By Liana Jacob
THIS WOMAN in her thirties felt like she was living in a SEVENTY-YEAR-OLD’S BODY as she tipped the scales at almost TWENTY-THREE-STONE, but she has since shed a whopping ten-stone in just two years.
HR specialist, Jana Parks (33) from Georgia, USA, struggled with her confidence growing up and would use food as a way of dealing with her emotions.
Her bad eating habits of consuming fast food and regularly eating out resulted in her weight increasing to 22st 12Ib and a UK size 28. While she has always had a positive attitude with a good social life with friends, at times she would feel unworthy of love and self-love did not come easy for her.
In October 2016, Jana began having some health issues related to her weight such as joint pain, inflammation in her body and struggled with simple day-to-day activities and walking up and down the stairs felt like a challenge.
After stepping on the scales, seeing her weight, she decided to do something about it and began researching different weight loss methods. She discovered the ketogenic diet, a high fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate diet.
Over the next two years, as she set a healthier meal plan for herself and exercised more, this taught her how strong and worthy she is, which improved her mentality to love herself. In that time she managed to reduce her weight to a healthy 12st 7Ib and UK size 14 and now feels happier.
She is now on a mission to spread the message that everyone is worthy of love and care and with 36K followers on Instagram, she has been encouraging other women in the process.
“I think that I used food to deal with emotions; I was never truly happy with myself and used food as a way to cope with that, in short – I didn’t value or love myself,” Jana said.
“I chose to marry someone who I knew inside didn’t love me in the way that I needed them to, but because I didn’t love the person that I was, I went through with it.
“I have always been a happy person. I have always been positive and a good friend to others, I loved taking care of others.
“For so long I put all of the energy that I should have been putting into nurturing myself into taking care of the people around me. I sometimes felt unworthy of love and felt like I had to earn the love of others.
“Through my body transformation and learning to love to take care of myself physically and mentally, I truly love the person that I am. I feel so strong and courageous. I know that the best parts of me can’t be seen by others.
“Everyone that mattered to me always loved and supported me no matter my size. It was random comments from strangers, or the way someone would look at me on a roller coaster or sitting beside them on a plane; those were the things that bothered me.
“In October 2016 I was having a ton of joint pain and inflammation in my body; it hurt to get up in the morning, walking up the stairs felt challenging.
“I stepped on the scale and weighed in at twenty-two stone and twelve pounds. I knew that I had to make a change, I couldn’t live my life feeling like this anymore.
“I was thirty-one but felt like I was in a seventy-year-old’s body. I simply googled ‘diets that reduce inflammation’ and keto was the first one that popped up.
“I went grocery shopping and jumped in with both feet. I spent my entire life yo-yo dieting, losing and gaining the same three-stone and eight pounds.
“I was very strict; my first few weeks of keto, I really wanted to eliminate my carbohydrate and sugar cravings, I think this was so important for me.”
After months of hard work, Jana settled into a routine of three meals a day. Before for breakfast, Jana would start her day with a Starbucks coffee and a sandwich, then for lunch she would typically eat either a fast food meal or another sandwich and chips from a restaurant and for dinner she would eat pasta and would snack on sweets and sugary drinks throughout the day.
Now Jana sticks to a healthier alternative of black coffee and two egg muffins for breakfast, dinner leftovers from the night before for lunch like a protein, vegetable and avocado or salad. For dinner she now normally has protein, vegetables like cauliflower rice bowls with tomato, cucumbers, jalapenos, avocado and sour cream.
“The first two weeks were so hard; I felt low on energy, had headaches and just overall not great. But at that two week-mark I felt great, my energy was through the roof,” she said.
“I had dropped fifteen pounds and my inflammation and joint pain had almost completely gone away. I had never felt like a diet was meant for me until I tried Keto.
“I don’t think of it as a diet anymore, but a way of eating that allows my body to perform optimally. I feel so good.
“Losing weight has changed my life in terms of me knowing that I am capable of anything that I set my mind to. Taking care of myself has taught me how strong and worthy I am.
“Learning to love taking care of my body taught me so many things about myself, that I am strong, and worthy.
“I tell people now that my biggest transformation isn’t the size of my body but the way that I now feel about myself on the inside.
“Women tell me that I encourage them, that is so amazing to me. There is no better feeling than being an encourager to amazing women all over the world. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been put in the place where I can help others.
“Being able to do simple things like sit in a seat on a plane and not feel self-conscious or uncomfortable are some of my biggest non scale victories.
“Being able to go into any store and go shopping, well that is priceless. Before I was limited to a few stores and had very few options, instead of picking clothes that were my style, I found myself just trying to find anything that would fit my body.
“Being an encourager to others is why I decided to share my story on social media in the first place, I find so much fulfilment being a friend to others and helping them when they need it most
“I would tell someone to lose weight from a place of love and not hate of your body. If you start by working on self-love and work towards feeling like your best self physically, it’s so much easier to stick to.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/southernketogirl/