After finding out her boyfriend of eight years had cheated on her, Nicole Summerfield, whose highest weight was 292 pounds, felt compelled to make a change. If you have a lot of weight to lose, read about her inspiring journey and how she lost more than 170 pounds naturally.
Nikki began her weight-loss journey in the beginning of 2004. "I had made it my New Year's resolution to lose weight and be healthy, because I was so far from it," she told POPSUGAR. Within a couple of weeks into that year, she split up with her longtime boyfriend of eight years once she discovered he'd cheated on her. The stress and sadness of breaking up made Nicole lose her appetite, and she dropped 20 pounds without trying.
"He obviously left me for another girl."
She was devastated and said, "I stood looking in the mirror, honestly thinking no one is going to want to date me. He obviously left me for another girl." At first she thought, "Screw him. I am going to look better than her, and he'll want me back." But then she realized that she was worth the time and effort and decided "to make this change for me and only me. Not only that I NEEDED it, I wanted it."
Nicole dropped more than 170 pounds without surgery or dieting. "I follow a plan that I figured out works for me. I don't diet due to the fact that it's temporary. Eating right and working out have to become a lifestyle, not a fad." Nicole lost the weight by eating a low-carb, high-protein diet — she aims for 80 to 100 grams of protein and 30 to 40 grams of carbs each day. She also does intermittent fasting (IF), eating all her daily calories within an eight-hour window. On a normal day, she eats the following:
Breakfast: 1 cup of liquid egg whites, scrambled, and 5 slices of extra crispy bacon
Snack 1: Handful of almonds and a Babybel cheese
Lunch: Turkey meat cooked in water seasoned with fajita seasoning, fresh red and green peppers, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, 1 tablespoon of salsa, and 1 tablespoon of sour cream
Snack 2: 1 serving size of pepperoni and cheese
Dinner: Grilled salmon with broccoli
Snack 3: Handful of almonds
She drinks a gallon of water a day as well and says, "I'm not someone that is always super hungry, so eating like this is good for me."
Aside from doing IF and eating a healthy diet, Nikki also did 30 to 60 minutes of cardio a day, as well as strength training different parts of her body. She always switched up the exercises she did to keep her body guessing.
This whole experience even inspired Nikki to become a group fitness instructor. She wanted her students to believe that if they put in the hard work, they would get results. She had a regular 9-to-5 job, but began teaching indoor cycling classes and boot-camp-style classes like aqua boot camp.
It started as a part-time thing, teaching one to two classes a week. But her following grew faster than expected, and she is now teaching seven classes per week, as well as subbing classes for other instructors. Nikki says, "My students will tell me that I motivate them, that I have helped them lose weight, that the reason they come to class is because I make them feel good and believe in themselves."
If you're on your own weight-loss journey, Nikki says it's so important to be ready — if you're not, you will most likely make excuses, and you will fail. Know that it will not be easy. You'll have to want it and work for it. You will have to put in the time.
Nikki says, "Don't underestimate yourself. You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to, as cheesy as it might sound." Don't give up on yourself, especially on the days you feel less motivated or want to give up. Push through and celebrate every single victory, every step in the right direction. You are unique and amazing, and soon you'll get to the point where YOU yourself feel that way.