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Feb 17

‘By Counting Calories And Getting Familiar With Actual Serving Sizes, I Finally Beat My Food Addiction’ – Women’s Health

My name is Jessica Andre (@jayreneebxb), and I'm 32 years old. I live in New Jersey and am a local government employee. After struggling with my weight my whole life, I started calorie counting and working out five days a week with a combination of long distance running and strength training to lose 121 pounds.

I struggled with my weight all my life. I became an emotional and impulsive eater when I was 13, and that was the beginning of my weight-gain issues. I found comfort in food and used food as an outlet to help deal with emotions I couldn't handle. I now realize that, at the time, I had developed a food addiction.

From the age of 13 to 27 years old, I used food as an outlet to deal with my stress, sadness, anger, and any other emotion that overwhelmed me. Food helped me feel euphoric and overcome these emotions for a moment, but it also led me to gain an enormous amount of weight. I found it hard to walk and do simple movements without feeling out of breath. Picking things up off the ground would leave me breathless. But the scariest situation was when I would sleep and wake up abruptly because I was unable to breathe lying down. At 28, I hit my heaviest weight of 298 pounds.

In 2017, I remember being in an emotional state where I felt like I lost control of everything in my life. There were certain circumstances in my life I could not control, and I was in the darkest emotional space I had ever been in. These emotions were both figuratively and literally killing me due to my compulsive eating habits.

I realized that if I could not control the things around me, the one thing I *could* control was how I chose to treat myself and my body. I knew that with dedication I could control my health and my addiction to food. So I started my weight-loss and food journey.

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I wanted a diet where I would not be required to restrict certain food groups or macronutrients, like the keto diet, low-carb diets, or high-protein diets. So I chose calorie counting.

I started tracking all the foods I ate and every calorie I burned through an online app and my fitness watch. This allowed me to become a more conscious eater, and I chose to eat more nutrient-dense meals because of their lower calorie count. I also began to eat everything in the recommended serving size as written on food labels, as well as measuring and weighing all my food to make sure all my calories were accounted for.

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I could barely breathe and was often embarrassed at the gym, so initially I started working out in my house to YouTube videos. Once I felt more comfortable, I started going to the gym. I pushed myself even further to break more fitness boundaries.

Now, a typical week of exercise for me is five days a week with a combination of strength and cardio training. Three out of the five days are committed to strength training, and two days are committed to cardio training. On my strength-training days, I do 45 minutes of strength training for a particular muscle group and 15 minutes of cardio at the end of the workout.

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On my cardio days, I run for three miles; this typically takes me 35 to 45 minutes. I truly enjoy running now. When I dropped my first 50 pounds, I told myself I would like to run a marathon to showcase my strength to myself, so I began to train for that race. Long distance running is a place of peace for me. I throw on my headphones, blast my music, and let my feet lead me.

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My weight-loss journey has taught me that there is strength in developing a healthy lifestyle. As women, we are constantly giving and pouring into others, whether it be our children, families, friends, or careers. Oftentimes this can lead us to find outlets to fill us up after we have given our all. For me, my outlet to relieve myself of my emotions was food.

Through my weight loss and commitment to myself, I recognize that I can give more and do more from a place of good health. My weight loss allowed me to realize that in order to live a life with purpose, I must be healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Losing this weight has allowed me to find a new outlet to relieve my emotions, and I am now healthy in all three of these areas in my life.

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'By Counting Calories And Getting Familiar With Actual Serving Sizes, I Finally Beat My Food Addiction' - Women's Health

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