My name is Yashica Chesterfield (@imjustshica), and I’m 38 years old. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, and I am a benefits specialist. After years of yo-yo dieting, I tried 16:8 intermittent fasting and began walking for weight loss.

I had always struggled with weight issues, even as a kid. I had tried every diet trend out there, and I had personal trainers as well. When I tried to lose weight, I couldn’t maintain it and I’d quickly gain it back, or I would plateau and give up. In 2018, I lost 40 pounds, only to gain it all back in 2019.

I knew I needed to make a permanent change when a family member asked my mom if I was expecting at my niece’s birthday party in June 2019. (I was not.) Rather, I was depressed and bloated. I had put on 30 pounds in 3 months. Mentally, I was struggling and trying to hide behind black clothes. I wasn’t myself. I was taking naps every day at lunch. And anytime I was with my boyfriend, we were eating. I was barely moving.

So when I heard what was asked about me at my niece’s birthday party, I started changing my eating habits the next day.

I had heard about intermittent fasting and I decided to try it. I wanted to do something different than I had done before.

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I started a 16:8 eating plan. I also try not to eat in the window two hours before bed.

When I tried to lose weight before, I had always been too strict and cut out “bad” foods for months. So when I would start trying to ease those “bad” foods back into my life, I would end up gaining my weight back. Intermittent fasting has been working for me, and I now allow myself to have cheat days for my food cravings.

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Here’s what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: When I’m not fasting, I may make a protein shake (vanilla protein powder, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, banana, powdered peanut butter, and honey), or a veggie omelet, or steel-cut oatmeal (cinnamon, sweetener, and chopped almonds mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk).
  • Lunch: Flatbread pizza (turkey pepperoni, Impossible burger, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions on a 130-calorie flatbread) or a grilled chicken and veggie wrap with sweet potato fries.
  • Snacks: Deli turkey, cheese, almonds, grapes, or a protein bar.

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  • Dinner: Taco salad (sautéed chicken, onions, and green peppers topped with crumbled cotija cheese, pico de gallo, and guacamole on a bed of lettuce); baked salmon, steamed broccoli, and a baked sweet potato; or spaghetti squash with a salad.
  • Dessert: Smart Sweets gummy bears, Halo Top ice cream, grapes or a fruit smoothie.

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I started exercising at the beginning of my weight-loss journey.

My old apartment complex had a walking trail, so I would go outside and walk for 30 minutes before work. That first week, I walked three days, and the next week I walked five days.

I also stopped taking naps at lunch. Some days I would walk on my lunch break as well. I found myself enjoying the walks. My apartment complex also had a gym. Eventually, I started jogging for 30 minutes, and started going into the gym to do some strength training.

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Now I exercise every day. I still love walks and jogs. When I go to the gym, I do mostly strength training. Some days I get on the elliptical or stair machine. I purchased resistance bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, a jump rope, a mini stepper, a yoga ball, and ankle weights when the pandemic first hit to continue exercising at home. I also like doing HIIT or hip-hop dance videos on Youtube. I track my activity daily with my Apple Watch. I try to close my rings every day and beat my monthly challenge.

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These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight-loss results.

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  • I put myself on a schedule. I wake up at 4 a.m. every day to exercise and try to be in bed by 9 pm. I’m no longer taking naps at lunch as well.
  • I drink tons of water. I drink more water to stay hydrated and to help me stay full. Instead of sodas, I have sparkling water instead.
  • I always have my fitness tracker on. If I am not sleeping, I am wearing my fitness tracker. I try to get at least 10,000 steps in each day.

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Since June 2019, I’ve lost 102 pounds. Now I am in the process of toning.

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Changing my mindset about having a healthier lifestyle has helped my weight-loss journey. I told myself I was going to lose weight, and I did—but I didn’t think of the eating changes I made as a diet. Diets are temporary—lifestyle changes last forever.

Speak it into existence. If you have a negative mindset towards changing your lifestyle, you’re not going to want to do it and you probably won’t make the changes. I’ve realized that self-discipline is the highest form of love I can give myself. Find what works best for you.

If you do not have access to a gym, find workouts on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, etc. I do not need tohave a gym to exercise. Lastly, have patience because it is going to take time. I am happy I started my weight loss journey. My body feels so much lighter, I feel younger, and have a lot more energy.

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