By Liana Jacob
MEET the woman who needs to raise money for skin removal surgery after losing over eight-and-a-half stone in just eighteen months.
Administrative assistant, Jessica Wallace-Whitfield (28), from Freeport, The Bahamas, comes from a family of food lovers, coming from a Bahamian culture, which led her to indulge in ‘anything and everything’ she could get her hands on, resulting in her peak weight of 21st 3Ibs and a UK size 28 to 30.
It was only once she lost her aunt to heart disease that she realised she could not carry on the way she was going or she would face a similar fate.
She decided to clean up her diet by buying only healthy food so she wouldn’t be tempted by junk food that she would previously have eaten and has added vigorous exercise sessions of cardio and weight lifting to her routine.
Through her dedication and hard work, she managed to drop 8st 8Ibs leaving a stunning, voluptuous 12st 9Ibs and UK size eight to 10 figure.
Since her natural weight loss occurred within just 18 months, Jessica now has loose skin that has caused her discomfort, which she is planning to remove by surgery at a cost of £4,550.
“I just like bad food. The first time I lived on my own was when my weight got out of control,” Jessica said.
“I was able to eat whatever I wanted without anyone voicing their opinion. So, I ate fast food for basically every meal.
“I was always quite a shy person, so I didn’t expect to change much after losing weight, but looking back I was definitely a lot more self-conscious than I am now.
“It was always at the back of my mind, whether it was clothing related, hiding my body, or worrying about fitting into certain seats; it was a constant thing that I had to consider. I feel much more free and confident now.
“I’ve always wanted to lose weight for as long as I could remember. I knew that I was doing myself a disservice by staying this size, even though I was not really experiencing any negative health implications.
“What finally pushed me to lose weight was losing my aunt to heart disease. It was very sudden and unexpected, to the rest of us, she seemed quite healthy.
“A few years before that, we lost two uncles in the same way. I realised that even those who seemed healthy were at risk and I was approaching three-hundred-pounds at five-foot-two; I had to do something.
“I cut out carbohydrates and sugar completely, drank loads of water and did very light exercise; every day. It started with walking every day after work, swimming when I could, and I eventually walked into a gym and began using some of the machinery.
“It took me a while to muster up the courage to approach the free weights, but eventually I started lifting.
“Even sitting down is more comfortable now. Shopping of course is so much easier; I used to have to order clothes specially, but now I can get them anywhere.
“Everyday tasks that I now take for granted, would have been impossible or require loads of planning and leave me exhausted.
“I am way more confident than I used to be. It’s more than the physical though, I never felt that being overweight made me ugly.
“There’s a certain confidence that comes with accomplishing something and bettering yourself that is worth so much more than compliments on how good you look. At the risk of sounding vain, I always felt beautiful.
“The carbohydrates are definitely back in my diet, just not to the level that they were before. Now that I’m maintaining, I’m focusing more on ensuring I have a balanced diet, rather than cutting out entire food groups.
“I make sure to eat as healthy as possible day to day so that if a treat opportunity arises, I can enjoy it without feeling guilty.”
Jessica has found the sometimes inconsistent results of losing weight caused her to feel hesitant and disappointed along the way, but this didn’t deter her from reaching her golden weight.
“At a certain point, people often plateau. If you haven’t reached your goal weight, this can be very discouraging,” she said.
“The trick is to focus on the progress that you’ve already made and just keep going. Sometimes all your body needs is a change; whether that’s a cheat day or to just switch up and try a new meal plan. Plateaus don’t have to be forever.
“Most people are shocked, but really happy for me. I’ve had people walk right past me in public because they genuinely didn’t recognise me.
“Just last month, I saw my uncle while out shopping and when I walked up to him he said, “I was wondering why some girl was staring at me.”
“My advice would be to just start; you’ll figure the rest out later. Gather as much information as you possibly can and then find what works for you.
“Most importantly though, you know your body better than anyone else on this planet and people will have many opinions on it; take all of those opinions with a grain of salt and do what you feel is best.”
For more information visit: https://www.gofundme.com/profile/jessica-wallacewhitfield-32mst