Jessica Noor is 23, 5′3″ tall, and currently weighs 120 pounds. In 2012, she weighed 225 pounds. This is the story of her weight-loss journey, which began January 2013.
I had been overweight my whole life, and I just got bigger and bigger every year. Growing up, there was never healthy food around my house. I got to eat whatever I wanted, and I binged when I was in a bad mood – eating until I wanted to puke. Growing up overweight was not easy, and I thought that I would be fat my entire life. When I started college in September 2011, I was 18 years old and the heaviest I had ever been: 225 pounds. For a girl who stands at 5’3”, this was extremely overweight.
My turning point was in January 2013, when I had realized that I had lost 30 pounds without really trying. I figured if I could lose weight without trying, then amazing things could happen if I did try. I also started practicing a healthier lifestyle when I began experiencing major stomach problems at this time. I began to limit the foods I could eat to see if that would help. I wanted to be healthy and I also needed to be healthy, so I put on my running shoes in May 2013.
Because of my health issues, I started making constant changes to my diet to be able to eat comfortably. I gradually quit eating all dairy, processed foods, and meat, and restricted my eating of other unhealthy food. I also started working out six days a week. Before this point, I had never run a mile in my life. I began running, working my way up to nine miles at a time. This new routine was working out for me. I had lost another 50 pounds by January 2015. This was an amazing revelation and another turning point for my overall health. I had more energy, and my stomach problems were improving.
Reaching my weight-loss goal of 100 pounds was the hardest thing I have ever done, but it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I’m happier now, and I feel like I can accomplish anything. Before losing weight, I thought I was confident, but now I feel even more empowered. I’m more positive about things, and I’m even more determined to reach other goals. Going through this journey changes your perspective on everything.
(Photos courtesy of Jessica Noor)
But liking the way I look is so important, too. I never thought I could fit into a size small or be able to do the physical things I do now. I’ve run a 5K; I’ve gone from a size 18 to a size 4; I love my new body. My former self feels like a dream. Looking back, I can’t believe I used to be that way.
Planning my meals is essential for success! Not planning is planning to fail. Since eating right has accounted for 90 percent of my weight-loss success and health, I meal prep, grocery shop, and plan for an entire week ahead. Every meal is planned. This way, I’m not tempted to eat things that could derail me. It also saves me time and money. None of my food is wasted, and it’s always fresh. I spend around $50 a week for my food.
I also have a workout routine that I follow. Having a routine for eating and working out has made everything easier. Going to the gym is just a part of my day and a habit. I can sure feel it if I miss a regular day at the gym. I have so much less energy!
I eat a plant-based, vegan diet — mostly organic and always whole food. I make 99 percent of my food from scratch, and I hardly ever eat out. My diet is also gluten-free, oil-free, and I sweeten recipes with fruit only.
I exercise six days a week out of habit, and because I love going to the gym. I do a different high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout every day to keep toning my body and to keep things interesting.
(Photos courtesy of Jessica Noor)
I don’t ever plan on cheat meals or indulgent, rich meals because of my stomach problems. Going overboard is painful for me, but if I’m going to go and eat sushi, for example, I adjust the rest of my meals for the day. Since I’m eating a ton of carbs with this sushi meal, the other meals for the day are light and low carb. Eating healthy is all about managing proportions and adjusting adequately. Don’t get me wrong — I still have cake and ice cream, but they’re healthy things that I make myself. I eat mug cakes made out of Vega protein powder, and ice cream that I refer to as “nice cream” that is made with bananas and Vega protein powder. You can have these “indulgences,” but I say make them yourself and make them healthy. That way, you don’t have to feel guilty or adjust anything.
I still struggle with overeating. Bingeing was my problem when I was overweight and I’m still trying to control it. I give myself pep talks like, “Just because a banana is healthy doesn’t mean I should eat 10 of them.” I’m constantly working on this, and when I’ve got food on the brain, I try to put something else on my mind. Take a walk, read, make some tea, and get out of the kitchen!
I remind myself of how far I’ve come and how hard I’ve worked. I don’t want to waste all of my hard work, so I make an effort to stick to my routine. If I have gotten out of my routine, I make up for it by staying at the gym longer or not letting myself make that awesome pasta I’d been looking forward to making and eating all week.
Don’t treat food and working out as the enemy, a hard task, or a burden. You’ll never get through to your goals if you do. Find your way to enjoy it. Create new, healthy food in the kitchen and explore fun workouts when you’re just starting out and almost at your goal. Find the fun in fitness and EAT YOUR VEGGIES!