Transformation of the Day: Ornella lost 18kg/40 pounds. She is Congolese/Raised in The Neverlands. She shared the challenges she faced with ED and how, after studying to be a dietitian, she was able to create a healthy relationship with food and her weight.
Hi, I am Ornella. I’m 30 years old and African/Congolese, but raised in The Netherlands. I started my journey in October 2017 and lost a total of 18 kgs over six years (I am around 64 ~ 65 kg now).
What was your motivation?
I had a slim/athletic body for almost my whole life. Six years ago (2017), I experienced being overweight for the first time.
When I was 19 years old (2011), I developed an eating disorder. I became obsessed with dieting and losing weight in a very toxic way. I didn’t do it to improve myself and my well-being, but I wanted to prove to the outside world how strong-willed and good I was at dieting. It was also a way to cope with my mental issues during that time.
In 2013, I decided to change and stop purging. This decision led to bouts of eating unhealthy and binging because my body wanted to recover from hunger. This period of binging and dieting remained until 2017. In 2017, I reached the biggest I have ever been (83 kgs).
In 2018, I lost 10 kg, but couldn’t lose the last few pounds. Weight loss didn’t go easy like before. I thought it was because of aging (keep in mind, I still was in my 20s). Besides that, my stomach was growing out of nowhere. In 2021, I discovered through an emergency surgery that I had a dermoid cyst that weighed almost 2 kg. This cyst is what was causing my stomach to be big. In addition, I was holding 5 kg of water. (All this is on top of the other challenges with weight loss I faced over the years.)
My real weight loss journey started at the end of 2017 and continued throughout 2018. But I couldn’t get rid of my last weight (on average 10 kgs) because of the cyst. I finally shed that last 10 kgs in 2022 (It took one year). In March 2022, I took it seriously because my body was finally responding.
How did you change your eating habits?
I graduated as a dietitian, so I already have some knowledge about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I slightly minimized my intake of processed foods and snacks. I transitioned into a diet full of nutrient-dense foods/whole foods, meals, and snacks. At this point, I am eating 90% whole foods (gluten-free); the other 10% of the time are foods with sweeteners, burgers, and pizza. I follow an intuitive diet.
What was your workout routine?
I worked out 2-3x a week and went for walks outside here and there.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
Starting weight: 82 kg/181 pounds. Current: 64 kg/141 pounds.
What is your height?
I am 5’8″.
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
I didn’t undergo a surgery.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
Be patient and kind to yourself throughout the journey. Also, if it works for someone else, that doesn’t mean it works for you.
What advice would you like to share?
Don’t quit, and make it fun. Gaining health should be rewarding and something fun, not a punishment. When you have issues with losing weight, please visit your doctor.