My name is Jayda Eubanks (@jay_eub) and I'm 22 years old. I live in Orlando, Florida, and I am the social media and marketing director for Magical Vacation Planner. After reaching 380 pounds in 2017 and not being able to go on a ride at Disney World, I consulted with my doctor and decided to get gastric bypass. After surgery, eating smaller portions and working out every day helped me lose 170 pounds.
I have always struggled with my weight and sticking with a routine. But I've wanted to be healthier for just as long. However, it was difficult to get the motivation and drive to better my life.
I think my biggest hurdle was finding a way to eat healthy and lose weight, then actually stick with it. I struggled a lot with overeating. I would eat and eat and eat, and I could never really stop when I was full.
My turning point came in 2017, when I was 20. I was in my sophomore year of college, and I had put on 100 pounds.
It was getting harder for me to do everyday activities—walking to class, getting out of bed, even just walking to my car. But I pushed the issue aside and just hoped I would magically lose weight.
That year, my family booked a trip to Disney World. My mom and dad had gotten us a VIP tour for the day for the Flights of Passage that had opened in Disney's Animal Kingdom. We got up to the ride, and I was the only person who could not ride due to my size and weight. I was so humiliated. I was at my heaviest: 380 pounds.
I definitely knew at this point it was time for me to do something about my size and health. I got a dietitian, and started following a plan that was crafted specifically for me.
After discussing options with my doctor, it was decided that I would have gastric bypass surgery.
Working with a dietitian was definitely helpful, but I felt like I'd hit a wall with my weight. I was so nervous and scared but knew I wanted to go through with it. And now? I’m so glad I went through with the procedure.
My diet completely changed, especially for the first year after surgery. What works for me currently is small portions throughout the day. Instead of eating three large meals, I will have several small meals. Doing this makes me feel full for longer. I also still see a dietitian who helps me make my meal plans.
Here's what I typically eat during a busy work day.
- Breakfast: Egg whites, low-fat feta cheese, and some tomatoes. I will also eat a slice of Dave's Killer bread if I am feeling extra hungry.
- Lunch: An easy turkey burger! I usually mix ground turkey, spinach, feta cheese, an egg, and oats in a bowl. I mix it all up and throw it on the stove and cook it. I will usually have low-fat cottage cheese and some broccoli as sides.
- Dinner: My favorite dinner go-to is a chicken stir fry. I always use ground chicken, a ton of fresh veggies, and some teriyaki sauce. I usually use the Panda Express brand of sauce if I can't make my own.
- Snacks: Dill pickle chips, different-flavored cashews, blueberries and Greek yogurt, and banana with some PB powder.
- Dessert: Fruit with Greek yogurt, sugar-free pudding, Halo Top, or two Oreo Thins that I usually stick in the freezer. They're *so* good.
I also drink more water throughout the day now than I used to. I bought a HydroJug, which makes it so easy to track how much water I'm drinking! On a really good day, I can get a gallon in. Cutting out sugary drinks has really made a difference too.
I now exercise every day. Whether it’s walking or running, I try to get some physical activity in every day. I usually do 45 minutes of cardio followed by either arms, legs, or abs. And I usually work out in the mornings. If I get a good workout done in the morning, my whole day feels 10 times better.
I have lost a total of 170 pounds since 2017.
I just recently had a tummy tuck and skin removal surgery as well, and I lost around 10 pounds of skin.
My weight loss journey has been a long process. Mentally and physically, it can be draining. I have gotten to the point where my headspace is a little better, and I do not freak out about the number on the scale much anymore. I worry more about my progress than the number on the scale. I’m all about non-scale victories now.
If I could give women any advice, it would be to do what you feel comfortable with. You don't have to do *any* surgery, diet, or workout that makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy. We are all different, and our bodies are all so different, so what works great for me may not be the best thing for you.
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