By Tom Dare
MEET THE inspirational young woman who has beaten her weight gain caused by endometriosis treatment and mental abuse to lose an astonishing 75 pounds in just eleven months.
25-year-old Destiny Gonzalez, from Sarasota, Florida, had seen her weight reach a peak of 285 pounds after a turbulent few years which saw her diagnosed with a series of medical conditions including endometriosis and began suffering with depression.
And, after growing up in an abusive, drug-addled home, Destiny admits that by the time she moved in with her husband she had stopped caring about her weight.
“I was very comfortable being overweight,” she says.
“I come from a drug addicted, abusive and extremely dysfunctional family and I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.
“But it didn’t completely spiral out of control until I got married, and unfortunately my husband and I both share the same love for food. I am an emotional eater and I’m also a binge eater, and at the time I had no self-control.
“In 2014 I reached 263 pounds, my heaviest weight at the time, and at that point I did start working out and losing weight. I lost 53 pounds at first, but then I plateaued and lost motivation. I didn’t want to keep working out. I wanted to eat what everyone else ate.
“So I quickly gained my weight back and then some, and in February 2016 I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.
“And then in March 2016 my little brother passed away from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and I started struggling badly with depression.”
Destiny says that this was the point at which she reached her peak weight of 285 pounds, saying she was left constantly feeling tired and lacking the motivation to get up and do anything at all.
But in the September of that year she says that something changed in her, and she decided that she’d had enough of the life she’d been living.
“One day I just decided I had had enough,” she said.
“There was going to be no more ‘I’ll start Monday.’ I was just done being emotionally unstable, done being tired and lazy and obese.
“On September 8 I weighed in at 285 pounds, and when I started out I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew that how I was living was not working for me.
“I didn’t have a nutritionist or trainer, I just went to the gym and started on the elliptical for the first couple of weeks for just an hour a day.
“Then, as silly and pathetic as I probably looked, I started incorporating weights, and I started eating cleaner and limiting my portions.
“I did some research on how to lose weight, but I didn’t have any tricks up my sleeve. There were no diet pills, no wraps, no shakes and no surgery.
“I go to bed when I start getting hungry, and I wake up at 4:30 am to go to the gym. I even bring my own snacks everywhere I go to avoid temptation.
“The hardest part was definitely watching friends and family continue to eat the way I used to, and saying no to food that I really want.”
Destiny says that it’s all been worth it, though, after seeing her dress size drop for a 26 to a 16 following a regimented routine of exercise and healthy eating.
“I’ve been on my journey for a little over 11 months now and I’m down 75 pounds. What drives me everyday, what keeps me motivated, is knowing I will never be this young again.
“So I am fully committed to being the healthiest me I can be so that I am able to live life to its fullest.”
And Destiny is doing just that, with her weight-loss opening up possibilities she never even dreamed of before.
“I am now able to do things I’ve never done,” she said.
“I am going skydiving in a week, and I’ve already signed up for my first 5k. I even plan on going zip lining soon!
“Being overweight really limited the activities I could participate in.
“Now I feel so confident. No one and nothing can get in my way now. I’m unstoppable.”
So what advice would Destiny give to others facing the kind of uphill struggle that she’s had to endure over the past year?
“Find what is going to drive you to go all the way, dig deep, and always do it for yourself.
“Just get out there and change something. Even if it’s going for a twenty-minute walk or just cutting out soda. Start slow if you need to.”