CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Jessica Blakeney has been struggling with her weight for years, and even though she was born a preemie, she’s spent most of her adult life overweight until a pivotal trip overseas that she says was her breaking point.
“In 2013, I won a scholarship to travel to Italy for Spring Break,” she recalled. “I could not fully enjoy it due to my weight. I would have to stop walking because I was so tired. My feet, face and hands all were swollen. I was there when Pope Francis was named pope. I was in so much pain and so exhausted that I did not get off the tour bus to witness that moment in history.”
The Pageland, S.C. native started making changes – working out four times a week and watching what she ate. She lost nearly 60 pounds in less than a year. But – the weight loss didn’t last and it took her awhile to recognize why.
“Mental health is key when attaining a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “You can eat right, work out and do everything possible to get your body in line. If you don’t have your mental in check, it will all fall apart at any given moment. “
Jessica remembered how she spiraled into a deep depression after a relationship went south. She struggled for nearly two years, digging herself out of that dark place - determined to have self-love again.
It wasn’t until a diagnosis of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and a grim prediction from her doctor to put her on medication that she decided to full embrace the #TeamNOSugar lifestyle.
“I was threatened to be put on Metformin (for diabetes) and possibly even high blood pressure medicine if I didn’t lose the weight by my next visit,” she said.
She started making changes again – but this time – with a different mindset. She also started working with a personal trainer, determined to make the changes stick long-term.
Since July, Jessica has lost 30 pounds! She reached out to me on social media to share her story. “My whole life has changed and I want to scream it from the mountain tops,!” she excitedly told me.
“I chose to represent #TeamNoSugar because I refuse to be a statistic. My mother is a diabetic and my grandmother has high blood pressure. There have been several family members who have passed away due to preventable medical conditions. I want people to know, (especially African Americans) that this can be done.”