Welcome to the How They Did It series, where we spotlight one individual and their body transformation. Learn what they did, and how they did it to succeed at their weight loss journey. Today we are featuring Shannon Davis.
Tell Us a Little About Yourself
Hi my name is Shannon Davis, and I am twenty three years old. I live in Albany New York. I am currently a student at Hudson Valley Community College. About a year and nine months ago I used to weigh 265lbs. I am currently at 145lbs. I was big most of my middle and high school years, but I never got past 165. I started to get heavier when life got more difficult. I ate a lot more and I turned to food for everything. I turned to food when I was sad, angry, and even happy.
I grew up in a household where I was never taught how to cook. Most of the stuff my mom made you could throw in the oven or the microwave. Very rare we would have home cooked meals. At age fifteen I was placed in a group home called Parsons and there we were never taught anything either. The food would come in a cart all ready for you. It was almost always cooked in grease and even the vegetables. I was never taught that eating this way could harm me. I then got a job at McDonalds and that’s where I gained most of my weight. There was always free food and it was a stressful job, so eating to me was the only thing I really enjoyed at the job. Even when I left the job I continued to eat horribly. I knew nothing on nutrition and food to me was my “FRIEND.”
What Made You Decide to Get Fit and Healthy?
Every time I went to buy clothes I was embarrassed of the size. I hated buying bigger size clothes so I ended up buying sweats instead. I cried a lot in the fitting rooms. I hated myself. All the nice clothes I wanted were not my size or way too much for me to even afford it. When I compared prices with the skinnier clothes with the bigger plus size clothes I was amazed at the price difference. I dreaded clothes shopping. Even when I went to the amusement parks some of the rides were hard to fit in I wouldn’t even go on the rides because I didn’t want to be embarrassed. That is when I decided I wanted to get fit and that I needed to do something to change my life. I got to the point where I hated myself so much that I couldn’t hate myself anymore. I had to make a change.
What is Your Nutrition Philosophy?
So I started off very strict and it was really hard at first, but after a while I started to get used to it. I decided to eat two meal bars a day and three snacks in between and one good healthy home cooked meal, which ranged from chicken salad to turkey sandwiches and so on. I also ate a lot of fruits and vegetables. I limited myself to 1200 to 1300 calories a day. It was very hard to stay on track so I decided to let myself one day out of the week eat whatever I wanted. If it were a slice of pizza or some macaroni and cheese I would let myself have it. I am still learning so much about food and what I should do to better my food choices so that is why I do have a nutritionist to help me along my journey. I learned that 85% of what you eat reflects on your weight. I do believe that saying you are what you eat. I guess I am not a French fry anymore.
What is Your Exercise Philosophy?
I exercise at least five days a week for an hour long. I learned you always have to switch up your routine so you don’t end up plateauing. Exercise was hard in the beginning, especially to get there, but after I felt so proud of what I accomplished. Now I love the gym. If only the food was that easy I would be in perfect shape. Once you get into a routine at the gym it feels like home and you get to know people, and I know for me I’m starting to enjoy the gym a lot more now than when I first started.
What Was the Most Important Thing You Learned During Your Transformation?
One piece of advice I learned in my weight loss journey is love yourself no matter what – even when you are bigger and even through your physical changes. No one is perfect or going to be a size zero. I know for me I still struggle with the concept of I’m thick boned so I’m never going to have super skinny legs. I may never even have a flat belly but as long as I love myself that is all that matters. I also want to say that patience is a big thing. Don’t expect things to happen overnight. It is a process and you will get there. Just set your mind to it and set realistic goals and go after it. Remember, you are always stronger than what you think. This is an everyday commitment to yourself and your health.
What Mistake(s) Should People Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight?
The mistakes I feel people should avoid is remember all diets are different for everyone. What works for someone may not work for you. So stick to what works for you. Also avoid going into places that you know you can’t resist having something that will harm your weight loss, but when you have the willpower to go into those places and order healthy then I would go in. Remember, everything in moderation. Also, try to always pack a lunch if you’re always on the go, as it helps to avoid eating unhealthy things and buying out all the time.
What Advice Do You Have For Others?
Weight loss is an everyday commitment, but I believe anyone can achieve it especially when you believe in yourself. You need to believe you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. I am still working on my weight loss and it’s a process. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I do believe I am going to accomplish it and I believe in others as well. Good Luck to everyone!
Be sure to check out the past editions of How They Did It. If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the How They Did It body transformation series, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you’re interested. More details will be provided. Don’t be shy. Your story will inspire others!