Saying that kids can sometimes be cruel is definitely an understatement. In just the last year, one out of five students reported being bullied by others. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 33 percent of the students that reported being bullied while they were at school said they were bullied at least once or twice a month. 13 percent of the students that reported being bullied said that they were called names, insulted, or made fun of; 12 percent of them had rumors spread about them; five percent were either shoved, tripped, spit on, or pushed; and five percent were purposely left out of activities. No one knows about being bullied better than a 17-year-old girl from Queensland, Australia, named Josephine Desgrand.
When Josie was at her maximum weight, she weighed more than 265 pounds and was a size 20 or 22 in the UK. Because she was a bigger girl, Josie was the constant victim of horrible bullying, and mean looks, no matter where she went. Josie blames her weight on the large portion sizes she got used to eating and her lack of exercise. Josie wasn’t just a target for bullies, her weight began to have a severe impact on her overall health.
Even though Josie was only a teenager, she was at risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gallstones, high cholesterol and triglycerides, a stroke, coronary artery disease (CAD), sleep apnea, along with many other conditions. Complications that come with being overweight include problems with hip development (slipped capital femoral epiphysis), bone growth in the legs, liver problems, polycystic ovary syndrome, and early puberty. So why wasn’t Josie trying to lose weight immediately?
When Josie was at such a large weight, she became too embarrassed to go to the gym. Considering that she was always being made fun of for her weight when she was just walking around, she assumed that a gym full of healthy people would treat her the same way, and that was the last thing that she wanted. What a contradiction! Making fun of an overweight person for going to the gym is like making fun of someone for going to a restaurant because they were hungry. Every single person has goals, but she decided to do things differently.
Please note: if you want to go on a diet, or a new exercise program, make sure you speak to a doctor. Before Josie committed to an exercise routine, she chose to examine her diet. Josie’s first step was to completely cut out sugar from her diet, including fruit. “I treated fruits as a candy bar and only ate a certain amount each week,” she said. “I also cut out carbs so I haven’t eaten bread or pasta or even chocolate in one year.”
The most important part of a healthy transformation is making sure that your diet has a variety of foods, plenty of whole grains, fruits, veggies, and complex carbohydrates And we can not tell you enough how important eating plenty of protein is. It’s been proven to boost your metabolism by 80 to 100 calories every day. Diets that are high in protein can also reduce obsessive thought about food, reduce cravings, and reduce the need for late-night snacking. But for Josie, cutting out the sugar was the key.
“I cut sugar completely and reduced my carb intake,” said Josie. “Sugar was the main thing. I tried many diets beforehand, but I never stuck to them. I did some research into sugar and was shocked at the amount of sugar I used to consume; it seemed to be in everything. Making the decision to cut it out of my diet was the best decision of my life. It was very difficult at first; the first two weeks were so hard, but pure determination saw me through. Then it became a habit.” What’s up with sugar?
Eating sugar that’s been added, which is any sugar that doesn’t occur naturally, messes up pretty much everything about your body. From headaches and skin issues to metabolism and insulin levels. It also leaves you with being at a greater risk for obesity, and other diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Sugar can also potentially increase your cholesterol, raise blood pressure, wreak havoc on teeth, and impair cognitive function. So how do you do it like Josie?
The first step is finding out where the sugar is. Read the labels of things such as breads, salad dressing, and even yogurt. Find your perfect balance of simple and complex carbs so you’re not leaving yourself feeling deprived, which can lead to binges. Include protein, fiber, and healthy fats in your snacks and meals. These things are digested more slowly than refined carbs or sugar, so your blood sugar level rises and falls at a steadier, slower rate. Doing simple things like using cinnamon instead of sugar in your coffee, or oatmeal, can make a huge difference. So does making the decision to change.
One day Josie had had enough. Josie says that she “went through cycles” of trying to change the way she looked. “Then one day, I stopped thinking about it and just did it. It sounds so easy. I googled so many transformations; I researched how I was going to do it. I was prepared, I wanted it so badly, and now I was waiting for the ‘lightbulb’ moment when I wake up and want to go for a run, or I wake up and don’t have any sugar cravings,” she continued. How did she do it?
We understand that diet is a huge factor, but how do you change the way you eat if you love food? “I’m a huge foodie. My portions were huge, and I used to eat so fast,” admitted Josie. “Mom always used to tell me to slow down with my eating as I’d always be the first finished. I was also never interested in sports and would avoid it at all costs.” But Josie knew she needed to start somewhere, so she did.
“I would look at my friends and be so envious of what they were wearing and what they could do,” explained Josie. “I used to worry about things like not fitting in seats and having to ask for seatbelt extenders. I would avoid clothes shopping as I would have to go into the older stores, which made me so depressed. Finally, Josie had enough.
When it was time for Josie to exercise, she really didn’t need too much to get moving. In the beginning, Josie did three high-intensity workouts. Josie would spend 15 minutes a day training, using the YouTube channel called The Body Coach for inspiration. Not only was Josie losing weight, she was saving money, as well. “I never joined a gym so I managed to save some money there. I worked out at home so I didn’t have to buy gym clothes so I didn’t have to worry about looking good,” said Josie. But then Josie started feeling really good.
Even though she ate pretty healthy while she was at her heaviest, Josie said it was all about controlling her portions, and snacking only on healthy foods. This is what contributed to her weight loss. Normally, Josie would have large portions and return for seconds, or even thirds. Using a combination of reduced sugar, portion control, and physical activity, in less than a year, Josie was able to lose more than half of her body weigh. Inspired by her story, people are heading to Josie for advice.
Josie shares on her Instagram that in order to change from within, you must find the motivation and always remember why you’re doing it. “If you want it bad enough, make it happen!” she writes. “A little progress each day ends up with big results. One of the main things that kept me motivated was my transformation photos. I would take them weekly and look for differences. In the last year I’ve made some huge lifestyle changes and I’m so thrilled that I can inspire others and contribute to their journeys in some way.”