I Lost 70 Pounds: Cledra Drops The Weight And Rewrites Her Own Story
I reached my highest weight in 2007 after going through the darkest time of my life when my pregnancy ended with the comment “Cledra his heart has stopped”. I had been told I had over 90% chance of my pregnancy going full term because my baby boy looked great and his heart beat was strong. In one day that one sentence changed everything. Less than 90 days later my then husband sat me down to tell me he was seeing someone else. The pain was so excruciating that eating was the way I checked out of my life and my reality that I just didn’t have the skill or the will to face.
NAME : Cledra
BEFORE WEIGHT : 246
AFTER WEIGHT : 185
POUNDS LOST : 70
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? I had excelled in corporate America, I had excelled as a student finishing first in my class as a Chemical Engineer, but for the first time in my life I felt like a failure after my marriage and my journey to becoming a Mom failed. I felt like I failed as a woman. I didn’t know who I was anymore so I retreated. I didn’t go out, I didn’t talk to anyone consistently other than my Mother and that’s because she made me talk to her, and I immersed myself in therapy, coaching, and a bible study with women who were alot older. Because I had gone from like a 10 to a size 24 people didn’t recognize me and I could see in their eyes as they scanned by body they wondered what happened to me…little did they know I wondered what happened to me as well
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I prayed and asked GOD to give me peace about losing my baby. I knew I could eventually find another man to love but losing my baby unraveled a part of me that made me unrecognizable even to myself. GOD answered my prayer by allowing me to see in a dream that my baby was peacefully resting. I was on this beautiful ocean shore and far away I could see this translucent image holding my baby and as I rushed to the water to try to get to him he said “Mommy go back…Mommy go back”. I woke up with a wet pillow and tears streaming but I also woke for the first time in many months with a deep abiding peace that I’d never experienced. I remember the joy I felt seeing my baby’s heart beat and seeing him move and that same joy filled my heart knowing he was really ok. He had the best babysitter ever and now it was time for me to go back. Go back to what I didn’t know and so I prayed once again and the scripture Hebrews 12:1 came in my spirit and I knew I needed to start running. I couldn’t figure the whole journey out of the dark out but I knew my next step was to run and so at 246lbs I signed up for my first 5K and I ran
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I started running and alternating that with home exercise videos. I also joined Jenny Craig. Someone else doing all of the planning for me was great. I was still very fragile emotionally and so I needed a guarantee..eat this and drop the weight.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I saw results fairly quickly on Jenny Craig but the results in my emotional well being and root cause of why I packed on so many pounds…those results came a lot slower
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I had to overcome the complete unraveling of my confidence, self esteem, and belief that I still had a valuable purpose. I come from a long lineage of amazing women who are amazing Mothers and the idea that being a Mom wasn’t on my life resume was a HUGE challenge for me to conquer.
I also had to overcome being out of “step” with my girlfriends. They were all having babies, talking about day care or whether to return to work, planning great family photos for Christmas postcards and I was trying to heal from my husband wanting to be with someone else and my season of becoming a mom ending tragically. I felt like for the first time I was in the slow class but this time the slow class for life
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? In this entire time I hadn’t wanted to give up until actually this past year in 2015 I got the news that my Daddy had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Once again I felt clipped at the knees without any notice…he wasn’t sick, he wasn’t in an accident, he just passed away on the last day of the first quarter of 2015. I lost my drive for a while and returned to some old habits of using food to cope. After regaining about 25lbs I was gifted with another dream and my Daddy was talking to me about how there was so much more left for me and he reminded me in the dream how he used to tell me “don’t hold on to the day I leave…we’ll always have more of the other days than that one day that you can remember”. And so I counted up all of the other days 44 years, 7 months and 2 days…that’s what I had with my Daddy and I made a headband with it and a bracelet and I got back up and started living for “all of the other days”.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? My physical weight plateaus were always proceeded by emotional weight plateaus which is why all of my work now emphasizes weight you CANNOT SEE as the most important weight to drop. I overcame my physical weight plateaus by creating 8 weights to drop and went on to write a book about how to Rewrite Your Story by dropping these 8 weights. I felt led to reach back and help other women who had suffered from emotional eating end the insane cycle of approaching it with a diet instead of a decision about how to think and live. It became more about my goal LIFE than my goal weight and THAT is my biggest success!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? about 5 years
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I launched my own coaching practice, wrote a book, and dedicated my life to helping women “rewrite their story” and live happily EVEN after disappointment!
My confidence and self esteem are grounded in my divine design and not a number
I know now that my value cannot be changed by a number on a scale
I was voted in the top 10 over 40 in Atlanta for looking good & living my Best life
I have been featured in several publications online and offline.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I don’t try to make myself have a “daily diet” anymore. Every day is different. Some days I have time for breakfast and other days I don’t. The FREEDOM I now have to give my body what it needs for the present day conditions is HUGE for me. I used to try to force fit a daily plan but life is dynamic, fluid, and full of unpredictable circumstances. My daily nutrient goal is to eat for the energy I need to live on and with purpose for this day
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I may be unusual in that I’ve always enjoyed working out because it made me feel so good.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
Keep an emotional journal and start to pay attention to how certain emotions trigger you to eat certain foods. Identify your connection to coping with life by using excess food. This is key to getting to the root cause of the excess weightLove yourself to wellness. Forgive yourself for the times you coped with excess food and love all of you AS IS and you’ll notice how much better you take care of yourself. We take care of who we love.Find an exercise that you LOVE and not loath. It’s important that you look at moving as a “get to” instead of a “have to” or a “should”Stay present. It’s great to want to drop weight but sometimes impatience to get there can lead to emotions that trigger us to eat. Stay present and do what you can with what you have in this very momentCount what matters. Count your blessings, count the people you love, count the memories that make you smile. Stop counting the weeks you need to drop “x” amount of weight, how many times you’ve tried to lose weight and failed, etc. Count what matters.
The FREEDOM I now have to give my body what it needs for the present day conditions is HUGE for me. She's an inspirational weight loss success story for all black women and African-American females losing weight seeking before and after pictures, programs and healthy meal plans.