Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo Beauty series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Daniel Rojas is 28 years old and weighs 176 pounds. After losing a loved one, he committed to a healthier lifestyle and lost more than 100 pounds through improved diet, exercise, and the support of his church.
The Turning Point
I remember my weight becoming an issue when I was around 11 or 12. I had to get bigger sizes than my older siblings and was teased because of my weight. It eventually led to me turning to food for comfort as I got older.
After many failed weight loss attempts, I decided to try again in early 2010. A friend at my church, named Cathy, started a weight loss group. I decided to join, even though I wasn’t fully confident I wouldn’t end up quitting halfway through. I successfully lost 30 pounds in the first month, and then my weight loss stalled as I became complacent. It wasn’t until later that year that I really committed to a healthier life after I lost someone close to me due to complications from obesity. I was inspired to focus on losing weight because I didn’t want to die young.
I cut out soda, sweets, and fast food immediately. It was difficult because I really enjoyed those foods, but I knew that would make a big difference. I started walking in my neighborhood, since I couldn’t afford a gym membership as a full-time college student. Walking seemed to be the only exercise I was able to do at that point. Eventually, I started doing Zumba and even became a Zumba instructor. That was my main workout. I then refined my diet further, avoiding fried foods and relying mostly on grilling and baking the foods I already loved to eat. Finally, I started counting calories, which helped immensely.
I felt more active and energized. I felt happy. I had a strong support system that motivated me throughout my journey. I didn’t want to disappoint myself or others, so that kept me from giving up when things got rough (especially during the plateaus).
One downside was the amount of loose skin that I had. But I was expecting that. So I promised myself that if I was able to keep the weight off for two years, I would treat myself to skin removal surgery. After the surgery I was even more confident. I felt really content.
Losing the weight was a huge adjustment. I was on a high. I felt healthy and energized. I had to purchase a brand new wardrobe. I felt like a brand new person.
I don’t put strict limits on my nutrition intake. I’m smart about my food choices, and I’ve learned to intuitively control my portions. I know it’s OK to enjoy the foods that I love, but in moderation and not on an everyday basis. I still dance from time to time for exercise. I started doing other forms of cardio, like running, biking, and even roller-skating. I am learning to implement more weights into my workout routine for a more toned look.
I’m an accountant, so I am at a desk a lot. I make sure that I walk throughout the day when I’m not at the gym. I have six meals a day, and I opt for healthier snack options whenever I feel the need to snack. I keep myself active every day. I drink a lot of water, which I find crucial.
I don’t want to go back to the way I was. I know how I felt for those years when I was obese, and I don’t want to go back to that place. My family and friends inspire me to be healthy. And seeing others on weight-loss journeys of their own motivates me on my journey.
The best advice that I can give is to be patient and don’t give up. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Give yourself to a higher power, whatever it may be. When I truly surrendered to God, I was able to succeed.
Photos: Courtesy of Daniel Rojas
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