Michaela Martin’s weight-loss journey started out like so many others before her: She struggled with her weight as a child and was bullied by her peers, which lead to a cycle of binge-eating and gaining even more pounds.
For the longest time, Michaela let other people’s opinions rule how she viewed herself. But one mean comment by a cruel flight attendant changed everything for the young woman, leading to her taking back control of her own life.
The picture above was taken shortly before Michaela boarded a flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Queensland, Australia. Once she was seated, a flight attendant “found it appropriate to announce in the middle of a quiet plane that due to my size, I would need to use the seat belt extension that mums travelling [with] babies needed,” she wrote on Instagram.
Adding salt to the wound, the attendant also suggested she book two seats on future flights.
At her heaviest, Michaela weighed 282 pounds, thanks to a steady diet of sugary sodas and fat-laden, high-calorie takeout meals. But her experience on that flight, in addition to the baby weight she’d gained during pregnancy, prompted her to re-examine her lifestyle. Ultimately, she realized she needed to make a drastic change: “I was in awe over what my body had just done for me. I had this perfect little human in my arms and my body made her. I had a new appreciation for my body and started learning to love my body.”
That mind and body makeover started in 2014 when she switched out the foods that were doing nothing but harm to her body and replaced them with healthier choices. Michaela also started exercising regularly, walking 30 to 40 minutes several days each week.
As most people who try to lose weight know, though, it’s slow-going. Her journey was made that much more uncertain because she had two more children over the next three years! She was still almost 40 pounds down from her heaviest in 2017 when her youngest was born, but she knew she could do better.
The 25-year-old mom set a goal weight of 176 pounds and really turned on the gas, doubling down at the gym, combining cardio and strength training, for at least five hours each week.
Now, thanks to all her dedication and hard work, she’s well on her way, down to 205 pounds. That’s 77 pounds so far, and still going strong!
I loved myself so little back then that I let that airline hostess treat me that way. I belived I wasn’t deserving of the same respect that she was showing the rest of the passengers because in my head, I was worth less than every skinny person on that plane. But as I know now, that was the furtherest thing from the truth and I wish my old self could have seen and known what I do now. The day I started LOVING myself enough to start taking care of ME and nourishing my body was the day I turned a new page.
Learn how Michaela kept her eye on the goal with three of her biggest tips below.
1. Don’t just subtract — add.
Michaela didn’t just eliminate all the sugary, processed foods that she’d gotten accustomed to, she also added healthy fruits, veggies, and lean protein. She made the transition easier on herself by changing gradually, slowly incorporating the new foods into her diet to give her body (and mind) time to adjust.
2. Surround yourself with supportive people.
Everyone needs a support system in place when they’re trying to change a bad habit; it’s so much harder to go it alone. Michaela surrounded herself with positive people who would provide encouragement as she continued on her weight-loss journey, and who would “be there after you go on your first junk food binge after starting to lose weight.”
3. Stay positive.
Change, as they say, doesn’t happen overnight. This was a years-long journey that took persistence and dedication, but one that’s ultimately resulted in a better, healthier Michaela. And one of the best things she could do was to maintain a positive attitude, loving herself even with all her mistakes and faults.
“It’s really empowering to know that I am so confident and content with myself right now that the opinions of others do not affect me,” she said. “A positive mindset has kept me going even when I was [experiencing] tough times.”
Share this inspiring story with others who are struggling to stick with their goals!