Tivemos o prazer de saber junto de Ellen Zurawell – um caso real de obesidade e desta tal luta incansável para conseguir perder peso – como tem sido esta jornada e qual é, na realidade, o impacto de plataformas como o Instagram ao longo de todo este processo.
Milénio Stadium: What made you decide to start losing weight? Was it self-motivation or were you experiencing health issues? If so, at any time was mental health starting to be a problem as well?
Ellen Zurawell: Back in April 2018, I was at work (I’m a nanny) and I took the kids to the public swimming pool with huge water slides that you had to climb at least 100 flights of stairs…maybe more and I got about half way up and felt like I couldn’t keep going. I got to the top and was out of breath. In that moment, I knew I couldn’t live like this anymore. How can I work with children if I can’t even keep up with them or be that positive role model? My mental health started to take a turn for the worst, not only was weight an issue for me, my skin was so bad I was embarrassed while out of the house and that took a lot out of me. I knew if I didn’t do something for myself now, I don’t know where I would be 3 months from then.
MS: You started sharing your weight loss journey on social media. Has Instagram/Facebook been a source of motivation to continue moving forward and losing weight?
EZ: I have always been open on my social media with things going on in my life. I tried to lose weight many times before, but nothing ever stuck. I was always on a diet that never turned into a lifestyle change. When I started to share this new journey of mine in May 2018, I had so many people cheering me on and it kept me going! I set myself a goal of 100 days to keep it up, but once I started seeing the results, I shared more and more to hopefully inspire one other person. About 3 months into my journey is when social media was really a source of motivation for me. I had 2-3 women message me every month asking for help and looking for tips. At that point I knew I had to keep posting, keep sharing because I was inspiring others every single day!
MS: Did you ever feel pressured by social media in looking like the “perfect” woman or being the “perfect” size?
EZ: I never really felt pressured by social media in looking like the “perfect” woman or being the “perfect” size. I would look at pictures of women and say, “oh I would love to look like that” or “oh I hope my stomach will be that flat”. But once I started to lose more and more weight, I shook those thoughts from my head because this is my journey. I had the mentality that I put my body through this, not any of these other women, so I can’t expect my body to ever look like anyone else’s. Everyone’s journey will be VERY different!
MS: Do you feel that by sharing your accomplishments and progress you are setting an example and encouraging others in similar situations?
EZ: At first, I felt like I was maybe being “annoying” by making posting about my fitness, talking about my journey and sharing the food I ate. But when I started to see how I could do it, I was on a mission to help others do it as well. It started with encouraging my boss to start. When she started and never looked back, I was so empowered. Watching her journey at first was so powerful for me to keep pushing and keep encouraging others! Sharing my accomplishments and progress has helped a handful of people that I know of and I hope I can keep inspiring others!
MS: Do you have a message for those who want to start a weight-loss journey or are currently trying to lose weight but are struggling and starting to feel discouraged?
EZ: EVERYONE can do this. Weight loss is never easy nor is weight gain! It takes a toll on you mentally and physically. All I can say is START, everyone has to start somewhere. Even those women/men you see and may say, “I wanna look like them” – they started somewhere too. If you fall, that’s okay, just get back up and keep on pushing. Weight loss will never be a straight line, there will be days that you nail it and days where you over eat. Don’t beat yourself up about it, move on and learn from the mistake. Don’t be afraid to go into a gym, again, everyone has to START somewhere and you walking into the gym is the best place to start.
Catarina Balça e Melissa DaCosta