My name is Danissa (Nissa) Morris (@bodybynissa), and I am 29 years old. I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana, and I am a personal trainer and patient care technician. After a routine doctor’s visit that revealed I was facing health issues because of my weight, I decided to change my diet and start working out consistently at the gym I worked at. I’ve now lost—and kept off—80 pounds.
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I had always wanted to be thin, or smaller than I was. Throughout my teenage years I had body-image issues. As I got older I couldn’t fit into certain clothes that I wanted to wear, and I wore big baggy things to hide my belly and extra fluff. I felt terrible. I had no limit with eating. I would eat and eat until I was stuffed to capacity, day in and day out. But about four to five years ago, I decided to make a change.
I was at a regular doctor’s appointment, and the scale read 208 pounds. (I’m 5’3”.) I was so disappointed in myself for allowing my health to decline so severely.
The doctor informed me that my cholesterol was sky high, and that I would need medicine if I did not make a change. I cried in the car, at home, and all day the next day. And the worst part about all of this is that I worked at a gym. I was the heaviest one working at the front desk, but I also ate fast food everyday while being there. Enough was enough! I decided to utilize my free membership and change my life.
I chose my way of eating through a lot of trial and error.
I competed in my first fitness competition in 2016, and that was honestly the key in learning exactly what proper nutrition and clean-eating can do. When I did not know a lot about fitness and nutrition, I ate a lot of prepackaged “healthy” foods and had no idea how to read a nutrition label. I had to learn all about nutrient-dense foods, and proper amounts of macronutrients. It took a while, but now I structure my meals with a protein, a carb, a healthy fat, and *plenty* of veggies. I stick to the 80/20 rule, and adjust my macronutrients as I go.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:
Breakfast: 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, oats, fruit (grapefruit, apple, or blueberries).
Lunch: Baked chicken, or fish with asparagus, brown rice or sweet potato.
Snacks: Rice cakes with peanut butter, almonds, tuna.
Dinner: A protein source with a veggie OR breakfast for dinner! I love a whole grain English muffin with eggs and turkey bacon.
Dessert: When I do decide to indulge, it’s either on chocolate chip cookies, or some sort of pastry.
The gym is my place of peace. I lift a minimum of 4 days a week.
I split which muscle groups I focus on (usually chest/triceps, back/biceps, legs/glutes, shoulders, and another leg/glute day). And I do cardio a minimum of twice a week.
These three changes made the biggest impact on my weight loss:
Change 1: My diet. Nutrition is king, and by sticking to eating nutrient-dense foods at least 80 percent of the time, I noticed my body change drastically and the weight came off and *stayed* off.
Change 2: I stayed consistent in the gym. When I first started working out, I would only go when I felt like it and I had no structure. I now keep a solid plan of action every single time I go to work out. Also, I stopped doing so much cardio. I would *constantly* go straight to the treadmill and do cardio for hours. It wasn’t until I started lifting weights properly that I noticed my body composition really started to change.
Change 3: I stopped rushing the process. I began my journey trying any and every shortcut out there. I tried fat burners, shakes, and waist trainers. I wanted to get in shape as fast as possible, and this was a big mistake that only hindered me. It wasn’t until I learned that patience and consistency is the only winner in the end. I had to slow down and take it a day at a time. It takes pure dedication and what works for everyone else may not work for you.
I’ve lost about 80 pounds and now I want to maintain my weight.
I want women to know that weight loss takes time, and you need to love yourself in every stage. No matter where you currently stand, love yourself regardless. I struggled with body dysmorphia after I lost a substantial amount of weight. I was constantly nit-picking and finding something wrong with my body. I was never satisfied with my progress. Not only is this unhealthy, it’s a form of self-hate that can turn into toxic cycles and desperate measures. Be patient and remember that this is YOUR journey.
It is okay to use someone else for motivation at times, but never compare yourself or hold yourself to anyone else’s standards. Fall in love with yourself and your journey. By changing my entire mindset and lifestyle, I’m happier than ever before.