The rewards of putting your health first

LatriceMarieLast year I came to the realization that for me to live my life to the fullest, I had to take better care of myself. I weighed over 200 pounds and suffered from lower back and knee pain, low energy, and simply didn’t feel attractive. I had never really noticed the severity of the weight I’d gained, but as I stood in the mirror and faced facts, I came to a few realizations.

First, I realized that a lot of older women in my family were and still are severely overweight, and because of this their quality of life is diminished by diabetes, joint problems, and a whole host of other issues. When my daughter was born, I promised her I wasn’t going to be one of those women; I was on the verge of breaking that promise.

Second, and just as important, I realized that often, as women, our focus is on taking care of our families first, and we put ourselves last on the list. In order for me to be the best woman, mother, wife and friend, I needed to put my health first. Neither I nor my family could afford to have me comprise it. I decided to change my life for the better.

This past year I’ve lost over 30 pounds, dropped from a 16 dress size to a size 10, and have watched 4.5 inches disappear from my waist! The back pain I experienced is gone, and the knee pain is subsiding, though still not completely gone.

Additionally, I have seen both my diastolic and systolic blood pressure drop over 20 points. Those results didn’t come easy. As I began my journey, I needed to not only pick up the technical knowledge of health and fitness, but also to address some of the underlying emotional causes of my weight gain.

Through self-reflection, I realized I was an emotional eater. When I confronted this habit, weight loss became much easier. The ability to realize when your body needs food versus when you just feel bored or sad and want to eat to fill a void is crucial to good health.

Your body, even with exercise, simply cannot burn the extra calories consumed by emotional eating.  So instead of eating when stressed, I’ll do weight training or crunches. There’s nothing better than taking out frustrations on the weights. Long-term beating up on the weights, rather than the food, creates a much healthier and much better looking you.

For exercise, I do a combination of cardio and weights five to six days a week for at least an hour. On days that I don’t have much time, I do High Interval Training, which allows me to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time. The combination of weights and cardio allows me to burn fat while sculpting my shape at will.

Before I began my weight-loss journey. I had no idea how important it is to eat breakfast. I succumbed to a routine of eating a big lunch and dinner, thinking I would lose weight because I ate less. I was completely wrong!

People who are successful at weight loss eat a healthy breakfast within one hour of waking up; it keeps them fuller so that they do not overeat, and it speeds up their metabolism. Now I make sure I consume three energizing and metabolism-boosting ingredients for breakfast: whole grains, lean proteins and fruits or vegetables.

One of my favorite recipes is a Greek yogurt recipe. It only takes a few minutes to assemble, but it’s delicious!

-1 cup of Greek yogurt

-1/3 cup of fresh fruit

-1½ tsp. of granola or protein cereal (I use Kashi brand)

Mix fresh fruit and yogurt together, then add granola or protein cereal on top! Yum. Only 215 calories and an enriching 14 grams of protein!

My big goal is to lose another 30 pounds over the next year. I love watching my body transform, and I love the confidence from knowing that I’m getting into the best shape of my life. I know that I’m not alone in this and that we all can achieve “glamour from within.”


Latrice Marie welcomes reader responses to mariecu08@ya, or visit her at