Eboney Found Herself on Her Journey to Lose*


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/23/2014 12:00 AM   :  41 comments   :  20,221 Views

Name: Eboney Lewis Haynes
Username: ebielou
Amount of weight lost: 122 pounds         
Hometown: Piedmont, Alabama
Occupation: Teacher
Age: 28
Ebony Haynes has transformed her entire life by taking control of her eating and fitness. After losing more than 100 pounds, she now helps others transition into healthy lifestyles by teaching Zumba and Pound classes and being a walking example of the power of perseverance.

What was life like before your weight loss? Before losing weight, I lived a mundane life. I basically woke up, went to work, ate and slept. I didn't have a lot of friends to hang out with. I didn't find any joy in life. I spent a lot of time alone and at home.

What was your "light bulb moment" that made you get serious about losing the weight? My "light bulb moment" came in 2009, when I realized that health conditions run on both sides of my family, and if I didn't change my habits soon I would develop those conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes).

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey: I started my journey in 2010. When I started, I weighed 366 pounds. I couldn't walk a couple of steps without being winded so I made a goal to just start walking 1 mile a day. I went to a gym with an indoor walking track, but wouldn't go inside of the actual exercise area because I was embarrassed to be in there. Once I worked myself up to 1 mile, I increased my walks to 2 miles. I made this steady increase until I was walking 5 miles a day. At this point, I had lost 50 pounds and was so proud of myself. At the end of 2010, I lost 88 pounds. My journey continued and I ended up losing 206 pounds and getting to my lowest weight of my adult life of 160 pounds. However, I let life get in the way, and I gained almost 100 pounds back. I've started working hard again on my journey, and I now have 84 pounds until I hit my goal.

Did you encounter any obstacles during your journey and, if so, how did you deal with them? I thought my addiction to food was over. However, I was wrong. Eating healthy is going to be a struggle for me for the rest of my life, but I've made my mind up that this is going to be a lifestyle change and I can't let anything get in the way of my goals.

Another obstacle I encountered was being around negative people. People who are comfortable with their weight were not my biggest supporters. Some of my friends and family kept saying to me that I had lost enough weight, but I was still weighing in over 200 pounds. I don't think it will ever be healthy for me to be over 200 pounds.

What tools, routines, habits, and motivators did you find most helpful?
  • Setting goals
  • Rewarding myself (not with food)
  • Finding an accountability partner
  • Finding a group fitness class
Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? I have slipped up many times. I've also hit plateaus before. My advice to anyone who slips up is to remember that a slip up does not make you a failure. Once you've realized that you've slipped up, just make sure you recognize it and begin your regimen immediately.

The way I overcome plateaus is to change my routine. I either change my eating or exercising to break through the dreaded plateau.

What is your typical exercise routine like? I am a group fitness instructor now, so my exercise routine is a little strenuous. I do an early morning workout before work anywhere from 60-90 minutes. I teach a 30 minute PE class during the day. I also teach Zumba and/or Pound for at least 60 minutes in the evening.

How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss? I really try to eat my recommended daily intake now that I've begun this lifestyle change. I track every single morsel of food that goes into my mouth. Before my weight loss, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to eat.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight loss program? DO NOT GIVE UP and make small changes. Most people give up to early because they try to do everything at once. The best thing to do is to make 3 small changes at first. Once those changes have been implemented into your lifestyle, then make some more changes. Most people feel defeated early on because they have tried to implement a plan that eventually they just will not keep.

Did you experience any other benefits in addition to losing weight? I have gained so much more confidence with my weight loss. I have more friends than ever before, and I'm able to say that I do not have any of the medical conditions that my family suffers from.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health? Since I have lost weight, I have become a better person. I am the person who people come to ask how to change their lifestyle and live a healthy life. My journey is and has not been just for me. People who I don't even know have come up to me in the gym before and told me that I'm their inspiration because they have watched me go from being able to barely walk a mile to running. I am not as insecure as I use to be. I am able to play games, exercise and have fun with my kids and students. Improving my health has shown me that I am worth every second, minute and hour of EVERY day! As my Zumba Instructor (Candace Tinner) says, "IT'S POSSIBLE!"
Way to go, Eboney! Keep working toward your goals!!
*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program. 

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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    You should be extremely proud of yourself, especially for not giving up after gaining back 100 pounds. You look wonderful and are a great inspiration to me to keep trying. Thank you. - 4/19/2016   7:35:01 PM
    Congratulations! You are an inspiration. - 3/18/2016   7:44:56 AM
  • 39
    Great job! So inspiring! - 3/2/2016   9:12:46 AM
  • 38
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so inspirational! - 11/4/2015   2:16:57 PM
    I love your suggestion to start with three small changes. Good advice. - 3/12/2015   1:05:39 AM
  • 36
    Great job! Keep at it! - 3/11/2015   7:32:30 AM
  • 35
    Thank you , You were beautiful before but now you are supper beautiful.
    Well done you. keep up the great work in getting were you want to be in health terms. - 1/8/2015   12:52:57 AM
  • 34
    Enjoyed reading your story! Good luck on the rest of your journey. Loved your pictures of you at Cave Springs! I love Cave Springs. We had our family reunions there for years. - 11/15/2014   11:52:36 AM
  • 33
    It's POSSIBLE! Love it! I'd love a Zumba Class where someone kept saying that! - 9/11/2014   2:58:19 PM
  • 32
    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing your story. - 7/14/2014   3:47:59 PM
  • 31
    Great inspirational story. Keep up the good work. - 7/14/2014   1:10:16 PM
  • 30
    Congratulations Eboney - 4/25/2014   5:41:30 PM
  • 29
    I'm happy for you, Eboney, and your suggestions are terrific. I feel that it will be a lifelong struggle for me too, but isn't that like alcoholics in that they have to always be vigilant to never drink again? We can't forget that we can always fall off the wagon because food is tantalizing! I agree that being accountable to yourself by tracking your calories makes you honest. I'm happy that you're the healthy one in your family. It's hard work to be healthy. You keep it up, and keep that healthy network of friends around you to keep you sane, slim, and beautiful! - 4/25/2014   6:51:49 AM
  • 28
    AWESOME!! You will continue to succeed because you have the right mind set. Continued success along your journey to maintain a healthy lifestyle!! - 3/19/2014   1:09:42 PM
  • 27
    Ebony, you look great! And your health is SO worth it!
    - 3/13/2014   11:43:41 AM
  • 26
    "♪♫You better werk! Covergirl! Werk it girl, in a swirl, do your thang, on the runway! Werk! Now turn it to the left! Werk! Now turn it to the right! Werk! Sashay, janté!!♪♫" - RuPaul.

    You did the damn thing Eboney! You must be super proud of yourself, and you should be. Hard work and dedication definitely pay off and certainly look great! - 2/26/2014   8:10:31 PM
  • 25
    Wonderful success story and some great advice for other people who are struggling. Keep up the great work! - 2/24/2014   10:40:05 PM
  • 24
    WOW!!! What an inspiration you are! I am moaning because I regained 15 lbs., and you are showing me I can do it!!! - 2/24/2014   10:35:05 PM
  • 23
    Great story and good timing to KEEP me motivated. You must feel so much better--I know I did. I didn't want to admit that my weight limited me, but have since rediscovered a whole new world that I had just dropped out of because of lack of motivation, inability, or embarassment. It is wonderful that you have rediscovered that side again.

    I have been maintaining for over a year but am still vulnerable and keep coming back for tracking, inspiration, and motivation to stay on track.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! - 2/24/2014   2:58:36 PM
  • 22
    Wow!! Congratulations!!! - 2/24/2014   2:56:59 PM
  • 21
    GREAT JOB! - 2/24/2014   2:53:29 PM
  • 20
    You look wonderful! I love your story and love your name. Did you know there is a town in North Eastern Arkansas named Ebony? - 2/24/2014   2:24:02 PM
    Way to go! This is very inspiring! - 2/24/2014   12:14:38 PM
    Your smiles are wonderful to see at Cave Springs. What a great comparison. I admire your tenacity and the fact that you have found what you need to do to help yourself and to teach others what you have learned! What a great example of applied learning you have become!!! - 2/24/2014   11:42:38 AM
  • 17
    You should be very proud of yourself. You have changed the course of your life and will no longer be a statistic for bad health!!! WTG I. Know it was not easy.... - 2/24/2014   10:34:58 AM
  • 16
    Yeah! Congrats! - 2/24/2014   9:48:19 AM
  • 15
    Great Job! You are so inspiring, Keep up the good work - 2/24/2014   8:00:29 AM
  • 14
    Inspiring! You look great!
    Congrats on your accomplishments. - 2/24/2014   5:22:31 AM
  • 13
    I do believe you have got what it takes to be the healthiest person you can for the rest of your life! Well done on your success! - 2/24/2014   5:03:54 AM
    You go girl! Congratulations!
    - 2/23/2014   11:59:06 PM
  • 11
    This was wonderful to read. I'm very happy to hear of your success, lady! Congrats and enjoy! - 2/23/2014   7:16:32 PM
  • 10
    Congratulations Eboney! What an inspiring story. Keep it up and never give up. Thanks for sharing your story. - 2/23/2014   6:07:09 PM
  • 9
    Congratulations Eboney! I have really enjoyed reading your story. :) - 2/23/2014   1:28:43 PM
    What a great inspiration! Not only for those at Sparkpeople and those in your fitness classes, but also to the children that you teach. - 2/23/2014   12:14:28 PM
  • 7
    Congrats and thanks for being such a great inspiration. - 2/23/2014   10:54:40 AM
  • 6
    Congratulations on all your accomplishments!!! You are an inspiration!!! - 2/23/2014   10:31:50 AM
  • 5
    What a great inspiration! You look great! - 2/23/2014   8:13:29 AM
  • 4
    Awesome job; you look amazing. Thank you for sharing your journey; so inspiring. - 2/23/2014   6:15:35 AM
  • 3
    Bless you Eboney, for sharing your weight loss journey!!! - 2/23/2014   6:10:41 AM
  • 2
    You look amazing, and I am inspired to eat healthy today, and get in my exercise!
    - 2/23/2014   6:06:40 AM
  • 1
    I am sooo happy for you. Keep at it. You are worth it. Stay focused and keep pushing! - 2/23/2014   2:56:55 AM

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