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The 220-Pound Breaking Point

Tameika Gentles took control of her weight gain by researching the science of weight loss and training.

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I was another classic story of the girl who had been overweight her entire life. Growing up I was the fun, jolly, overweight friend that everyone loved! I was in the arts, so performing was my life and took up the majority of my time. Being active and playing sports was never a priority. And my family loves to eat! We’re of Jamaican descent and needless to say, being health conscious was never of true importance. We just ate great food and ate it well! Traditional foods were a huge part of our culture and lifestyle.

As I got older, the weight piled on. I went from being the cute, chubby Tameika to becoming severely overweight. After my first year of university and gaining yet another 20 pounds (forget the freshman 15), I’d reached 220 pounds… what I called my breaking point.

The 220 Pound Breaking Point

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The breaking point is the point where you are utterly fed up. Not the “I kind of want to change, but will do it when I have time” mentality. Rather, it’s the time when you are just sick and tired of always being miserable: being sad because your clothes don’t fit you the way you want them to, feeling let down because no matter how much you “try” to lose weight, you continue to pile it on, and feeling ashamed of being the person who can’t play sports, or be active, or even do “simple” tasks like running to the bus stop when you’re late. It’s constant fatigue because you just want to be the best, but you are sad that you have let it get this far. And most of all you are sick of feeling sorry for yourself and crying all the time.

My breaking point was the point of no return. It all started with research. I was a great student and loved to learn. This was during a time when Instagram, blogs, and a wealth of information wasn’t so readily available. Ten years ago I went to the library and took out books on weight loss. I studied the science of weight loss, caloric intake, macros, fitness, weight training, and the psychology of obesity.  I was basically a sponge, absorbing everything that I could.

It started off with deciding I was going to make my own food. As a student, that consisted of very basic and very affordable meals. But I knew making and preparing my own meals was a first step. Over time it evolved into making my meals really fun, buying healthy cookbooks, and trying new recipes.

At the gym, it started with fitness classes! Through research, I knew how important strength training was. Initially it started off with just cardio, but I quickly learned that if I wanted the body I dreamt of, with minimal loose skin, strength training was important. Fitness classes taught me the basics; what a bicep curl was, how to properly squat, and how to target different muscle groups.

My love for training evolved. It snowballed into the weight room and planning out my workouts. I loved the results my body was experiencing and was committed to seeing where I could take this.

After nine very dedicated months, I lost nearly 100 pounds. The key to my weight loss was education. When I hit a plateau, I would figure out ways to change up my routine and keep progressing. My family and friends supported me through this journey. But for me, education and research was (and continues to be) the key to my success.

After ten years, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m even preparing for my first bikini competition and taking my fitness to the next level. I’ve devoted all of my spare time to helping others through personal and online training. I’m committed to this industry and helping my clients achieve the happiness I’ve found.

What has helped me stay in shape is making my lifestyle work specifically for me! Let’s face it, I will never be the girl eating no carbs, taking tons of supplements, and having salad three times a day. I’m a lover of food, so I’ve learned ways to make all of my favorite foods healthier. I have more restrictions, yes, but I never feel without. This is what I now instill in all of my clients.

For my present-day diet and maintenance, I’m eating Quest Bars daily. I wish Quest had been around 8 years ago when I lost all that weight, as Quest products have played a massive part in helping me keep it all off. The powders are delicious, too!

I never want to go back to the point where I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I absolutely refuse to. I love being the best version of me. I love that I’m treating my body the way it deserves to be treated. I love that I’m doing everything in my power to avoid sickness and disease. I love that I put myself first, no matter what I have going on in life. I love that I continue to beat the odds and challenge myself. We do so much for others -- family, friends, strangers – yet some of us can’t even find a half hour each day to devote to our own well being.

I choose life, I choose good health, and most importantly… I choose ME!

 

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