Most days she’s a sandwich artist, and other days she provides childcare for those that need it. In between all that she’s out on hikes and hitting the gym because some time ago she made the conscious decision to start her weight loss journey. People like me watch the weight to ensure they don’t have to buy new pants because clothes are expensive, Alexis Thomas on the other hand got serious about losing weight after both her parents were diagnosed with diabetes. Dieting as a kid, it never really stuck. Then five years ago she really started to get serious about her health and started heading to the gym. Today she’s a significant amount of weight since then has found a love of cardio and the weight room. Now we’ll get onto what she had to say about being thin vs. healthy, what continues to motivate her and more.
Kendra: Growing up I was constantly made to feel like shit because I didn’t look like the girls on TV who got the boys I liked. I wasn’t just fat, I was boyish and black. Did mainstream media ever make you feel like you were less than?
Alexis: Definitely, we were surrounded by “examples” of how we should look, dress and wear our hair. The media never portrayed curvy girl (let alone the women of color) to be the one who got the guy they liked, in the TV shows or movies I idolized. I didn’t feel comfortable knowing I was different than my friends, I remember telling myself, “He would never like the color of my skin, but I bet he’d like me if I had long straight hair and was thinner.”
Kendra: Today though, we have moved a little closed towards this body-posi movement. How do you hope that affects the way people see themselves from here on out?
Alexis: It’s all about strength, seeing how people make you feel and what your true potential really is. Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with my eight-year-old niece at the dinner table about why she wasn’t finishing her food. And instead of the usual answer you get from a child, “I don’t like meatloaf and vegetables,” she instead told me of her fear of becoming fat. In that moment I started to cry because this isn’t something you should be worrying about at this age. The first thing I said following that was, “Who made you feel like this?” and of course she replied, “A boy at school.” I just want a world where my perfectly healthy eight-year-old niece doesn’t feel like she needs to starve herself in order to please others, and feel like she needs to look like someone else.
Kendra: How important do you think having more variety in the media is to us as we grow older, are we still as impressionable as when we were younger?
Alexis: Today, not so much. We’ve got a better grasp on the people we want to become as opposed to the people we think we need to become.
Kendra: The Be Real Campaign promotes health over looks. How important do you think it is for people to realize weight has nothing to do with beauty or health in some cases?
Alexis: In no case, should weight have anything to do with health or beauty. People should realize they’re okay just as they are. A unique person, that is capable and loveable, with special talents and strengths, and inner wisdom and creativity – a human being of high value. Once people accept and respect themselves they can get more comfortable with themselves inside and out. Accept your body, your heart, unconditionally and and honor their character and achievements
Kendra: My boyfriend and I were both fat kids and I know a lot of other people who’ve lost weight struggle with the idea that they’ll gain it back. Do you have that fear in the back of your mind at times?
Alexis: I have actually gained about 30lbs of the 100 that I lost a couple of years ago. Like I said, this journey is lifelong, and I’m not as afraid of weight gain as I am of diabetes, cancer or other health related problems.
Kendra: So what motivated you that first time to go to the gym, and is that the same thing that continues to drive you there?
Alexis: Just that, my mom was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the young age of 35. She was a heavier lady weighing well over 300lbs. Now when she found out, she didn’t make too much of an effort (at least not prolong measures) to help herself out. Yes, she lost about 100lbs herself because of it, but not the healthy way. Overly high blood sugar levels can also cause rapid weight loss, say 10 to 20 pounds over two or three months—but this is not a healthy weight loss. Because the insulin hormone isn’t getting glucose into the cells, where it can be used as energy, the body thinks it’s starving and starts breaking down protein from the muscles as an alternate source of fuel. The kidneys are also working overtime to eliminate the excess sugar, and this leads to a loss of calories (and can harm the kidneys). Ultimately, she passed away because of the self negligence overworking certain organs. So i told myself, I never wanted to end up like that. So that was the FIRST TIME I made weight loss effort, over time…I gave up on myself, and then a couple years following my dad was diagnosed with the same disease. That’s when I told myself, nope, I will not let this take over my life. I will out beat this. And I’m still fighting.
Kendra: Lastly, what’s been the biggest high of your experience with losing weight, and what’s been the biggest low of it?
Alexis: I’ve had really good experiences with the weight loss, being able to run a mile without feeling like I would die was one of the best. After gaining some weight back, it’s still a good feeling knowing that I don’t need to be “skinny” to be “healthy” — the weight fluctuation has definitely helped me find myself. At the beginning I had some extremely unhealthy thoughts. I would look at myself and still call myself fat, and looking back today, i looked perfectly fine. with 30lbs added, I still feel like I feel like I look perfectly fine. But this round of the journey, I wanna be stronger, faster and fitter. Not thin. Just, better.