Name: Liana Saidah Sims, aka, “Queen Liana”
Total Weight Loss: 180 pounds in 4 years
It was Spring of 2007 when I attended a dorm retreat that initiated the breakthrough in my life which led to my determination to lose weight. A few months prior to the retreat, I read a book and the main statement that stood out was the idea that “You can never change who you are until you embrace the person you are today.” I realized that I lived much of my life wanting to change but I was too fearful to look myself in the mirror and truly accept all of who I was. It was too painful to address my issues and how they had impacted me, but until I was ready to truly do that, I would never be able to change. So I went on the following retreat and I determined in my heart that I would be “real” with myself, especially during the meditation exercise on fear that we completed on top of that mountain at the retreat.
We had a sheet of paper and were told to write out all of our fears and that’s when a light bulb came on for me. The majority of my fears were linked to one central factor: my weight. And in that moment I knew that I would never overcome those fears until I accepted my reality and begin to tackle it. Some of my fears included travel because I never wanted to wear an extension seat belt again, amusement parks because I could not fit on the rides, people because I never wanted to be made fun of, and the list goes on…I left that retreat determined to lose weight and when I returned home, I immediately began changing my relationship with food — not because I wanted to be skinny but because I WANTED TO BE FREE!!!
In 2007, I started with basic lifestyle changes. I stopped drinking soda and juice and switched to water only. With that change alone, I began to see the weight drop and my skin clear up. I cut out the majority of fast food, fried food, red meat, creamy dressings, heavy breads/pastas and late night eating. If I wanted something heavy, (like a burger and fries), I ate it earlier in the day, before 2pm. I cut out most candies, desserts and sweets. However, once again, if I wanted it, I ate it earlier in the day because it gave me time throughout my day to burn the calories. I also started shopping more and cooking more meals at home.
Exercise, for me, was gradual. I started by making intentional decisions like taking the stairs instead of the escalator. I would park in one location of a shopping center and walk everywhere instead of driving from store to store. I eventually bought a bike and rode it to school and I took up a swimming class as well.