FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
TG: Tameika Gentles, I work in HR for a well-known Canadian Brand. Hobbies include hanging out with my husband, friends and family. Also love to cook and live a healthy active lifestyle.
FFFC: What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?
TG: I had been overweight my entire life. About 5 years ago, after living on campus for two years while attending university, my weight had reached its highest point. I gained 20 pounds and it was becoming increasingly hard to do simple tasks like climb stairs or speed walk to a class I was running late for. Finally, I asked a friend of mine if I had put on some weight and she responded with “yes, you have”. As a side note, since I was always that fun outgoing girl, no one ever commented on me being “overweight”. My friend’s answer came as a bit of a surprise to me. At that time, she had been one of my closest friends for 10 years and I saw concern in her eyes. It was getting out of control and I knew it. I call it “my breaking point”. It was from that point on that I seriously knew a change had to come. From that point on, my life changed for the better!
FFFC: What was your beginning and current weight or measurements?
TG: Beginning weight was 220, current weight is 130.
FFFC: How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?
TG: Between 9 and 10 months
FFFC: What physical activities did you participate in during your journey?
TG: Started with small things. Volleyball and Squash – sports I really enjoyed. I then started attending fitness classes at my university gym (I was extremely nervous at first to go to the gym on my own without having the knowledge). Classes were a great way to teach me the fundamentals. When I developed the courage to go to the gym on my own, I started with walking on the treadmill and basic weight training exercises. We are in a day in age where information is so easily accessible. Research (YouTube and Google) played a huge factor in my weight loss. I was also a people watcher. I would observe those physically fit in the gym and would replicate workouts. Overtime, the intensity continued to increase and I developed routines that worked for me.
FFFC: How did your eating habits change?
TG: Oh gosh, I have to start off by saying I’ve tried EVERY fad diet in the book. Low carb, low fat, consuming too little calories. It took a while to develop a well-balanced diet but I did. It was the only way I was able to see the weight come off AND stay off. I started with the obvious – slowly cut sweets/soda/junk food/pop out of my diet, I dined out less and consumed smaller portions. Again, Google was my saviour here. I would go to popular sites and Research Research Research! This was not an easy process, and I’m still learning today. It was gradual and took time, but I was patient through it all and have now developed a lifestyle that works for me.
FFFC: What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
TG: Every morning I start off with a glass of cool water. On my way to work I will have hot water with lemon. When I get to work, I have breakfast. Weekdays are pretty standard – Egg Whites (and I’ll usually through a whole egg in there), fruit with Flax or HempSeeds, high fibre granola, and a slice of toast. I’ll sometimes have oatmeal and a smoothie as well. On weekends, I tend to get a little more creative.
For lunch, I usually have a salad. A very hearty salad. No two salads are ever the same for me (which is why I LOVE salads, so much versatility). Although, if I’ve cooked the night before, I’ll usually bring leftovers. This typically consists of a meat, and vegetables. If I ever cheat (i.e. craving a slice of pizza) – lunch is where I’ll do this. It’s early enough in the day where I can work it off!
For dinner, it changes all the time. I’ll usually have a protein (fish, chicken, or meat) with a Veg and a carb (what and how much of the carb will be dependent on whether or not I’ve gone to the gym that day).
I also have fruits and or nuts as snacks throughout the day. It feels like I’m always eating!
FFFC: What is your favorite fitness activity?
TG: Volleyball and Squash. Outside of this, I love running, spinning and weight training.
FFFC: What do you do now to maintain your physique?
TG: As cliché as it sounds, I’ve developed a lifestyle that works for my schedule, peaks my interests, and maintains my physique. I’m a goal oriented person, so I’m always setting physical goals for myself. Something about achieving an accomplishment is so fulfilling to me!
FFFC: How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?
TG: Every time I had a craving, I would research a way I could “health-ify” it (i.e. if I wanted pizza, I would research a healthy pizza alternative and make it)! The last thing I wanted to feel was deprived – but I also wanted to remain on track. Presidents Choice Blue Menu was great for me at first (this may only be available in Canada, but it’s a healthy line of food products available at most grocery stores). It allowed me to enjoy the things I loved (in moderation) in a healthier way. I also planned my meals for the week and would pre-make my food on Sundays – this way there was always food available and I wouldn’t be tempted by the bad stuff. I worked the gym and physical activity into my routine. I would actually allot time in my agenda for my workouts to hold myself accountable. I would also go with a friend so I was committed to going at the scheduled time. I joined a volleyball league – by doing this, I was committed to going so I wouldn’t let me team down!
FFFC: What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?
TG: Baby Steps! Don’t get caught up in the quick fixes because they do not work. Also – life is too short and you have to enjoy it. So develop a lifestyle that works for you. Don’t replicate the habits of those you read about in articles and see on social media outlets. Take the learnings and make it work for your lifestyle! I know a lot of people are hesitant to get into the gym – the best thing I did was start with classes. They really showed me the basics including types of workouts and FORM (especially if you have a good instructor). When shopping around for a gym, ask to see their class schedule. Look for those with versatility so you can really test out several classes before figuring out which one(s) you love. Also – research! It isn’t easy, but you have to put in work to see the results.
FFFC: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?
TG: That there are quick fixes/solutions.
FFFC: Do you have any fitness idols? Who are they?
TG: I love Jillian Michaels (from The Biggest Loser). She was overweight too, lost it, and is now changing lives daily. Plus, I enjoy her approach to training.
FFFC: How can readers learn more about your transformation and journey online (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?
- Instagram @TameikaG
- Twitter @TameikaG
- I’ll be launching a blog soon! More details to come on my Instagram and Twitter accounts.
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