Believe it or not, a year and a half ago, 22-year-old Jessica Beniquez weighed over 320 pounds—and she was miserable.
“I didn’t feel comfortable,” she told PEOPLE. “Getting out of bed was hard… 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.”
A few bad habits had brought her to that point. A self-described “picky eater,” the Florida resident ate fast food every day, and chicken nuggets, pasta, and fries were staples in her diet. She also routinely binge-watched TV shows on Netflix. “All I did was eat, go to work, and watch my shows,” Beniquez said. Don’t miss these 10 weight loss tricks that have absolutely nothing to do with diet or exercise.
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So the first thing I did when I got home was try on jeans, wellllll with how swollen I am, they kinda fit the same just without the skin flopping out!! Today was a super long day so tomorrow I will take a pic and show which kind of compress am wearing!#swellhell #tummytuckjourney #weighlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #bootybuilding #transformation #mondaymotivation #motivationmonday
When Beniquez finally committed to making a change in the beginning of 2016, the first challenge she tackled was her diet. Soon, her meals and snacks took on a completely different color (literally!) Foods such as carrots and hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese, HerbaLife shakes, and grilled chicken salads made regular appearances on her plate. “I opened my tastebuds up to new things,” she said.
Beniquez also started taking walks every night and doing exercises she saw on YouTube. Later on, she joined a gym, and has worked her way up to two-hour sessions every day. No gym membership? Here’s how to lose weight without a lick of exercise.
Beniquez documented her entire weight loss journey on Instagram. In addition to receiving support in person and online, she says it kept her accountable. “People would come up to me at the gym and say, ‘Wow, congratulations—you’ve come such a long way,’” Beniquez said. Now, she works at the front desk at the gym and hopes to become a certified trainer.
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I remeber that pic on the left like it was yesterday! I was on a mini vacation in Wilmington North Carolina exploring all things One Tree Hill? Walking around in flat foot sandals carrying over 300 lbs was not the the most comfortable thing but this was the very first start of my journey so i was getting all the exercise in I could get by walking! #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #transformation Also TOMORROW IS MY LAST FULL DAY BEFORE SURGERY ???
Today, Beniquez weighs in at 140 pounds—an incredible 180-pound difference. She hopes that her story will encourage others to take control of their health, as well. “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.”
We don’t know about you, but we already feel inspired! Start your own weight loss journey today with these 42 fast, easy tips for weight loss.