By Liana Jacob
MEET the British woman who overcame her battle with depression by dropping nearly five-and-a-half-stone in just nine-months to achieve the model physique she now loves.
Fitness studio sales associate, Mari Llewellyn (23), from Guildford, UK, now residing in New York, USA, had always been an emotional person and has suffered with depression and anxiety for most of her life. Her mental health declined while she was studying in college where she pursued a party lifestyle, overeating up to 3,000-calories a day and reaching 17st 7lbs.
After realising her mental health was deteriorating and stopping her from living life to the full by travelling and hiking, Mari decided to half her calorie consumption and is now a toned 12st 2Ibs and is consuming the average 2,200-calories a day.
“I have dealt with an emotional disorder for most of my life. A large part of this disorder is depression and anxiety,” Mari said.
“My mental health was suffering while I was at college. As a result, I partied and ate a lot. I’ve always been on the skinnier side, but my weight spun out of control when my depression got worse.
“I truly don’t think that I valued myself at all before my transformation. I never cared about my health, and I never set goals for myself.
“I had always been happy with my body, until I gained all the weight. Looking back on it now, I think I needed to hit rock bottom to get to where I am now.
“The main reason I decided to lose weight was because of my mental health. I wanted to improve my mood and my happiness.
“Of course, the other reason was because I didn’t like my body. I also wanted to be fit enough to do all the things I love doing.
“I lost weight by making a huge lifestyle change; I stopped drinking and eating out, I changed my diet to clean foods, high protein and moderate low-fat carbohydrates. I also began weight lifting almost every day.
“Losing weight has helped me to discover who I am. It has helped me to discover discipline, self-love and setting goals for myself.
“I have developed a life that I love. I have become healthy enough to accomplish whatever I want, and my mental health has improved so much.
“Previously, it was difficult for me to get through one day without having multiple break downs, and it was hard for me to go out in public. Now I feel strong, and able. I love my family and my support system.”
The process took a lot of sacrifices that meant Mari didn’t go out to eat with friends, but it didn’t deter her from achieving her goals.
“The hardest part was the social aspect. I stopped going out to eat and drinking, and I think a lot of people found that difficult to understand,” she said.
“But I just kept reminding myself that this was my journey, and not everyone had to understand it.
“People are very surprised. I have always been skinnier, and I think a lot of people were taken aback when I gained all the weight. Many people didn’t realise how much I was struggling at the time.
“The advice I always give to people is to start small. Make small changes to your diet and current exercise and celebrate the small achievements; by setting small goals every day, you’ll move closer to your larger goal.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/marillewellyn/