Tonaya Wint struggled with her self-confidence in high school because of her weight. Five years ago, when she was 21 years old and 152 pounds at just a little over five feet tall, she decided to do something about it. She dedicatedly started working out at Cuthbert's Fitness Studio with Olympian and now Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert Flynn.
“I lost weight. I lost about 25 pounds in four months, and I worked out. I had a lot of muscles,” she reflected.
But like many persons on a quest for fitness, Wint relapsed a few months later.
“I went back to school and had all these late night shifts, and I put on back the weight.”
After seeing that she could lose the weight, Wint's confidence improved a lot, and she loved her figure at 128 pounds. But she kept postponing her return to her fitness regimen, and before she knew it, four years had passed and she was up to 148 pounds.
“Last year February Lasco ICool contacted me and asked me to be their fitness ambassador for their Fit to Fete campaign, and they sent me to gym training. I had a personal trainer, and the goal was to try and lose at least 15-20 lbs before carnival. I only had two months. I ended up losing 15 pounds in the two months, and now one year later I'm still at it with gym training,” she said proudly.
Wint discovered on her second journey to fitness that it was not hard to shed the pounds she had packed on in her relapse, once she got the motivation to get up and go again.
“My body retained muscle memory; it didn't take much to lose the weight last year. It was a bit difficult because I only had two months, and I really had to push myself to keep my eye on the prize,” she said.
But once she committed to shedding the pounds in time for carnival, she gave it her all.
“I got up 4:30 every morning and got to the gym by 5:00 am. Sometimes I was there and the gym wasn't even open as yet. In my second month I was working out two times daily because I really wanted to reach that target. After losing the weight I just felt so good and really wanted to keep at it,” the JN Bank engagement officer shared.
“It was a lot of cardio because the focus was on dropping the pounds, and a lot of times I would just break down and cry and ask why I allowed myself to get so fat. But you know when you're eating, sometimes you don't even realise what you're doing and your body will just gain weight, especially when you're eating late.”
But after losing her first five pounds, Wint silenced her body's complaints during cardio. Her friends, who were also trying to get in shape for carnival, encouraged her to go on, and they persevered as a team. But even after carnival and the sponsored fitness promotion, Wint decided that she wanted to keep her healthy body for good.
“I never gave up. I stuck with it. It's a lifestyle and I like being a healthier version of myself. I just feel fit, motivated and inspired. I feel as if I'm thinking better. I really enjoy working out. It helps me with my day-to-day activities. I feel better about myself, and I'm feeling energised every day,” she said happily.
Now Wint is not doing as much cardio as last year when she was trying to lose the weight — she is more focused on weight training, which builds muscle mass. Her weight dipped to as low as 118 pounds when weight loss was her focus. Now, with weight training being the more dominant aspect of her workout, she is at 122 pounds and loving it.
Wint does not take all the credit for her commitment to health; she says her friends (who are once again camping out in the gym for carnival) and her family are all on a journey together. Her mother and aunts are also health conscious, and water is the only beverage you will find flowing freely in their house.
“My mom pushes me. She waits on me at the gym. She was a gym junkie back in the day. She loves her mangoes, but we're all about fitness and health and wealth. We're on a journey as a unit.”
He trainer last year introduced her to a diet plan that she adjusted to suit her needs. Seeing the excellent results in herself, she decided to share it with others, and now has over 300 persons subscribed to 'DietWithT' as she calls it.
“It's an intermittent fasting plan. I eat only eight hours for the day and fast the remaining 16. My diet consist of nuts, beans, vegetables, sometimes protein powder, but I try to keep it simple, so I might have a smoothie in the morning, protein and quinoa for lunch, and then for dinner maybe one slice of bread with tuna or half a teaspoon of peanut butter,” she shared.
For those who are longing to join the fitness trail, and those who are resting by the wayside like she was, Wint offered some encouragement.
“The journey begins with you. You have to push yourself. You have to want it. You have to work for it. Even if you don't have the resources or people to push you, you can be your own motivation. It might be challenging, but when you look in the mirror and you know that you worked so hard toward something, there is this sense of empowerment that comes over you,” she said.
She said it is also important to surround yourself with likeminded individuals who can help to keep you on track.
“If you go to the gym, find a good trainer or a gym partner that can push you. When you're at work, find a colleague who can take that burger and fries out of your hand and say, 'here's a smoothie'. Find that unit that can help push you and work with you toward your goal, and a healthier, happier you.”
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