Mentor Hannah DeBlock has been on a personal journey for the last 3 years that has resulted in an incredible 85 pound weight-loss. However, her success is far more than just skin deep. Read below about her incredible path to finding her inner confidence, self-acceptance and a new found joy for life that she now uses to inspire her ArtSmart students in their own goal-setting endeavors.
Commitment, hard work, dedication, discipline. These are not always words we want to hear, and these words are certainly not easy. I had been wanting to lose weight for several years before I actually committed to this journey. I hit my heaviest weight, 240 lbs, in fall of 2014. I knew that something had to change, but I didn’t know what. For the rest of that year and all of 2015, I yo-yoed back and forth between losing and gaining weight. I would lose 8-10 pounds and gain 5-7 constantly. I got all the way down to 209lbs, just to go back up to 225. I felt really hopeless that I would ever be able to accomplish my dream.
However, everything changed in July 2016. One of my closest friends and roommate at the time, who had just turned 29, found out that she was diagnosed with cancer. My whole world was shaken. I thought, how could she, someone who was so healthy otherwise, receive such terrible news. My eyes were finally opened, and I was really hit in the face with the brevity of life. Thankfully my friend is fine now, she beat her cancer and is in remission, but it was the jolt that I needed to wake me up to my own health issues and needs.
The biggest thing that changed for me this time around was the notion that I was not trying to lose weight for some kind of aesthetic goals or because my friends and family thought I needed to lose weight. But that I really needed to do it for me and my health. I was having trouble doing small things like climbing flights of stairs or walking long distances and my right knee was constantly in pain. I knew that I had to set quickly achievable goals for myself, so I started with 5 pounds increments, from 225 to 220 to 215 and so on. I had an end goal in mind, but I chose never to actively think about it because I was afraid that that number would be too scary or daunting. Every time I hit one of my goals, I congratulated myself, but I never celebrated. I would tell myself, okay, Hannah, good job, now on to the next goal.
When I first started, I really threw myself into losing weight (probably a little too hard). I began going to the gym every day and exploring different and new types of nutrition. I explored Paleo, Whole30, vegetarianism, etc. Finally, I found a balance of foods I enjoyed and ones that were healthy. I started to pay attention not just to what I was eating, but how much I was eating. Something that really helped me was meal prepping. I could portion out my meals to be the exact calories I knew I needed for the day. But one thing I never did was deprive myself of or reward myself with my favorite foods, aka ice cream! If I wanted something sweet, I would let myself enjoy it without judgement. And while this may have slowed down my weight loss progress, it has made my journey more stable because it was and is sustainable.
After working really hard for about 8 months, I was down to about 195 pounds. I had found a rhythm and sustainable eating situation. I was beginning to tackle my personal issues that were lying beneath the surface and that were a huge component of the reason I was overweight in the first place. I had joined a Zumba class and cardio kickboxing class and was feeling good. But then I began to plateau...