If you’ve been following along with my story so far, you know that I haven’t been painting all that long. In 2015 I first started painting during the grueling summer that I was working on my dissertation for graduate school.   

  2016 is really when I came into being an artist. I began creating because it’s all I could think about doing, the serenity achieved from painting layer after layer couldn’t be matched. It was during this time that I realized that I had an addiction to food.  

  I wasn’t eating when I was hungry, I was eating because I was bored. Now that I was painting all the time and keeping myself occupied with creating, I no longer felt the need to feed myself when I wasn’t hungry. In fact, I could feel my body changing.  

  Suddenly, I started to listen to my body. I’m hungry, but I don’t want a hamburger, or something that sounded appealing before- greasy French fries, or even a sandwich. I started craving fruits and vegetables and I felt as I changed my diet my body was changing, too. I no longer felt extreme discomfort after every single meal from overeating.   

  It also helped that I cut out lactose and dairy completely from my diet. From trial and error I’ve realized that my body is much happier when I don’t try and have it digest dairy.    Armed with newfound knowledge of my body, a new passion for creating, and well, the rest of my life ahead of me, I decided to make a change….  

  I was sick and tired of being overweight and all of the negatives that come with it (like being out of breath from walking) and I wanted to make a change. I knew that this change couldn’t just be temporary, because so would my results. I talked to a few friends before deciding which “diet” I was going to try to lose all the weight. I was going to do carb free, but it didn’t make sense when there was no reason to go carb free for the rest of my life. Instead, what lead me down this healthier path was simply portion sizes and moderation.  

  The simple truth is, America is known for its giant portion sizes. Whether you’re at a restaurant, or you buy a frozen meal for two you heat up on a skillet, you’re going to have too much for one or two people. The suggestions for portion sizes on the container are the key to success. Oh, that and of course, My Fitness Pal, for tracking my calories.      In August 2016 I weighed 45 pounds heavier than I do today. By this time next August, I aim to be 75 pounds lighter in total, which will be so much better for my health.    

  You may ask, why did you lose weight now? You’ve been overweight for the last 8 years. What finally made you do this? Well, it was a combination between my passion for art and my realization that heart disease and diabetes run in my family, and I don’t want to die young. I have a lot to offer the world with my new found talent of painting and I want to be around for years to come.  

 Thanks, art. You saved me.

Thanks for reading! -Leah