I’ve lost 50lbs and I’m not finished yet
How she did it
• Weight at start of challenge: 260lbs
• Total weight lost at end of challenge: 34.4lbs
• Percentage of body weight lost: 13.6 per cent
• Current weight: 210lbs
• Long-term goal: to lose another 30lbs and maintain that weight
Losing weight wasn’t at the forefront of Shauntia Simmons’s mind, but then her boss signed her up for MarketPlace’s Biggest Loser Challenge. Four months later, the warehouse worker at Somerset MarketPlace is 50lbs lighter and determined to keep the pounds off.
Q: Why did you sign up for the competition?
A: I wasn’t gonna do it at first but my boss, Ms Gee [Dahtia Gittens], ended up signing me up. Sometimes I’m just the kind of person who [if something is proposed] I’ll [go along with it].
Did you think of yourself as overweight? Had doctors told you to lose weight?
I didn’t really talk about my weight until one day I saw a picture of myself and just got focused. I just looked at myself one day and said, ‘Just go on the programme and focus on trying to be a winner.’ I said I would do it and I just started getting focused and working on my eating habits. I started being strict with my food and focused on eating good: not eating late, not eating bread or starch and stuff like that.
What was the cause of your weight gain?
I was eating late. I always drank water, but most of the time I worked late — I knock off at 10pm — and I would get home and I would be hungry and then I would eat starch and bread. Once I ate I would go straight to sleep. I had been overweight for a long time, but I was still fit. My health has always been perfect. I’ve never had high blood pressure or anything like that. I was just overweight.
What lifestyle changes did you make?
I work in the warehouse at my job which keeps me active so I mostly cut back on food — I would have smaller portions. Other than that I’ve just started to exercise. When I was on the competition I did a little bit of walking, but every Monday I just weighed myself [to make sure I was losing weight]. I thought if I exercised I might put on weight — I might put on muscle, which is heavier. So I didn’t want to exercise at all. But I have a lot of fitness in the warehouse: pulling pallets off containers, packing stuff away, lifting heavy boxes and stuff like that. So I’m active.
Was it difficult to stick with your diet change?
In a way yes, but then I got into a habit. I would switch it up. [For example] if I only lost 2lbs [in a week] I wouldn’t eat meat for a while. My favourite snacks were almonds and water and lemon.
Who was your biggest motivator?
Royston [Morton, the top male in the Biggest Loser Challenge] was my motivator. I would ask him what he ate and then change my diet every week. I went to Northshore Medical & Aesthetics Centre and the nutritionist there helped me, and Royston goes there, too, so I kept asking him questions.
What food do you miss most?
Pasta. Fettuccine was my favourite, but anything with macaroni and cheese — that was me. If I do eat it now I only have a small portion of it.
How much weight did you lose?
I started [the competition at] 260lbs I’m now 210lbs.
What have friends and family said of your loss?
Everybody’s saying I look nice and to keep it up. My goal is to reach 180lbs so I’m still going. I’m not finished.
And your boss who started you on the challenge?
She’s proud of me.
MarketPlace gave you a three-month membership to Mangoes Gym Fitness Centre as top female in the competition, had you gone to gyms before?
I am to start [on Thursday], August 1. We had inventory so I’ve been very busy here. But I have lifted weights before and [the work I do in the warehouse is] like lifting weights. Going to the gym is just that little bit extra.
Did you do anything to celebrate your loss?Not really. I ate a piece of pizza. After one slice though, I’m full. I can’t eat a lot like I used to at all. Now it’s a habit — I look at macaroni and stuff like that and I’m not so interested in it.
• MarketPlace’s Biggest Loser Challenge ran from April 1 until June 30. Forty-seven participants lost 352lbs during that period. Shauntia Simmons was the top female.
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