How did I allow myself to get to a whopping 300 plus pounds after losing 170 pounds a few years prior? I’ll tell you how, through depression, anger, and bitterness. I was emotionally attached to food. I sought out refuge in fast food and chocolate. It provided a sense of comfort when all else failed. I didn’t realize that my negative outlook on life or just my skewed perception of life held me in captivity.
I’ve worked so hard for everything I have, yet I couldn’t understand why I was borderline unemployed, at one point in my life I was homeless sleeping in a shelter and at rest stops in my car. I felt a sense of entitlement; as if life owed me something more than what it owed the next person. I didn’t realize that this negative thinking perpetuated a vicious cycle that left me dependent on food. It became the metric for measuring my self-worth. The strategy it took to hide my addiction and commitment to binge eating was uncanny. There were mornings I would enter a restaurant with a plan to hide my addiction from others and yet somehow “trick” myself into believing my eating wasn’t any different from anyone elses. And that my weight was a result of life’s many burdens placed upon me. Boy was I fooled!
Ivynoire: Where were you at that moment in life and what was your first step?
UniQue Webster: In 2017, I lost 100+ pounds through juicing and transitioning into a plant based lifestyle. After being depressed and in a very dark place mentally and emotionally, I started researching nutrition and juicing. I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead documentary parts 1 and 2 repeatedly. After researching Joe Cross’ success with juicing, I made a commitment to start with a 90 day juicing regime.
Ivynoire: How much did you weigh and how much did you lose?
UniQue Webster: In six months, I gained 100 pounds. I started juicing September 30th, 2017. Completed 53 days of juicing prior to taking a week break for Thanksgiving. I completed 23 more days of juicing before taking another week off for Christmas. At the completion of juicing, I lost 98.2 pounds.
Ivynoire: How long did it take you to lose the weight? Take us through the process of how you changed your lifestyle to a healthy one.
UniQue Webster: I eliminated chronic knee pain, depression and PMDD symptoms. I consumed about five to six 14 oz juices a day. I juiced mostly veggies (90/10 ratio). My favorite go to juice was: apple, lime, ginger and spinach/kale mix. I did light exercise. I was under supervision of a nutritionist and cardiologist. I visited the nutritionist four times during juicing. My completion date for juicing was February 15th, 2018 in which I transitioned into a plant based lifestyle. Juicing gave me mental focus and allowed me to go through this painful yet rewarding metamorphosis and now adopting the plant based lifestyle. I’m still a work in progress!
Ivynoire: What does a day in your new life entail?
UniQue Webster: My new lifestyle entails more me time! Many people believe in this notion of self-care equates to selfishness. This is false. We can’t give the world our best self, if we are down and out. I’ve made me a priority in my life. That means placing my health and wellness at the helm. Eating healthier, tending to my mental health and ensuring I am emotionally sound before I take on anyone else’s burdens. Home cooked meals, sitting in silence, reading and researching are daily regimes.
Ivynoire: Do you feel the weight you carried was more than physical? If so – please explain.
UniQue Webster: Yes, it was more than physical. I struggled with this burden (food addiction), years into my adulthood and the mental anguish festered. I thought I was healed after many sessions of therapy, but I realized I just suppressed my emotions and hid the pain. It wasn’t until deep soul searching — ripping through the self-sabotage, emotional barriers and facades! I was forced to face the bare truth! I accept accountability for my addiction, yet acknowledge that the pain stems from a very harmful and detrimental cycle, only I could break! I broke that cycle September 30, 2017.
Ivynoire: In what ways do you feel you have evolved?
UniQue Webster: Having lost now, over 100 pounds, standing a proud six feet tall, I reached a “happy” place in my life. I’ve never been as committed to improving my life as I am now. Being able to celebrate the good, understand the bad and find ways to embrace the challenges of life is paramount. I’ve severed ties with emotional binge eating. I am healing from my past struggles and continue to triumph adversity.
Ivynoire: When it comes to eating well what are your top recommendations?
UniQue Webster: I have transitioned into a plant based lifestyle focusing tremendously on my diet verses exercising. I recommend cleaning up the diet. I used to focus on working out like a maniac. I lived in New York City. so it was very easy the first go around losing 170 pounds by eating moderately healthy (I was secretly binging). I walked four miles to and from work every day and worked out in the gym for hours like a maniac!
I realized I was developing an unhealthy relationship with exercise, which was impeding on my relationship with food. If I enjoyed a meal out with friends, later that night I would exercise “the calories away.” Transitioning into a plant based lifestyle while incorporating juicing has been a huge game changer for me.
Ivynoire: How did you manage to alter your eating patterns?
UniQue Webster: No more counting calories or trying to “cheat” myself. I eat what I want as long as it’s within the plant based lifestyle. I eat full healthy nutrition meals. Because I’m more satiated, my snacking has decreased. I still enjoy GMO-free popcorn. I’ve incorporated more home cooked meals. I love cooking more than ever before!
Ivynoire: What does your exercise regimen entail?
UniQue Webster: Exercise is still very much a part of complimenting my lifestyle. but it is used as a mechanism for improving my overall fitness. I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, watersports, talking long walks. I am rarely in the gym.
Ivynoire: What advice can you offer to those who want to make a change to a healthier lifestyle?
UniQue Webster: The conversation around health needs to change. Honest dialogue is vital – I encourage people to research and educate themselves on the benefits of eating healthy and the harm processed foods has on our body. Spread that knowledge within their community. Education is key. When people are informed they make better food choices. It all starts in the kitchen not the gym.
Ivynoire: What motivates you to continue with this lifestyle?
UniQue Webster: One thing is certain, I’ve not only gained a sense of self-worth, but I’ve acquired a strong commitment to helping others in their struggle! It motivates me to see others take control of their lives!
Ivynoire: What is a motto or mantra you live by and why?
UniQue Webster: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” [-Friedrich Nietzsche]
UniQue Webster is author of 1981. This poignant memoir contains past letters, thoughts, poetry and very personal writings; retelling the journey of a woman dealing with the trauma of being abandoned at birth by her biological mother and the ensuing attributable effects of obesity and food addiction. It exposes the ugly truth of addiction, unveils the effects of abandonment, exposes unspoken abuse and illustrates the importance of healing. To purchase 1981 and to book UniQue Webster for speaking engagements and workshops go to 1981.