My name is Faith Sloop (@trainingforamazing), and I am 23 years old. I live in Cleveland, Ohio, and I’m a content creator. Compete on The great race became my goal and motivation. It pushed me to start include more nutritious foods in my diet and run every week. I’ve lost 190 pounds.
Before my current weight loss journey, I was counting calories, restricting, and monitoring my weight for as long as I can remember. Growing up on a low income and busy (I wanted to be in every club), cheap fast food was the most accessible and convenient.
All my life I was in the diet cycle – restrictive and binge eating – over and over. By the time I was 16, I had gained and lost the same 10 pounds, which felt like a million times over. At some point I stopped weighing myself.
I remember weighing about 400 pounds during my freshman year of college. I was only 18 at the time and terrified of how my health would end if I continued down that path.
I had been looking for the motivation to get healthy for a while, but things settled down when I took a job at my university’s admissions office as a tour guide in the summer of 2017.
We had a lot of free time and I decided it would be fun to pass the time by watching a TV show. I opened the Hulu app on my phone and got a new show suggestion, The great race. There were 27 seasons available, so I slowly started to find my way.
Everything changed from that day on. I knew immediately that I would do everything I could to make my dream of participating in competitions a reality The great race. I also knew that at over 400 pounds and in the position I was in at the time, it would take a total reinvention to make that dream a reality. I decided that day that I needed to get healthy so that one day I could take part in the show. (My dream hasn’t come true yet, but it continues to motivate me!)
As someone who has been on a diet since childhood, it was best for me to go slow.
I’ve never cut anything out of my diet (carbs, sugar, etc). Instead, I focused on adding more nutrition from healthy foods. Including more of the Turn right food, instead of taking out the “bad food” is what worked for me.
This is what I eat in a day now.
Breakfast: Superfood smoothie (apple, spinach, peanut butter powder, chia seed, almond milk)
Lunch: Thai shrimp gyoza from Trader Joe’s, edamame, low-fat string cheese, seasonal fruit
Snacks: Dried apricots, rice cakes, popcorn, bell pepper
Dinner: Spaghetti squash with meatballs, turkey burgers, and cauliflower tater tots, or vegetarian heavy stir-fry bowls (brown rice, meat of choice, bell peppers, onions, pineapple)
Dessert: Surpasses Strawberry Ice Creams, Light Up Ice Cream, Rice Krispies Treats
I also started exercising by walking slowly on the treadmill while watching an episode of The great race.
That hour I gave myself at the gym was my escape from classes, assignments, and responsibilities. Nowadays, sports looks a bit more intensive. I try to jog or run four days a week and hope to sign up for my first half marathon this summer!
I love the feeling of getting my body moving every day, whether that’s a YouTube dance workout (EMKFit is my absolute favorite) or a walk! I like to exercise at my own pace, so doing things alone is always my choice in the end.
I’m not going to lie – I started running because I knew if and when my dream to participate in The great race comes out, running becomes a pretty important skill. But I’ve found love to be able to move my body in a way I never could before.
These three changes have made my weight loss a success.
Take it slow. I always tried to rush my weight loss by cutting out major food groups and limiting them like crazy. It would work for a week, but then I would binge again. It wasn’t until I started changing who I was (making exercise an important part of my life, learning what fruits and vegetables I liked, and incorporating them into my daily diet) that things really changed. I always say to people who want to lose weight, “If you’re not ready to change your lifestyle and habits, you’re not ready to change at all.”
Listen to your body. I now consider myself an “intuitive eater,” meaning I don’t necessarily stick to a prescribed three-meal-a-day plan. Instead, I listen to my hunger signals. As a snacker, this has helped me curb so much of the mindless snacking I was used to. I call it ‘mouth boredom’. Sometimes, when I hadn’t eaten in a while, I ate something just because. But now I really listen to my body and ask what it needs.
Learn to like moving your body. I like to tell people who want to lose weight, “If you don’t like running, you can still lose weight and never run a day in your life.” Growing up in America, so many of us learn to hate exercise because it’s forced on us. You can lose weight by dancing, swimming, kayaking, hiking, and about a million other ways. Find one you like and do it!
I have lost a little over 190 pounds and it has taken about 3.5 years.
People ask me all the time, “How did you hold the motivation for so long?” And the truth is I didn’t. What I did was building habits that I would continue even on days when I didn’t feel motivated. People think that losing weight should be non-stop exercise and salads, and that’s just not true.
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