'Don’t let this control your life': Woman who was sexually assaulted in high school shares her incredible weight loss journey
22-year-old Felicia Keathley found comfort in eating but decided to turn her life around after realizing how her past trauma was destroying her
22-year-old Felicia Keathley from California decided to turn her life around by setting herself a weight loss goal. When Felicia started her journey in May last year, she weighed 21 stone and five pounds and, after 14 months of hard work, she now weighs 12 stone. She admits she is ‘happier’ than she has ever been.
Felicia was inspired to focus on her physical health after her therapist asked her to make changes to her eating habits as they are often connected to mental health. Felicia recalled that she found solace in eating after she was sexually assaulted in high school. The stress and discomfort that the assault caused led her to resort to food and that in turn impacted her mental and physical health in a negative way.
Speaking to UNILAD, Felicia hinted how she grew tired of not liking herself. "I was tired of being overweight and tired of being miserable. In high school, I had been sexually assaulted and I kept it inside for years as I ate and ate and let the weight pile on," she said. "My therapist and I came to the conclusion that my assault and keeping it a secret had caused me to use food as my comfort. I was pushing it down deeper and deeper, masking it with the comfort of food. I was done having that part of my life control me."
Even though Felicia started her weight loss journey, she recalled how it was not an easy task. "Throughout the start of my weight loss journey, it was something that I always struggled with because, in the past, it had been the cause of my binge eating," she said. "I constantly reminded myself: This does not control you anymore and don’t let this control your life and happiness."
She added, "I overcame my weight but, in the end, I overcame so much mentally." She joined weight watchers and, even though expecting it to fail like all the times before, she was surprised to see how much she could enjoy her new diet and how it did not restrict her to certain food items. Prior to her weight loss journey, Felicia used to have junk food five or six times a day but after she started working on herself she reduced it to once in a month.
At the same time, rather than drinking five sodas in a day, she substituted it with drinking plenty of water. She also learned that one cookie won’t derail you’ and realized the benefits of eating in small portions. Initially, Felicia used to go to for walks with her son but decided to take the hardest decision and that was to join the gym. Even though it was a struggle at first, she learned to enjoy it eventually.
"I wanted to be healthy and happy for him. My son was one at the time and I knew at the rate I was going I probably wouldn’t live a full life," she said. "I didn’t want to be the mum on the sidelines watching her son’s life go by. I wanted to be involved. I wanted him to grow up having not just healthy mom but a happy one. Now we go to the park and play, we run around outside, go to the zoo. I’m more open to doing things and experiencing life with him."
She further added, "After 14 months of hard work, I am officially down 131 lbs total. I never EVER thought I would get here. I have never been this happy in my life. Take care of your body and believe in yourself. It IS possible." As for people who are or want to start their own weight loss journey, Felicia has only one advice: "NEVER GIVE UP. There are times where you will feel like you blew it and I promise you to haven’t. Getting up and getting back on track is the most important thing you can do! Don’t derive yourself from things you love! Make it a lifestyle change and enjoy your journey. It doesn’t have to be miserable! If I could do it, ANYONE can."