It's hard to believe that just a year and a half ago, Jessica Beniquez weighed more than 320 pounds. But the 21-year-old, who ate fast food nearly every day and regularly binge-watched shows on Netflix, did indeed weigh that much. Though she had been overweight her whole life, she was feeling as uncomfortable as ever.
“Getting out of bed was hard," she said to PEOPLE. "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.”
But during the first couple months of 2016, Beniquez decided the time to change her life and take control of her health was now. The first step she took was changing the types of food that she ate. She replaced chicken nuggets and fries with grilled chicken salads and carrots with hummus.
Then, she started taking regular walks at night and trying out exercises she saw on YouTube before joining a gym. Now, she's able to do two-hour sessions each day.
When you work hard you'll see results Thinking about doing it, isn't going to get you anywhere. The second you start to think about losing weight, get up in that moment and do something about it! You won't regret it😊 (March 2016-now) #throwbackthursday #throwback #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlossmotivation #weightlosstransformation
And today, Beniquez weighs in at a much healthier 145 pounds. After a year and a half of taking control of her health, she's documented her progress on Instagram, which she says has been a big help of keeping her focused on reaching her goals.
“People would come up to me at the gym and say, ‘Wow, congratulations — you’ve come such a long way,’” Beniquez said.
Now, she hopes to become a certified trainer someday. But in the meantime, she continues to inspire countless people by sharing her story and her tips on her page.
“I wanted to show them that I could do it, and they can, too,” Beniquez said. “I never expected to be where I am today. I was shy, but now I have so much more confidence, I have so much more energy.”
My name is Jessica and I’m 21. I’m 5’4 and I have lost over 170 lbs with diet and exercise. Starting at over 320 lbs and currently between 145-148. It wasn’t easy to get where I am today. There were and still are obstacles that get in the way, but that’s just the way it is and I have to deal with it. Did I let me give up? NEVER. One thing I will NEVER do is go back to my old ways. Everything that I did to get where I am today was BEYOND worth it, the sweat, the soreness, the pain of not being able to breath after a good cardio sesh. ALL WORTH IT. You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them. If you want it bad enough, you’ll do something about it and that’s all the motivation you’ll need. Not I or anyone else can make you want it. YOU have to make the decision and YOU have to be the one to work for it! #motivationmonday #motivationalmonday #iammotiv8 #motiv8monday #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #beforeandafter #beforeandduring
Enjoy your weight loss success, Jessica! You've certainly earned it.
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h/t Reader's Digest