By Liana Jacob
MEET the woman who decided to turn her life around and shed an impressive six-stone four pounds in just a year and a half after the threat of diabetes began to overshadow her life.
Lorena Assis (23), from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was brought up in a family that didn’t care about healthy eating and exercise which led her to pick up a bad habit of unhealthy eating and no exercise.
Her lifestyle became worse throughout her teen years and this led her to reach a peak weight of 18st 12Ibs and a UK size 22 to 24.
As the years went by, her health started to deteriorate, making it difficult for her to walk for longer than five minutes without her legs feeling ‘heavy’ and began experiencing diabetic symptoms such as excessive hunger and fatigue.
She decided she had enough of feeling this way and flipped her lifestyle around from doing no exercise at all to working out at least five times a week and shrunk down to a svelte 12st 8Ibs and a UK size 12 to 14. She now only consumes below 1,000 calories a day.
“Since my childhood, with bad eating habits and without having great incentives to exercise, the situation got worse over the years,” Lorena said.
“It all became worse in my teens and when I lived on my own. I felt extremely bad and dissatisfied with myself. My self-esteem was very low. Every time I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt very disappointed and wept.
“The main reason that led me to change my lifestyle was my concern for my health; the fact that I was about to get sick, I was already considered pre-diabetic.
“I could barely walk for five minutes without feeling like my legs were heavy, burning and I had a terrible shortness of breath.
“I was a completely sedentary and sad person, along with this and my dissatisfied feeling about myself, gave me the strength to decide to change into a better and happier person.
“None of my clothes fit me anymore. I was always hiding in photos. I was tired of running away from myself.”
Lorena initially started reducing the size of portions she ate before and chose healthier and more natural food; avoiding soft drinks and sugary snacks.
Along with this, she also started to exercise and burn the calories she consumed by walking and lifting weights.
“Weight loss didn’t change my life; it has brought me life. Before my weight loss journey, I only existed but I didn’t know what the word life really meant,” she said.
“Weight loss has brought me confidence and has shown me that I am able to achieve all my goals if I’m willing to fight for them.
“Over time, as I was losing the weight, I had to tighten my diet, restrict it a little more to decrease my carbohydrate intake.
“In training, I started to intensify and become more involved in my physical activities. The hardest thing is to start from nothing.
“The change scares me, looking at the trajectory that we need to go through makes us wonder if we will succeed or if it will lead to another failure.
“People are shocked and they say that this person is not me but my sister. I always get a lot of praise and compliments. These words motivate me every day to never give up.
“The beginning will always be difficult. Every change scares us, since we are accustomed to self-indulgence.
“So, any point off the line will scare us off but it will beat our despair and the temptation to give up. The important thing is to move forward.
“Always think to yourself that today you are closer than yesterday and so on. Your sacrifice in the end will be worth it.”
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