A woman has gone viral after sharing the emotional story behind her weight loss journey.
22-year-old Felicia Keathley, from California, has lost an astonishing nine stone and five pounds over the past 14 months.
Starting her journey in May last year, at the time Felicia weighed 21 stone and five pounds. She now weighs an amazing 12 stone and admits she is ‘happier’ than she has ever been.
Felicia was inspired by her therapist to make significant changes to her eating habits realising it was tied to her mental health.
In high school Felicia was sexually assaulted, a secret she kept to herself for years.
Speaking exclusively to UNILAD, Felicia explained she dealt with the stress and distress it caused her by comfort eating which negatively impacted her health and mental health.
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.
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.
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.
I constantly reminded myself this does not control you anymore and don’t let this control your life and happiness.
I overcame my weight but in the end I overcame so much mentally.
Losing weight helped Felicia address the sexual assault. Now she is ‘much happier, outgoing, active and excited about life’.
Her transformation is incredible:
Joining Weight Watchers ‘expecting it to fail like all the times before’, Felicia was surprised to find herself enjoying the food her diet allowed.
She went from eating fast food five or six days a week to having it maybe once a month and rather than drink five sodas a day, Felicia now enjoys a ton of water each day.
Learning about moderation, Felicia realised she could still eat the food she liked but in smaller portions knowing also ‘one cookie won’t derail you’.
Felicia also started working out initially going out for walks with her son in his stroller before joining a gym.
Confessing working out at the gym was ‘the hardest part’ of her journey, Felicia admitted it was worth the struggle as now not only does she enjoy exercise, but she is also more active for her two-year-old son Weston.
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.
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.
Proud of her transformation, Felicia shared before and after photos on Twitter, writing:
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.
People rushed to congratulate Felicia on her weight loss with the tweet receiving over 87,000 likes and 16,000 retweets at time of writing (August 3).
With plenty of people asking Felicia for advice online, she gave UNILAD her top tips.
NEVER GIVE UP. There are times where you will feel like you blew it and I promise you 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.
Inspiring words, Felicia!
Congratulations on your weight loss and your revived outlook on life.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30).
Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.