Transformation of the Day: Carrissa lost 84 pounds. She realized that she was deeply unhappy and had become an emotional eater. Wanting to transform physically, emotionally, and spiritually, she embraced a holistic wellness approach focusing on healthy food and fitness. She also got certified as a personal trainer.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
I was motivated to lose weight by the fact that when I looked in the mirror, I knew that the person looking back at me was the size she was because she was deeply, deeply unhappy.
I was a huge emotional eater and rapidly put weight on following a time when I had hit rock bottom in every area of my life: mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.
One day, I woke up and realized that I deserved to give myself another chance at life, a chance to find myself again, heal from my past, and feel happy and healthy in my body and with my body. I had many ups and downs on my weight loss journey and found myself binge eating when my emotions overwhelmed me. I felt I needed food to make me feel better. However, every time I looked in the mirror, I remembered the commitment I made to myself to give myself a future and a better life. That’s what kept me going.
I am currently in the process of creating an online weight loss course and coaching program for my weight loss method, Keep Me Curvy. I’m looking for a group of women to participate in a test trial of the course in January 2024 (completely free of charge).
How did you change your eating habits?
I used to eat pizza, pasta, chips, ice cream, cheese, fizzy drinks, milkshakes, burgers, and other kinds of sugary fast foods that were quick, easy, and instantly made me feel ‘better’. I realized that I needed to find healthy alternatives to replace the foods I was used to eating.
So I slowly phased out fizzy drinks with fruit juice, then squash, then fresh juices, and now I drink mainly water, herbal tea, and the occasional freshly squeezed fruit juices. I replaced ice cream with ‘nice cream’ by blending frozen bananas and almond milk. In place of biscuits, I would make my own oat biscuits with as few as two ingredients. For my main meals, I filled up on vegetables and healthy proteins such as fish and chicken.
At my heaviest, I was so desperate to lose as much weight as quickly as possible that I decided to take on a 28-day juice fast. I started with seven days, then 10 with breaks in between before progressing on to the 28-day fast. I followed Jason Vales programs, downloaded his apps, and watched his film Super Juice Me.
Although the process was tough, after each fast my skin was glowing, I had lots of energy, and always lost significant amounts of weight. On the 28-day fast, I lost 25 pounds. I then decided to turn vegan, and now I eat plenty of plant-based protein such as red and green lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and peanut butter, and healthy fats such as avocado, and olive oil. I also eat ‘good carbs’ such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
My secret weapons to changing my eating habits and the books I highly recommend in the weight-loss course I have created (Keep Me Curvy: The Feminine Weight Loss Method) are Allen Carr’s series of books: The Easy Weigh to Lose Weight, Good Sugar, Bad Sugar and The Easy Way to Stop Emotional Eating. These books absolutely changed my mindset around food, and I would recommend them to anybody.
What is your workout routine? (Cardio, weight training, Zumba, etc.)
I currently work out five times a week. I strength train my upper and lower body each day, along with 20 minutes of low-intensity steady-state cardio such as incline walking on the treadmill or climbing on the stair master. Two days a week, I add a core session to my workouts for around 10 minutes. I always make sure to do my warm-ups, cool-downs, and stretching as well.
Because I fell in love with the gym and what it did for my mental and emotional health as well as my body, I decided to take a course to become a qualified personal trainer. I did this to understand exactly what I was doing in the gym and why.
My fitness routine looked very different at the start of my weight loss journey. I would walk around the block for 15 minutes, then I progressed to skipping outside my home for 5 minutes, slowly progressing up to 30 minutes of skipping at a time. I would also follow workout routines on YouTube, my favourite being dance workouts I could follow along to in the privacy of my own front room.
Once I had lost some weight and felt confident enough, I began to swim at my local pool and went to the gym sporadically to walk on the treadmill. When I was in the gym, I started to notice the women around me who had curvy bodies and were working out to maintain their figures. That’s when I decided I wanted to achieve what they had and sculpt a curvy, defined, and toned body for myself by lifting weights.
As I started going to the gym more regularly, I had much more energy and felt happier and more confident than I had in a long time. This made me want to get out of the house and start doing more. So, I took up active hobbies such as roller skating and pole fitness, which I do on weekends.
How often did you work out?
At my biggest, I didn’t work out at all. I had hated exercise ever since PE at school. As a chubby child, I always felt embarrassed and self-conscious while participating in sports. Despite this, I would always buy a gym membership in January with the intention of losing weight and getting fit. I would go once or twice and end up canceling my membership after several months of failing to attend.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 248lbs (112 kg), and I now weigh 164lbs (75 kg)
What is your height?
5ft 6in – 170cm – 1.7m
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I lost weight for the first time in Summer 2016,, and it took me six months to lose 70 pounds (32kg)
During the pandemic in 2020, I regained all of the weight I had originally lost and more. June 2021 was when I officially decided to begin my weight loss journey for the second time. I reached my goal weight in February 2022. It took eight months to lose 75lbs (34kg). The rest of the weight came off gradually as I transitioned into eating and training to gain muscle and lose fat in order to change my body composition.
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
The biggest lesson I have learned is that women’s bodies are unique, and so we need to look at weight loss, fitness, and nutrition through a different lens than what the mainstream weight loss approaches teach. Calories in/calories out works, but, as women, our bodies need different nutrients and different amounts of calories at each stage of our cycle and life span. This is why restrictive diets and grueling workout plans are not sustainable for the majority of us.
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
Weight Loss is a holistic process. Don’t ignore your unique female body. We are taught to lose weight like men do, and it doesn’t work with our female biology. We have to tune into our unique needs as women.
Past traumas can contribute to weight gain and an inability to lose weight and keep it off. To get to the root of an unhealthy relationship with food, it is important to deal with the issues that first caused us to view food as a tool for comfort and the potential food addiction that arose from this. This takes healing from past traumas, embracing self-love, and feeling worthy and deserving of looking and feeling our best. I would also say find a form of movement that you genuinely enjoy, whether that be lifting weights, dancing, skating, yoga, swimming, jogging, etc.
Disclaimer: Reference or link to any specific product, diet plan, exercise plan or service mentioned in the weight loss stories we share is for the information of our readers, and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Black Women Losing Weight.