Tori Lewis was on what was supposed to be a fun beach vacation with friends, only she couldn’t enjoy it because of how uncomfortable she felt.
At 300 pounds, she felt so bad about her weight that she refused to even go to the beach.
“It was not a great vacation. I didn’t get in a bathing suit once. I was embarrassed to go to restaurants. I drank a lot because that is all I could think to do to have fun,” Lewis, told TODAY. “I was like, ‘OK, this is a mess. I am done living like this.’”
Lewis was in college when her weight became problematic. After she stopped paying attention to what she ate and drank, she kept gaining weight and the changes were affecting her mental health.
“I was just in a vicious cycle where I felt terrible about myself and I used food and alcohol to make myself feel better,” said the 28-year-old, of Lynchburg, Virginia. “I knew that things were getting bad and I kept on ignoring it.”
She tried several different diets but nothing stuck. Depressed and full of self-loathing, Lewis knew something had to change after going on that vacation.
“From the moment I would wake up, go to the bathroom and stand in front of the mirror the first thought I would have is ‘Oh my God, I hate myself,’” she said. “Walking into a grocery store would cause me anxiety because I was self-conscious of how I looked.”
Lewis was inspired by one of her moms friend’s weight loss success, following the ketogenic diet, and wondered if it was her ticket.
She was skeptical at first, but did some research and started eliminating sugar and simple carbs from her diet, swapping them for healthy fats.
Sure enough, she began losing weight.
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“To me, a diet was always something extreme that you went on for a period of time and you lose some weight and you move on. I have completely rewired my brain about the way that I look at food,” she said.
In a little over a year now and with the support of her husband, Lewis has lost 120 pounds. More than anything, it’s the emotional strength she’s gained through the experience that she’s most grateful for.
“Physical changes are not the only changes I have undergone. I am happier. I am more willing to do things,” she said. “I am just a normal person who did this and other people can do this too.”
Even armed with the right motivation and information, she admits it wasn’t easy to get the ball rolling at first.
“The hardest part is starting. You have to make a plan. You have to do some independent research and then you have to commit yourself.”
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