Eboney Found Herself on Her Journey to Lose*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Name: Eboney Lewis Haynes
Username: ebielou
Amount of weight lost: 122 pounds         
Hometown: Piedmont, Alabama
Occupation: Teacher
Age: 28
Ebony Haynes has transformed her entire life by taking control of her eating and fitness. After losing more than 100 pounds, she now helps others transition into healthy lifestyles by teaching Zumba and Pound classes and being a walking example of the power of perseverance.

What was life like before your weight loss? Before losing weight, I lived a mundane life. I basically woke up, went to work, ate and slept. I didn't have a lot of friends to hang out with. I didn't find any joy in life. I spent a lot of time alone and at home.

What was your "light bulb moment" that made you get serious about losing the weight? My "light bulb moment" came in 2009, when I realized that health conditions run on both sides of my family, and if I didn't change my habits soon I would develop those conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes).

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey: I started my journey in 2010. When I started, I weighed 366 pounds. I couldn't walk a couple of steps without being winded so I made a goal to just start walking 1 mile a day. I went to a gym with an indoor walking track, but wouldn't go inside of the actual exercise area because I was embarrassed to be in there. Once I worked myself up to 1 mile, I increased my walks to 2 miles. I made this steady increase until I was walking 5 miles a day. At this point, I had lost 50 pounds and was so proud of myself. At the end of 2010, I lost 88 pounds. My journey continued and I ended up losing 206 pounds and getting to my lowest weight of my adult life of 160 pounds. However, I let life get in the way, and I gained almost 100 pounds back. I've started working hard again on my journey, and I now have 84 pounds until I hit my goal.

Did you encounter any obstacles during your journey and, if so, how did you deal with them? I thought my addiction to food was over. However, I was wrong. Eating healthy is going to be a struggle for me for the rest of my life, but I've made my mind up that this is going to be a lifestyle change and I can't let anything get in the way of my goals.

Another obstacle I encountered was being around negative people. People who are comfortable with their weight were not my biggest supporters. Some of my friends and family kept saying to me that I had lost enough weight, but I was still weighing in over 200 pounds. I don't think it will ever be healthy for me to be over 200 pounds.

What tools, routines, habits, and motivators did you find most helpful?
  • Setting goals
  • Rewarding myself (not with food)
  • Finding an accountability partner
  • Finding a group fitness class
Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? I have slipped up many times. I've also hit plateaus before. My advice to anyone who slips up is to remember that a slip up does not make you a failure. Once you've realized that you've slipped up, just make sure you recognize it and begin your regimen immediately.

The way I overcome plateaus is to change my routine. I either change my eating or exercising to break through the dreaded plateau.

What is your typical exercise routine like? I am a group fitness instructor now, so my exercise routine is a little strenuous. I do an early morning workout before work anywhere from 60-90 minutes. I teach a 30 minute PE class during the day. I also teach Zumba and/or Pound for at least 60 minutes in the evening.

How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss? I really try to eat my recommended daily intake now that I've begun this lifestyle change. I track every single morsel of food that goes into my mouth. Before my weight loss, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to eat.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight loss program? DO NOT GIVE UP and make small changes. Most people give up to early because they try to do everything at once. The best thing to do is to make 3 small changes at first. Once those changes have been implemented into your lifestyle, then make some more changes. Most people feel defeated early on because they have tried to implement a plan that eventually they just will not keep.

Did you experience any other benefits in addition to losing weight? I have gained so much more confidence with my weight loss. I have more friends than ever before, and I'm able to say that I do not have any of the medical conditions that my family suffers from.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health? Since I have lost weight, I have become a better person. I am the person who people come to ask how to change their lifestyle and live a healthy life. My journey is and has not been just for me. People who I don't even know have come up to me in the gym before and told me that I'm their inspiration because they have watched me go from being able to barely walk a mile to running. I am not as insecure as I use to be. I am able to play games, exercise and have fun with my kids and students. Improving my health has shown me that I am worth every second, minute and hour of EVERY day! As my Zumba Instructor (Candace Tinner) says, "IT'S POSSIBLE!"
Way to go, Eboney! Keep working toward your goals!!
*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program. 

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com