Leandie Williams, shares her wonderful weight loss transformation journey with Bodybuilding.com on Women Fitness.
Lets hear her story.
When did you realize that you needed to lose weight?
There were many reasons for my weight loss, but the key ones factored in my health/quality of life, and how other people treated me.
I had developed Type 2 Diabetes over time and done nothing to correct it, and my doctor feared I would have a stroke or heart attack just from walking briskly. I wore a heart rate monitor for 24 hours and they performed tests to make sure I did not need to be hospitalized. Despite having these health issues, I still had no sense of urgency about taking control of my life. My weight at spiraled out of control and I was the heaviest I have ever been.
One morning in 2013, I was booked in to fly to another city for work, when the seat belt would not fit over my stomach, and I battled to fit in the chair. I was so uncomfortable, and deeply embarrassed. It was also at this time when I had bought the biggest pants I could find in a super sized store and they were too small, and it occurred to me that at 28 years of age, I would need to have my clothing made. I realized I had to do something drastic.
How has your weight loss journey been? What were the milestones that you had to overcome?
I have truly had a wonderful journey. After a month into my journey, I decided to go public on social media for accountability, and be brutally honest about it every step of the way. The support I still receive to this day is unbelievable. I have been fortunate enough to have had the right people come into my life at the right time, and they each taught me valuable lessons to achieve my goals.
In the beginning of my journey, being so grossly overweight, I was not able to do anything gym related. It impacts you mentally when you realize there are a lot of things you cannot do, and it’s your poor decisions that brought you to that point. I could barely walk without being breathless and had no strength whatsoever. Slowly, I started to train by only using my body weight. Recovery was very tough on me. There were days I could barely move, only to hit the gym again because I knew that this time I was going to see this through.
During the later part of my journey, extreme back pain limited me. Whilst this was a blow to my progress, it allowed for a process where I was able to obtain useful information from a certified trainer that has helped me to alleviate my pain and in turn made me wiser when it comes to training and stretching properly.
Not many people speak openly about it, but I have battled daily with depression and anxiety. When the bad times happen, that’s when I have had to make a mental decision to not throw in the towel, and rather use it to wipe the sweat off of my face while I am at the gym, and it’s very difficult because in those times, you just want to crawl under a blanket and stay there. Exercising is a very good outlet for me, especially because I have a sedentary job, and there is no feeling like after a good gym session.
What was your fitness regime like during this period?
My training began with 20 minutes hardcore cardio and 40 minutes light weights. I would have 2 days dedicated to additional Cardio sessions.
I started to plateau and the focus was placed on intense cardio, and after a few weeks I resumed the above. Another long standing plateau ensued.
I always tell people that what works for me may be different to what works for them. We all function and react differently. I totally changed it up and started excluding cardio completely, doing heavier weights and incorporating functional body work outs to get my heart rate up, and this is working extremely well for me at present. After much trial and error, instead of splitting my workouts, I have seen better results from going heavy with the weights and performing full body workouts at each session.
In a typical day, what is your diet like?
Initially I was placed on a high protein, and minimal fat and carbs eating plan. After yo-yo’ing for quite some time, a nutritionist placed me on an eating plan suitable to my body type, which includes proteins, fats, carbs, dairy and natural sugar. I have found it in my best interests to limit white sugar. I aim for fresh food and nothing that is processed.
My meal plans can change up quite drastically depending on the goal I am aiming for. I eat approximately 1800 calories on a daily basis, and have five to six meals a day.
Who/What do you consider the greatest motivation behind your healthy weight loss journey?
It was of great importance to me to make my mom proud. She was the only one that was honest with me and told me that something needed to change. I didn’t want to hear it, but she was right. She has supported me every single day of my journey.
Also, I am a procrastinator and tend to give up very quickly. I had started a weight loss venture for what felt like a hundredth time and for once, I wanted to make myself proud and see the biggest battle of my life through. I didn’t want to do this for someone else; this time it was for me. It’s four years later, and the ups and downs do come, but I am still here pushing forward and accomplishing more than I ever thought possible. Giving up is not an option.