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April 04, 2019

At just 23 years old, Felicia Keathley has accomplished more than most. She has been documenting her weight loss journey through social media.  She’s excited to share her not-so-secret secret that weight loss is achievable for anyone.

Setting a weight loss goal might be easy, but actually getting started can be daunting. There are a lot of fad diets, trends come and go, and many quit before they even begin. Some turn straight to surgical options to alleviate weight gain, and Felicia found herself in the same situation. It’s required by insurance to document and prove “the failure of a weight loss program” before going under the knife. Happy to oblige with the paperwork, she found herself walking into a local Weight Watchers to get the process started. Many diets have failed her before and she was expecting the same results. To her surprise, Felicia found a lifestyle change and not a diet. “Restrictive diets would never work for me,” she admitted. “So I was expecting to fail.”

This wasn’t where the young mother expected to be in her life. Her future husband and her met as young kids on the school bus. They grew up together, sharing the milestone moments of fun high school dances and celebratory graduations. Even though there were happy times, there were some not so happy times as well. Felicia has been transparent that she was a victim of sexual assault. An online survey launched in January 2018 by a nonprofit called Stop Street Harassment found that 51 percent of women have experienced being touched without permission and 27 percent say they had survived assault. The lasting effects of surviving differ among people. For Felicia, she turned to food as a comfort and a way to cope.

Time went by and, after her son was born, she found herself at just over 300 pounds. Felicia decided this was day one. It was the beginning of her entire journey where she dropped more than half her body weight. Felicia began documenting her process through social media @feliciafitnesshealth. Food was a main focus as well as her lifestyle change. “For me it was important to never feel restricted, which would always just make me quit.”  This is where Weight Watchers had a profound impact on Felicia. As someone who always loved food, the way she adapted was not to completely eliminate the things she loved. We all realize food is good and we all know you have to eat to live but what if food was the reason you found yourself in this predicament? Felicia discovered healthy alternatives. "I focused on making delicious food that actually tasted good and helped my cravings at the same time.” For example, she didn't eliminate pizza, but found a way to enjoy it in a new healthier way.

The relationship with food is only one aspect, she also focused on her gym routine. Instead of just hitting cardio, Felicia knew she wanted to get toned.  Weights can be scary if you’re a beginner. “It was definitely intimidating at first because I had no clue to what I was doing and I was extremely obese,” she admitted. At a loss, she turned to YouTube as a source. Plentiful with advice, how-to’s, and explainer videos, YouTube ended up being a perfect hotspot for information. “Doing research and going into the gym with a plan in place are in my opinion the most important for having more confidence when it comes to weights!”  If you are intimidated, it gives you a chance to learn (in the comfort of your own home, if necessary). Everyone started somewhere, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, so listen to him: “The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a stronger character.”

Maintaining isn't easy. There is always a reason to not hit the gym or grab a cookie from the jar. Those are the times where dedication overcomes motivation. Motivation is the goal, it’s the dream and desire, but it requires no action. Dedication is what you need to get up out of bed when it’s cold. Dedication is what you need to follow through on a goal. You can pull inspiration from social media when you see a favorite influencer have the body you want, but will that actually get you to the gym? Felicia isn’t immune to the struggles and when she feels the creep of laziness around the corner, she leans on her husband for support. “My husband always told me, 'the days you don’t want to go are the days you will get results'.”  So when you don’t want to go, that’s the time to make the extra effort.

Hitting weight loss goals and new milestones are always exciting, but this whole journey is now a lifestyle for Felicia. She’s forever thankful for what social media has given her. It’s given her a support system, an income, and accountability to her followers.

“I just want people to know that even if it feels impossible, it’s not! I never in my life thought I would be where I am now. You have to find what works for you and something that is sustainable for the rest of your life! Always remember moderation is key and when you feel like you ruined everything, you didn’t. Always getting right back on track is what will get you to your goals!”

 

Follow Felicia on Instagram  & Youtube.

One of her favorite meals to have is pizza because, let's face it, who doesn't love getting down on some baked, cheesy goodness? Watch Felicia's step-by-step guide for a two-ingredient dough that she works into her meal plan.


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