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How social media helped a woman lose 142 pounds

  

Before making the choice to have vertical gastric sleeve surgery, Jessica Adkins looked to social media.

“I searched weight loss hashtags, most specifically weight loss surgery hashtags, and I was so inspired,” says Adkins, who underwent the procedure in 2016 and has since been documenting her journey on YouTube and Instagram.

Hello there! I've gotten a bunch of new friends here on the 'gram recently so I thought I would reintroduce myself. My name is Jess [ the kitty in WatchKittyShrink is a nickname] I'm 30 years. Single with no kids and an only child , but extremely close to my family. 90% of the content here will be about my weight loss journey. It began on April 28 2016. I was 285 pounds & I went to my first consolation for weight loss surgery. My insurance didn't cover it-so I paid cash in the United States! I lost 30 pounds on my own and then on August 23 2016 I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy. I've lost a total of 145 pounds. I haven't reached goal yet, but I'm still working on it! I have lost more than half of myself as I've lost 145 & I currently weigh 140 pounds. I'm hoping to reach goal by Valentine's Day this year. I post my food daily [usually] -I stick to the keto diet which I have been on for over a year now. I post transformation pics. Sometimes I post reviews. Over the last year & a half-I've taken control of my own life. I was to the point where I didn't wanna leave the house, now I do. I got a new high stakes job that I would have not had the confidence to go for before. I learned how to drive. My personal motto is "fearless is the new pretty" because I've stopped living in my comfort zone. I always get asked if I regret my choice. NEVER EVER. It's the best decision I've ever made. It changed my life all for the better. I also get asked what my advice would be for someone considering surgery. It's easy. START A SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT. I don't care if it's YouTube or Instagram. Start one. You *will* need this community. It's one of the greatest blessings in my life. All the friendships I have made-mean so much to me & I honestly don't think I would be nearly as successful without it. Y'all encourage and inspire me every time I open my apps. I LOVE YOU GUYS. If you read all this-give me a 😜 In the comments lol. TL;DR #vsg #vsginstacrew #vsgjourney #wls #wlsjourney #fitfam #fitspo #goals #bariatricbabes #love #instadaily #instadaily #inspiration #transformation #throwbackthursday #weightloss #keto

A post shared by Jess-VSG (@watchkittyshrink) on

But it wasn’t just the impressive transformation photos that made an impact — it was other users’ comments. “Everyone was so positive and supportive and I knew this was a community I wanted to be a part of. I also wanted to be able to help others the way hashtags helped me,” she says.

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Starting at 285 lbs., Adkins recorded her very first meeting with her bariatric doctor, kicking off her official weight loss journey. She decided to continue posting candid videos about her triumphs and struggles, and soon incorporated food product reviews as well. (She now follows a keto diet).  

“A weight loss journey is about more than just the weight coming off. It’s a big mental struggle as well,” says the administrative assistant, who hit her goal weight of 150 lbs. on her 30th birthday: July 7, 2017. “I feel if I only talked about the positive parts of this, I would be doing my viewers a disservice…the biggest compliment I get is when others tell me that watching my videos helped them be more prepared for things they have encountered.”

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Adkins has come a long way. She went from consuming fast food three times a day, five or six days a week, to eating a low-carb/low-sugar diet. “They say alcoholics can tell you the very day of their last drink. I can tell you the last time I had a piece of bread: August 5, 2016,” she says. “I no longer eat bread, rice, or pasta of any kind.”

She is also committed to staying active by attending fitness classes at her local gym and walking 3 to 5 miles a day.

And the Pikeville, Kentucky resident has a message for those also considering weight loss surgery. “It is not the easy way out,” she explains. “You had surgery on your stomach, not on your mind. You still might want the things you had before, so you really have to get willpower.”

Now at 143 lbs., Adkins hopes to get down to 135 lbs. with continued hard work and the support of her social media community.

That’s why her advice is to join a group online. “Having people you can talk to, people who will encourage you, means more than you realize,” she says. “Losing weight is hard — it helps to be able to talk to others going through the same stuff.”

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