By Rebecca Drew
THIS WOMAN has lost more than half her body weight in just eighteen-months after she struggled to come to terms with her boyfriend’s tragic death which saw her eat and drink her way to almost TWENTY-SIX-STONE.
Funeral director, Jaclyn Silva (31) from Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, grew up with low self-esteem and poor body image, and found it difficult adjusting to being a teenager and young adult. She would go through phases of starving herself and then binging on food in a bid to soothe her feelings.
In 2010, Jaclyn was with her boyfriend, Allan Williams, of four-years when he passed away after he started to struggle to breathe and within minutes passed out in front of her and later died in hospital, after being diagnosed with a very rare lung disease. This left her inconsolable and she shut herself down, not caring about her own wellbeing. As a coping mechanism, Jaclyn used food and drink to deal with her grief. Four years later and at 25st 13lbs and a UK size 32, she suffered a breakdown as a result of delayed grief and doctors advised her to go on anti-depressants, but Jaclyn just couldn’t do it, so she decided to get healthy instead.
After this, Jaclyn went to see a naturopath who specialised in anxiety and she cut out gluten, dairy and eggs from her diet and started to see a psychiatrist to begin sorting through her issues. Now she eats between 2,000 to 2,200-calories a day, working out at the gym two days a week and takes part in a hot yoga and a kickboxing class each week. This regime has seen Jaclyn shrink to a fit and healthy 11st 11lbs and a UK size 12.
“My heart was ripped apart and I didn’t care about what I looked like. To numb the pain, I ate, drank and smoked my way to nearly twenty-six-stone,” she said.
“I just pushed it all away because it was too painful to even begin to deal with. It’s ironic because I’m a funeral director and I’m trained in grief- but I couldn’t do the work for myself.
“I spoke very negatively to myself for as long as I can remember. I would beat myself up over everything. I felt worthless and undeserving.
“I wouldn’t do anything that I enjoyed, other than eat. I basically put my life on hold and just tried to get through each day. Feeling miserable.
“In 2014, one day I hit a wall and started having panic attacks – literally one after another. I essentially had a breakdown. My doctor concluded that I was experiencing delayed grief and suggested I go on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication, but I couldn’t do it.
“I had put so many unhealthy things into my body – and this experience was so scary and life changing that I wanted to get healthy naturally.
“I consulted a naturopath who specialised in anxiety. She suggested I change my diet – remove inflammatory foods like; gluten, dairy and eggs to help balance my hormones and get my body back on track. I also started seeing a psychiatrist to sort out my emotions and begin healing my relationship with food, people around me and myself.
“Within ten months I lost nine-stone-four-pounds and was feeling amazing. But unfortunately, within two years I gained it all back. Although I had adopted a new healthy lifestyle, it wasn’t sustainable. I was too rigid in my eating and work out routines and eventually let the negative thoughts and unhealthy habits creep back in.
“Last January 2017, I stood on the scale and realised that I was back at twenty-three-stone, not my heaviest, but still devastating. Instead of beating myself up, I decided to start again – but this time be less restrictive.
“I was too rigid with my eating the first time and would get thrown off, then binge. This time – my focus was on healing and feeling good. I wanted to eat foods that supported my body and gave me energy. I still stay away from gluten, dairy, eggs and rice, but I eat everything else.”
Jaclyn shares pictures and videos of her transformation on Instagram, under @jac.sil, and is now comfortable in her own skin not only because of her inspirational weight loss, but because her relationship with herself has also changed. The hardest part of her journey was dealing with her emotions and she now follows a flexible diet.
“The hardest part about losing weight was dealing with the emotional and mental side of the journey. The conversation you have with yourself won’t change as you lose weight unless you make an effort to change it,” she said.
“The same negative feelings and thoughts that you have now stay with you throughout the journey. The first time I lost weight, I was still unhappy because deep down I didn’t feel better about myself.
“I thought losing weight would make me happy but it didn’t. That was really hard to accept because this was something I wanted my whole life and finally I was there and it felt no different really. That’s why the second time, I put my energy into healing.
“I’ve learnt how to eat a balanced and flexible diet. I still drink alcohol and eat dessert and fried foods, but I always try to modify to make food a bit healthier. If that’s not an option, then I just eat a smaller portion of it. This keeps me from binging or feeling deprived.
“I also make an effort to stop myself from attaching emotion to food – there is no good or bad food. Everything is fine – just some foods make you feel better than others. So, when I’m making food choices, I make the choice based on how it will effect me and if it will get me to where I want to be.
“This is one of the ways that I’ve tried to heal my relationship with food and my eating disorder. I also eat foods I enjoy and look forward to eating.”
Finally, Jaclyn shared her words of advice to others.
“Start small. Don’t do anything too drastic that you won’t be able to stick to. It has to be manageable and realistic. Also, take the pressure off yourself and be good to yourself. Show yourself compassion and remember you’re always doing your best so give yourself a break. This isn’t easy,” she added.
“I truly believe that weight loss is the side effect of a healthy lifestyle. If you are supporting your mind body and soul – you will make choices that are in your best interest like food choice and sleep quality.
“Also, to lose weight you need to stick to something and let time pass. While that time is passing, it needs to be enjoyable or else it will feel like an eternity. This is an opportunity to really get to know yourself and what you like and enjoy and essentially want out of life.
“Time will pass regardless of if you’re living a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle, so if you make small changes and support your body with love – that time will be a lot more enjoyable.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/jac.sil