup call I needed - a clear message from God saying, “Davita you are out of control.” This began a weight loss journey that was different from my previous attempts. It wasn’t about looking good or fitting in, this was a matter of life and death.  I was a prime candidate for stroke or heart attack. My life was at stake and I had to do something about it.

Over two years I lost 41 pounds just by applying discipline and will power but then I plateaued. I couldn't shed another pound no matter how hard I worked.  It was so frustrating. I couldn’t figure out why I was at a standstill. Grant it, I wasn’t eating right all the time, but I was eating far better than ever before and I was working out consistently so what was the problem?  The answer had nothing to do with diet or exercise.

I would never be able to transform the outside until I healed the inside. I needed to exercise my spirit life. I had to learn how to love myself no matter WHAT I looked like. I had to know how beautiful I am and that I am made in God’s image - I am HIS child. I have been involved in a small group at church for two years now and diving into God’s word has blessed me beyond my expectations.  I’ve realized that this life journey cannot be walked without HIM and HIS power. I finally see myself as a beautiful God fearing woman. Once I finally got that, everything changed - my body, mind, and spirit.

My trainer, Casie, always says you have to find your WHY(s) when you are on this journey. More importantly the WHYS have to be about YOU. Are you losing weight to get healthier, to be there for your spouse, your children etc.? My WHY(s) where no longer about what I thought the world thought of me but what I thought of myself. I tell myself all the time that I AM beautiful, I AM smart, I have a purpose. It’s so rewarding to not look for the world to tell me these things. I KNOW for myself. Also knowing I need HIS power every day to get through those cravings or those bad days. This healthy lifestyle takes work but when you have God walking beside you, it makes this journey a little easier.

I’ve been on this path for a long time. I’ve hit bumps in the road and taken a few detours but I always end up back on track. I still have my bad days but that’s okay, we all do from time to time. I just know now that throwing in the towel is not an option for me. I also have a great support group.  I cannot tell you how important it has been to have people ride along on this journey with me. They are the ones that hold me accountable, encourage, and motivate me to do better, to BE better.

If you are struggling with loosing weight or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, here are 8 easy tips that have helped me to stay focused:

  1. Meal Prep - This is key to staying on track during the week. Especially when things come up that are unexpected.
  2. Grocery Day - Find a day you go to the grocery store
  3. Meal Plan - This helps to premeditate healthy meals and helps me not to over spend at the store
  4. Find your support system - Surrounding yourself with positive, encouraging people is key
  5. Start working out – Find something you love to do. Try different things and don’t be intimidated by a workout. Just go and see how you do. Everyone had to start from the beginning.
  6. Set mini goals – If I thought about the total amount of weight I had to loose, It would have overwhelmed me. If you don’t walk, start with 1 mile and before you know it you will be doing 5K’s like nothing.
  7. Figure out your ‘WHYS’ – Make sure you do them for YOU!!
  8. Don’t Give Up On YOU!!

What better time to get started than now? 2016 is A New Year, let’s make it count.  Cheers to a Better You!!!!

Davita is an eCommerce Analyst from Montgomery, AL. She enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and of course - Fitness. 
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