Mini’s Amazing Weightloss Journey

I asked my instagram pal affectionately known as “Mini” to share her weight loss journey with everyone. It has been amazing to see her transform her body to become more lean and toned, the confidence that so obviously shines through now, and her delicious meals as she stays dedicated to health daily.

Q: I am so inspired by your weight loss journey. You look AMAZING. How did it start?
Thank you so much! My weight loss journey started on August 1st, 2011. There have been plenty of times where I would “diet” for a few months, lose a few pounds and go back to old habits. This time it was different. I was 29 and a few months away from 30. I clearly remember myself on the Sunday before August 1st sitting on my bed in a practical food comma. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I saw my bulging belly, my round puffy face and my huge chest. I started to cry. I have been heavy, depressed and insecure all of my life and at that very moment I decided that that would change. I would start fresh the next day and start working towards a new me. I vowed to be in the best shape of my life in my 30’s and I stuck to that vow.

2. How do you manage cooking for you and your hubby? I know he eats healthy, but he isn’t vegetarian, and you eat a ton of meatless meals. Any tips for couples with different eating habits?

I make two different meals for dinner. One for me and one for him. He is not the brightest person in the kitchen and if I don’t cook, he will live on cereal, and because I love that man, I am not letting that happen! However, on busy nights I usually make the same meals and just sub the meat with extra veggies for myself. However, I do try to get him to try different things and to my surprise, he actually likes it. Just make cooking and eating together fun and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

3. Has anyone close to you become more healthy as a result of your lifestyle change?

Yes! Quite a few people actually. My mother always asks me for tips and my husband clearly eats much better and has actually started going to the gym with me. I have also had people from social networks who have followed my journey start their own. They write to me stating how I was the biggest source of their inspiration. It is such a humbling experience.

4. Please tell me how you tackle plateaus! A lot of people struggle with this and get discouraged and think they will not lose any more weight.

I agree. Plateaus are extremely discouraging, however I think of it this way: I rather be stuck at my current weight and working towards my goal than stuck at my starting weight and working towards nothing. I do a combination of things to tackle plateaus. The reason I am a vegetarian now is because of a 4 month plateau. My nutritionist recommended it after seeing my food diary. She noticed that I barely ate any carbs and that my protein intake was way too high. While that did work in the beginning, it stopped. Making the change to vegetarian helped me break that plateau immediately. Now when I get stuck, I just increase my cardio and add or eliminate different foods.

5. You’re also a very talented baker. How did you get into that? Your desserts aren’t just food– they are art!

Thank you so much. I started baking at a very young age with my mother. It is definitely a passion. Not only do I love making them, but I also love eating them. I still indulge at times but not like before. I have learned how to balance it all out. So basically, I always have my cake and eat it too.

6. Finally, what recommendations do you have for someone who is overwhelmed by the process of losing weight? Where to start?

It starts with self love. You have to love yourself enough to realize that being overweight is not making you or the people around you happy. Being overweight affects your mood, your health, and your overall sense of being. You have to choose to want to be happy and healthy. You have to realize that you are worth the change that only you can make happen. Starting is always overwhelming. I never said I wanted to lose 60lbs. I started by saying I wanted to lose 10lbs. I made small and realistic goals for myself. After achieving my first 10lbs, I made a goal for another 10lbs. For some people, even 10lbs might sound overwhelming, so why not start with 5? Give yourself a month to achieve small goals and be patient. I did not gain weight overnight so I knew it was going to take time to reverse that. It took time to change my eating habits and food addictions. After you reach your ultimate goal weight you do not go back to old habits. You continue with the lifestyle and reap the benefits of health, vitality and skinny jeans!

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Instagram Censorship

I’ve been a pretty big fan of Instagram (IG) since I joined a year ago. Instagram is a great way to connect with people of common interests, and tell a story about your life without words. Most of my photos are centered around fun dining experiences, cooking adventures, and new fashion trends I find appealing. People can tag photos with different hash tags so that others may find them. A girl who is on her way to a 5am jog may tag a photo of the park with #goodmorning, #fitness, or #jogging.

The other day I posted a photo of a simple breakfast of a crumpet, sliced apples, and peanut butter. It was not until later that I noticed my #peanutbutter hash tag was blocked! Words that are lewd or hateful are understandably blocked, but peanut butter? This lead me to search the web and find out more about censorship on Instagram. Though I never solved the peanut butter mystery, I came across an article that mentioned other censored hash tags which include terms like: #thinspo and #thinspiration. As you may guess, these photos have everything to do with getting not fit, but thin. IG has made an effort to show they do not support anything related to self harm.

Many have speculated that women such as Alexa Chung and Kate Moss being portrayed as symbols of beauty are to blame. Popular shows like 90210 were even criticized since nearly all of the female cast members were very thin. There was great concern over the question: if teens see these women and believe they are beautiful, will they also think they need to be that thin?

Kate Moss
Alexa Chung

While companies like Dove have campaigns that celebrate a woman’s inner beauty, it seems there are so many other influences expressing the opposite sentiment. This is sad to see. There are many people on IG promoting fitness, mental health, and eating to fight diseases.I find these so inspiring and it is almost every day that I find out about a new recipe or exercise move. There is still a lot of positivity, however the negative terms that I mentioned are definitely cause for concern, since self harm is never okay.

Although certain terms are blocked and others like “anorexia” automatically call up a viewer advisory and provide a website for getting help for an eating disorder, the rail-thin photos continue to be posted. I’ve even seen some with captions like “Hang in there, it will all be worth it in the end!” And this is from young women who have publicly posted their current weight at 102 pounds. Censoring is a great way to show that we do not support these behaviors, but IG can continue to block and censor all they want–it has already snowballed. New hash tags are cropping up like #ednos which stands for “eating disorder not otherwise specified”. I don’t think the problem is the tags, or even the photos. Those are just outward symptoms of something much deeper and troubling. It is a cry for help.

When you ask most women if they would change anything about their body, there is almost always some area they want to slim down. We aren’t easily satisfied. We compare ourselves to others, and it only increases our anxiety. The numbers for eating disorders in men are also increasing. We must find a way to teach people that their differences are to be celebrated. Being obese is not good, but that it’s okay not to be a size 2.

What is our happy medium when people easily obsess?

If you, or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, please seek help.Visit the National Institute of Mental Health to read more information on this subect.

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