My name is Laura Nieves and This is my story:
In December 2012 I sat staring at a picture someone took of me and I was shocked by the person I had become. I had a ton of health issues fighting diabetes, high cholesterol and a fatty liver due to the loss of my gall bladder a few years back. The scale was climbing and was eventually near 300 pounds. My doctor had asked me several times to get healthy. My dad pushed me to get back to being fit. He asked me to change my way of eating.
I watched a film about a man fighting for his life and it hit me, I had 2 daughters and a husband that I wanted to be around for. I prayed for the strength to do this. In January of 2013 I started exercising. Gradually I started eating better. It was all trial and error. Slowly I was making progress and in 2014 I became a vegetarian.
I was to go to a weight room full of men. Worse, I was sure how to work majority of the machines. My husband and I transformed my full basement into a gym. I started weightlifting and loved the way my body slowly started transforming. I went to the doctor early 2014 and I no longer showed signs of diabetes or high cholesterol. I no longer woke up from panic attacks or back issues.
My dad had stage four lung cancer. Even with cancer, my dad would wake up with me every morning at 5am and we would go jogging for 2-3 miles every day. How he found the strength and energy amazed me every day. He was so proud of me trying to get healthy and fit. My dad was such a fighter. I lost my dad in 2014.
The sadness and stress of losing my him caused me to gain weight back. I remembered how proud he was and how he motivated to keep going. In 2015 I started to focus on me again. I lost a ton of weight. My clothes started shrinking. My waist started getting smaller. From obese to a strong, fit woman, a new me began to emerge. I got my confidence back. My daughters got their mother back. My husband got his wife back. Full of energy and life.
In 2017, I competed for my first contest to honor my dad and his battle with lung cancer. I lost so much weight and was a far cry from the almost 300 pounds I had once weighed. Despite me being one of the biggest girls on stage in the contest, I got out of my comfort zone in a bikini. This experience was amazing and changed my life. I glued a piece of my dad’s favorite shirt inside my bikini bottoms. I felt as if my dad was standing right beside me on stage.
My life has forever changed. I am no longer sick or need to take medicine. My lose skin is a testament to my journey. It shows how much weight I have lost. My scars and stretch marks show I am a warrior that persevered. Fitness me the fountain of youth. People tell me I look younger now than when I was in my 20s. I say hello to being fit and strong in my 40s. I am now pescatarian still have not had a piece of meat since 2014. I am still a work in progress. I lift weights 5-6 days a week and my body is forever changing.
My advice…never think a dream is to big. You can change your life. If you think you are stuck, trust me you are not. You are the author of your own story. You got this.