Jessica Beniquez is a 21-year-old woman who used to weigh more than 320 pounds, just a year and a half ago. Now, after being overweight for her entire life she decided to ditch her bad habits and take control of her health. She felt really uncomfortable with her body, and she was determined to make a change.
“I didn’t want to sit in bed and do nothing. I felt so lazy,” Jessica says.
She explained how she gained her weight , despite having played sports in high school : “I didn’t stick a vegetable in my mouth. I ate fast food every day, and would pretty much only eat chicken nuggets, pasta and fries,” the 21-year-old claims that she was a very picky eater. Jessica spend her days laying in bed watching Netflix.
“All I did was eat, go to work and watch my shows. Getting out of bed was hard. I felt miserable. I knew I needed to lose weight because I had high blood pressure, but it took me over a year to realize how dangerous that is — and to do something about it.”
She finally realized that being overweight is doing her more harm than good and started making changes during the first couple months of 2016.
“I was about to start a whole other series on Netflix, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.” She added: “I didn’t want to sit in bed and do nothing, feeling so lazy. I didn’t even hang out with my friends. At the moment I decided to do it, I ordered Herbalife shakes that day. If I didn’t, I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am right now. I got the shakes and never looked back.”
The first step Jessica took was changing the types of food that she ate. Instead of eating cookies all day she ate carrots. She replaced the pasta with hummus and yogurt, and the chicken nuggets with healthy grilled chicken salad. “I opened my taste buds up to new things,” she says. Also, she consumed about 1200-1500 calories per day which was a big change from the diet she used to have.
But not only did she changed her eating habits, she also became much more active than she used to be. – “The day after I ordered the shakes I was walking. I walked a mile and a half to two miles a night,” Jessica also decided to join a gym: “I procrastinated because I was nervous what to do in the gym. I didn’t want people to look at me. It’s embarrassing when you’re young and really big. Walking through a gym, you see a lot of fit people and I was super intimated by that.” she says.
She first started doing exercises she saw on YouTube, and then decided to work with a personal trainer. Jessica adds: “But once I got the gym membership I exercised every single day for an hour, then eventually it turned into an hour and a half, and now I’m at two hours maybe more.”
Also, she got a lot of support “People would come up to me at the gym and say, ‘Wow, congratulations — you’ve come such a long way,’ ” says Beniquez, who now works at the front desk at the gym and hopes to become a certified trainer.
Another good decision she made was to document her journey on social media. Now she has 86,000 followers on Instagram and hopes to inspire others. “I wanted to show them that I could do it, and they can, too,” Jessica says.
She never expected to be where she is today. “I was shy, but now I have so much more confidence, I have so much more energy,” says Beniquez. “Before it took me 20 minutes to walk a mile and now I can run 5 miles in under 50 minutes…It’s crazy the things I can do now that I couldn’t do before.”
After 19 months she managed to get down to 145 lbs and expects to lose more weight. But in the meantime, Jessica continues to inspire countless people, and she looks incredibly happy and healthy. Great job, Jessica!