Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Kayla Cody is 26, 5-foot-2, and currently weighs 140 pounds. In 2013, after struggling with her weight for most of her life, she decided to get healthier to prepare for weight-loss surgery. Once she started losing weight, she realized she could do it on her own. This is her weight-loss story.
The Turning Point
Since I was about 9 or 10 years old, my weight has been an issue. I have been struggling with dieting and trying to lose weight from a very young age.
When I was 20 years old and a senior in college, I was very depressed, overweight, and unmotivated. I was drinking a lot, smoking cigarettes, and eating a poor diet. I knew if I didn’t make a serious life change, I was going to end up with major health issues or even dead. At my heaviest, I weighed 280 pounds and I was considering gastric bypass surgery.
I was able to tackle my weight loss one step at a time. My first motivation was to get gastric bypass surgery. I went to a seminar to get educated about the surgery, and then I quit drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating bad foods immediately. I didn’t want anything in my life more than I wanted that surgery and to be skinny. Before you can get approved for the surgery, though, you must go through different health evaluations as well as see a nutritionist for six months, to prove to doctors you can maintain a healthy diet. After three months of learning about nutrition, I started to lose weight without even trying very hard. After that, I decided that I didn’t want the surgery and I could just put a little extra work into it and lose the weight on my own. I also didn’t want the extra health issues that would have come from the surgery, especially since I now felt like I had another option. That other option for me was exercising and eating healthy in order to lose the weight.
I started out by eating healthy foods that I already knew I liked. I enjoyed things like chicken, broccoli, green beans, eggs, and oatmeal. I found healthier substitutes for foods that I would normally eat. I didn’t make it feel like I was on a diet. If I wanted chicken fingers, I would make my own out of chicken breast and seasonings. I would bake my food instead of frying it — I made little changes like this to my diet so I could enjoy what I was eating. It doesn’t make sense to go on a diet with foods you hate because the diet isn’t going to last if you don’t like it. To this day, I still don’t like salad, so I don’t eat it. I get my greens from spinach and other substitutes that I like.
When I began exercising, I started by walking on a treadmill. I wasn’t going that fast and after 10-20 minutes I would be short of breath and sweating, but I kept working at it until I got better. Every day I would be able to last longer or increase the speed. After working out in the gym regularly, I started to get to know some of the other regulars at the gym, and they taught me how to use weights. I just kept progressing from there.
I felt discouraged at first because most of the people at the gym were more athletic than I was. Even with these thoughts, I stuck to it and the weight kept falling off. Every time I was able to see my weight go down on the scale or I was able to fit into a smaller pair of pants, I would get a rush of excitement. I began to just set little goals for myself. At first my goal was to get to 250 pounds, then 220, then 200. Every time I would reach a goal, I would set a new one.