My name is Chloe Campos (@fitgirl_felicity), and I am 30 years old. I live in Greenville, South Carolina. I am working on a wellness coaching certification, and I work part-time at a kickboxing gym and running shoe store. To live a healthier lifestyle, I started eating a diet full of whole foods and added running and kickboxing to my routine.
I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I recall my mom feeling a need to be thin, and that's where I believe I got it from. I yo-yo dieted from a very young age, since I was 11 or 12. I used food to cope with many challenges happening in my life. I was (and still am) an emotional eater and used food for comfort, which caused me to gain weight fairly quickly, especially when I entered college.
Before my transformation journey began, I was very depressed. I had major self-worth and self-esteem issues. I was a smoker, I drank very heavily almost every day, I had no energy, I was burnt out, I was angry, and I could barely bend over to tie my shoes. I felt like I was a shell of a person. I truly didn’t recognize the person I had become, and it was really heartbreaking. I was looking for love and comfort in all the wrong ways, I didn’t know how to communicate my needs or what was bothering me and used food to cope.
In 2017, I weighed 256 pounds at 26. Around that time, I went through several experiences that forced me to really look at my life and habits.
I would refuse to weigh in at the doctor’s, so I wouldn’t get the “your weight is a little higher than the last time you were here” conversation. I had many lose-gain cycles over the last 10 years, and the combination of smoking, using food to cope, not exercising, and being in an extremely toxic work environment took a toll on my mental and physical health. I just felt very alone.
On the day of my 26th birthday, I had a gathering at a local bar with my friends. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of memories from that night. But what I do remember was being very intoxicated and getting into a fender-bender on the way home.
The next day I had a trip planned to South Carolina to visit a friend and her husband. The entire trip I was reflecting on my birthday, how my life was going up to that point—and I felt really sad. How did I let myself get here? After that trip in 2017, I knew I needed to change.
My mom encouraged me to quit my toxic job and focus on my health.
I did, and also decided that I needed to change my environment. I relocated to South Carolina at the beginning of 2018 to live with my friend and her husband until I got on my feet.
It was a brand new start. I knew that if I was going to do this for real this time, I needed to stay accountable. I had broken so many promises to myself for so many years, so I decided to document my entire journey on Instagram. I was terrified to be completely transparent with where I was at, but it completely changed my life.
For me, a big "aha!" moment was learning that following the latest trendy diet or eating plan wasn't sustainable long-term.
I also learned that there isn’t a perfect diet for everyone–we are all different. What may work for me will not work for someone else, and vice versa. What worked for me was listening to what my body needed in order to heal. What it needed, to put it simply, was to go back to basics.
The diet that works for my body is more whole foods and fewer restrictions! It’s about eating more vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats, and drinking lots of water. I am trying to incorporate more veggies and fruits, so I’ll want less sugar and preservatives or unfamiliar ingredients.
This has been working for me because most of the diets I have done in the past were restrictive. Being able to not restrict myself actually decreased my cravings for processed foods. I love food, and I believe you should enjoy it! I didn’t eliminate processed foods, and I also didn’t focus so much on removing them–I just crowded them out and added more nutrient-dense foods that made me feel good.
I found an online community, Fit Girls, that helped women jumpstart their weight-loss journeys.
They provided easy meal and workout plans to help people like myself get started and implement a healthier lifestyle in 28 days. The plan mainly consists of learning how to cook healthier meals that incorporate whole foods, and I eat about 1,400 calories per day. Ultimately, it really helped me create healthier habits for myself.
The community (@fitgirlsguide) also incorporated challenges each month, like drinking at least a gallon of water a day and taking 10,000 steps a day. It was fun because I wasn’t alone. If I was struggling, I knew my online accountability buddies would be there to lift me up, and I would be there for them too.
Here’s what I eat in a day now.
Breakfast: A cup of water with Ultima electrolyte powder, followed by a scoop of protein powder in my coffee with half and half.
Lunch: I’ve been on a brunch kick lately–two eggs scrambled, one chicken sausage, a cucumber and feta salad, sparkling water, and some sort of dietary fat (for example, half & half in my eggs and Primal Kitchen salad dressing).
Snacks: Slices of turkey, carrots, blueberries, or even some Catalina Crunch. Typically my lunch is pretty substantial, so I’m not as hungry for snacks.
Dinner: I try to cook at least three meals at home during the week. My fiancé and I rotate the meals we make. Lately it’s been salmon with green beans and jasmine rice, turkey burgers with a mixed green salad, rotisserie chicken with cauliflower mash and Brussel sprouts.
Dessert: Ice cream! I have dessert a few times during the week.
When I first started my journey, I started exercising right away, as I thought that would be the quickest way for me to drop the weight.
It was terrifying at first to even go to the gym. I remember sitting in the parking lot for a while before having the courage to go in, mainly because I was embarrassed by people looking at me. Plus, I wasn’t sure what to even do when I did go in there. I mainly did cardio machines, such as the elliptical and treadmill.
I found I liked at-home workouts, and really liked doing workout DVDs or the workouts I would find on Pinterest or Instagram that I could do in my room. Little by little, it got easier the more that I incorporated movement into each day. When I first started my journey, I was working out six days a week, typically a mix of cardio and strength training group classes at the gym. Now it’s a little different. I typically work out three to four times a week, anything from kickboxing to getting out on the trails for a walk or run, or doing a quick HIIT workout in my office if I’m short on time.
For many years I really wanted to be able to run, but due to my weight, it was very hard. During lockdown, being out on the trails and in nature was so good for me physically and mentally. At first, it was just walking, but then I would get the urge to run. My fiancé is a runner and he was the one that really helped me during this time. Now, running is one of my favorite ways to clear my head and move my body. I recently did my first 5K race. I completed it in 31 minutes (my goal was to complete it at or under 40!).
My other favorite form of movement is kickboxing! It is not only super fun, but it’s also one of the best forms of stress release. After having a hard day, being able to kick and punch a bag and get your frustration out is the best!
These three changes have made my weight loss journey successful.
I incorporated the right foods that work for my body. There are so many different diet theories and approaches out there. What may work for your friend may not work for you. Listen to your body, experiment with different foods, go back to basics (incorporate more veggies and fruit, healthy fats, quality protein, and adequate water intake), and crowd out processed foods. You can have your cake and eat veggies too! Food is fun—don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
I found movement that I love. You should exercise because you love and want to honor your body. Choose movement that is fun–something that you look forward to doing every day. Having a friend join you is going to make it enjoyable as well! If you’re currently doing a workout you hate, stop doing it, my friend!
I started believing in and loving myself. If you believe you can’t, then you can’t. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Start practicing gratitude, self-love, and positive affirmations. You teach your mind what is important—you! Diet and exercise can only get you so far. You can eat all the broccoli and quinoa in the world and work out six days a week, but if you can’t love yourself and the body you are in now, nothing is going to change.
I've lost 100 pounds over the last four years.
I’ve had many ups and downs since I started, but last year I recommitted and lost what I wanted to lose. But for me it's really not about what the scale says. It's more important to me that I feel good, strong, and accept myself fully. Not only does the number on the scale not determine my worth or success, but there are so many other non-scale victories to celebrate.
When I started my journey four years ago, my main goal was just to get healthy and to feel better. I hated the life I was living then, and I never want to go back to how I felt. Health is complex ,and I realize even though I lost the weight, the same internal struggles and problems I was dealing with are still there.
I still struggle with the body I’m in, accepting myself fully as I am. It’s taken me a very long time to look at myself in the mirror and say one nice thing about myself to myself and actually believe it. I wish someone would have told me early on that the inner work is much more important than the outer. Once you do the inner work, everything else falls into place.
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