Three years ago, Ukwori and her then-boyfriend flirted with the idea of starting a weight-loss journey together. Shortly after, they broke up. But that didn't stop Ukwori from following through with her plans and embarking on her own weight-loss journey anyway — all by herself. Today, she couldn't be happier that she did, because she's down 65 pounds and her life has never been better. If Ukwori can turn things around for herself, anybody can! Read on for her full story.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey? What made you decide to?
Ukwori Ukuku: I started my weight-loss journey on Oct. 30, 2015. The man that I was dating at the time suggested that we start a competition to lose weight and become healthier. At that time, we were discussing ideas of marriage and a future with children, and we decided we needed to be lighter and healthier to make that happen. We ended our relationship shortly before Oct. 30, 2015, but I decided to continue on. I wasn't happy with where I was physically. I had constant knee and back pain, and I decided enough was enough.
PS: What was your starting weight?
UU: My starting weight was 245 pounds.
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
UU: I have lost 65 pounds.
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
UU: I first began by researching lots of diets and exercises. My younger sister was part of the Fit Girl's Guide community on Instagram, and I asked her to tell me more before deciding to join. Fit Girl's Guide 28-Day Jumpstart has taught me all about exercise and meal planning/prepping and introduced me to a community of women who have cheered me on along my entire journey. I still to this day incorporate many of the things I learned in the Fit Girl books, but I also supplement other fitness programs too.
"A scale cannot track all of the positives that you have achieved on your journey."
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
UU: In the beginning, I worked out at least four to five times a week. Closer to year two, I began to incorporate running as well. Today I do both, and most times I work out five to six times a week because I enjoy it and it has become such a big part of my life.
PS: What are some nonscale victories you've experienced?
UU: I have several nonscale victories. I love to travel and used to be embarrassed because I could not cross my legs in my seat and I would spill over into the seat next to me. I now can cross my legs on an airplane and I fit in my own seat. Another nonscale victory is I no longer experience knee pain. I can also carry my suitcase up several flights of stairs without getting winded. I can run several miles. I have gone from a dress size of 18/20 to 8/10.
A scale cannot track all of the positives that you have achieved on your journey. The scale doesn't show how you have swapped muscle for fat. The scale doesn't show how the changes you have made physically have spilled over into your mental, spiritual, personal, and professional life. This journey has shown me that I can do it and that I can put just as much, if not more, effort into other areas of my life as well.
PS: How do you stay motivated?
"Even if you mess up, you can still move forward and learn from the messups."
UU: I remember where I started and how that woman felt, and I look where I am now and acknowledge what this woman can do — and has done. This pushes me to keep going. The fact that my story and life inspire others also keeps pushing me. I am a firm believer that the lives we live are not solely for our own benefit. They can be used to teach, share, and inspire others to know that they can do similar amazing things if they put their minds to it. Even if you mess up, you can still move forward and learn from the messups.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
UU: Breakfast is a smoothie during the work week. On Saturdays, I cook a full brunch. That's my treat. I love to cook, so I typically cook several times during the week and rotate my lunches and dinners. My meals include a healthy portion of veggies, a protein, and carb. I snack on fruits, popcorn, and nuts with an occasional sweet.
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
"Please realize that there is not a one-size-fits-all for this journey. What works for me may not be what you."
UU: You can do it. Know why you want to start your journey and do not place time constraints on yourself. Realize that you will mess up, but remember messing up doesn't mean that you failed or should quit. Something I have been telling my friends is that if I mess up at 10:05 p.m., I can start right back over at 10:06 p.m. I don't have to let a lot of time pass to get it back together.
Also, learn what works for you. Please realize that there is not a one-size-fits-all for this journey. What works for me may not be what you. You need to do research, and don't compare your progress to others. Know that you can mix several different things together to work for you. Also, be transparent. Share. Let others in.
PS: Anything else you want to share?
UU: This journey takes a community, like Fit Girl's Guide. Find yours, and if you need a cheerleader in your corner, know that I'm here to cheer you on. Reach out to me on Instagram (operation_orifitgirl) anytime.