Two years after making the decision to lose weight, Denia Bates has lost nearly 60 pounds, a change she credits to a "30 by 30" challenge and some dietary changes, along with the support of her young daughters.
Bates started her weight-loss journey in January 2019, when she decided to try to lose 30 pounds before celebrating her 30th birthday.
"I made a big deal about it," Bates told TODAY Health. "...I lost 30 pounds in three months, and of course I didn't want to stop. I was like 'Hey, I'm seeing results, I feel great.' So I kept going. ... I lost 56 pounds. I had no clue I would ever go that far. I went from a size 14 to a size 6."
Bates said that what really kept her going wasn't the weight loss, but her increased capability.
"It wasn't just about the weight, it was about how I felt," Bates explained. "I'm not as winded. I just feel so much better ... I got stronger, and now I get to work out all the time and it's so much fun and I never get bored."
Bates used a Beachbody program to help her lose weight, and now subscribes to the service, which she says allows her to choose between different workouts every day.
"I'm so happy that I started this journey, because I'll never go back," Bates said. "I feel so good."
For people who are looking to start their own fitness journeys but feel intimidated by workouts, Bates said that giving herself the freedom to do certain movements with modifications has made it more possible to complete exercises that she would have found too difficult otherwise.
"Don't feel bad about taking a modification when you need a modification," Bates said. "To this day, I feel bad when I have to (do a plank) on my knees, but what the trainers would say a lot was 'It's in your mind,' and I know that's very much true. I just have to tell myself 'I can do this, I can do this,' and if I can't do what they're doing, if there's no more burpees for me, I'll just jog in place. I modify a lot, but I keep going."
In addition to the workouts, Bates said that she has also made major changes to her diet. One of the most crucial aspects of her weight loss was using an app to log her meals, allowing her to see how many calories she was eating and establish healthier food patterns.
"I still log everything that I eat, it felt like a chore, but it made me aware of what my intake was," Bates said. "...It’s just my norm now, that’s what I do."
Bates said that going forward, she's going to continue her exercise regimen and healthy eating, inspired by herself and by her two daughters.
"My kids like to work out with me, I have videos of them working out with me, and it's so cute," Bates said. "Just knowing that I'm setting an example of fitness and health and knowing that at an early age, they're learning these lessons so hopefully they don't end up having to lose almost 60 pounds like I did. Being overweight and obese wasn't ideal, and I'm happy where I am now."