Chelsea Sawyer used to try to draw attention away from her weight anyway she could.
How she went from unhappy and unable to walk without pain, to happy, 110 pounds lighter, and more positive than ever.
Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors
Chelsea recalls being overweight from as young as four years of age.
“I haven’t ever been a small person.”
She was the only overweight person in her family, and felt like an outcast for years. However, she discovered later that she had a different biological father, whose family was mostly overweight like she was.
Chelsea describes not having many friends, not being very active, and having a somewhat difficult time overall in her youth.
“I wasn’t a very happy person.”
How Being Overweight Impacted Chelsea’s Life
Physically, Chelsea mostly experienced pain and discomfort in her feet while walking. Her feet were often swollen.
Socially, she describes a number of situations where her weight was not only an obstacle, but sometimes an excuse as well. She shares that it kept her from being active with friends, participating in trips to theme parks, and from joining military service – something Chelsea really wanted to do.
“I feel like I used my weight as an excuse to not do almost everything.”
She didn’t eat in front of other people because she felt they would judge and make fun of her.
“I used to take my food into my bedroom and hide.”
Though she had some good friends, she felt like a very lonely, sad person who used food as a friend.
Chelsea was close to her mother and recalls taking walks together, watching Richard Simmons videos, and other fun activities together.
Sometimes, other people in her life weren’t as supportive:
“I was always very angry when someone mentioned my weight… There were a lot of issues I had with myself about my weight, but I didn’t need someone else to tell me that.”
Chelsea reached a peak weight of 340 pounds. (154.5 kg)
The Turning Point
A year ago, Chelsea, her mother, and her two sisters, went on a trip. They visited a number of destinations, and Chelsea recalls being in immense pain because her feet hurt from walking.
“I was 23 years old and having problems walking.”
She recalls having to sit and wait in the car because she was physically unable to continue walking and participating in the sight-seeing.
When Chelsea’s mother brought it up, she mentioned weight-loss surgery as a potential option, and for the first time, Chelsea seriously considered having a procedure performed. She began seeing a nutritionist as soon as they returned from the trip.
Chelsea never had that weight-loss surgery.
One month later, for the first time in her life, she had lost 20 pounds. (9.1 kg)
“I was ecstatic… I had never in my life recorded a weight loss.”
Chelsea says that going to a nutritionist had forced her to be accountable to someone else and to track her results. For the first time, she felt hope.
Starting The Weight Loss Journey
Chelsea began by changing her diet completely. She reduced carbohydrate consumption and didn’t eat bread, pasta, or grains.
She mostly ate high-protein lean meats and vegetables, and still sticks to that as much as possible. She only drinks water.
“After getting the basics in, it was so easy.”
For the first half-year, Chelsea focused only on dietary changes. However, after losing 70 pounds (31.8 kg) in 5-6 months, she experienced her first plateau.
This was when she introduced exercise – in the form of daily walking – into her routine. This helped break the plateau, and the weight loss continued.
The plateau was the most demotivating part for Chelsea. In addition to the actions she took – drinking more water and starting to take daily walks – she also stopped weighing herself.
“I was weighing myself every single day. It was an obsession point… I would give myself a date and not weigh myself until that point, and in the meantime continue doing what I’m doing.”
Chelsea also shared her goal and progress with other people to make herself feel more accountable.
“If I was comfortable talking about it, then whatever they had to say didn’t matter. If they had something negative to say about it, I didn’t care, because I was already comfortable…”
What Chelsea Learned About Food, Exercise, and Herself
Chelsea shares that she feels more like herself than ever before. More feminine, more attractive, and more alive.
Although she lost some friends along the way, Chelsea opens up about that not being an entirely bad thing.
“When you are around friends who like to drink or party or go out to eat all the time, and you aren’t that person anymore, it’s going to kind of end… So I lost friends along the way, but I gained a lot more.”
In terms of diet & exercise, Chelsea has surprised herself at what she likes now (peppers, for example), what she is capable of now (like walking ten miles), and that she is an altogether more positive person.
“I learned that everything is possible. Anything that I want, I can have.”
Chelsea’s Advice For Your Journey
- Surround yourself with people who are positive and on similar journeys!
- Social media is a great way to make new connections and friendships that will help you.
Resources Discussed In This Podcast
On Chelsea’s Workout Playlist
Chelsea can be found online at the following social profiles. Say Hello!