Even when Haleigh Clark was active in competitive cheerleading, dancing, and track, she still felt "plus-size." Throughout her life, she attempted to lose weight but would quit three weeks after not seeing results.
"I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not overweight," Haleigh told POPSUGAR. She was eating fast food for every meal, drinking every weekend, and lying in bed every chance she had. But a serious health risk in 2014 would change that for her. "I couldn't breathe in my sleep. I would wake myself up from not breathing." Scared of what that could mean, Haleigh knew she needed to change her ways.
"When I first started working out, I did not go to the gym. I was too embarrassed about what others would think of me." So she asked her fitness-loving friend for help. "Three times a week my roommates and I would go over to her house to work out in her garage. We'd run, lift weights, kick box, and do cardio." Haleigh finally pushed aside her anxiety and went to the gym, and working out became her new favorite thing.
After about a year, Haleigh decided to go vegan and lost around close to 20 pounds in six months, but she found the vegan lifestyle difficult to keep up with and started slipping back into old habits that included fast food and "heavily drinking." She also lost her workout motivation, admitting, "I did not work out for a good year and a half."
Realizing she needed to start eating and living healthy again, she began scheduling her meals and eating smaller portions. She'd eat a small snack or meal every two hours, only went out to eat once a week, and stopped drinking. She nourished herself with smoothies, fruits, and veggies.
She rejoined the gym in late 2017 and started running again. She is now at a healthy weight, has run a handful of 5Ks, and feels overall like a better, happier person.
"You're going to slip up, and that's OK. Tomorrow is a new day," she said. Keep in mind that losing weight isn't a race, it's a journey. Set small, achievable goals, and treat yourself when you smash them. Find what works for you, and embrace slow and steady weight loss, because you'll be more likely to maintain it. Haleigh said, "Believe in yourself and find a support team!"