Only I can change my life, no one can do it for me.”
That was thought process for Cherine Forbes who made her dreams of living a healthy lifestyle an active reality.
While her official journey began a little over a year ago, the gym enthusiast explained that her road to fitness started long before then; she just made light of the serious situation.
“My weight has always been an issue, for all my adult life. I was always ‘big.’ Doctors were always advising me, some even begged me, to lose weight. It was just an issue that I ignored for as long as I could, despite being hypertensive (high blood pressure). I was always ‘fat’, or ‘fluffy,’ or ‘thick,’ or ‘plus-sized’ or the like. It was a fact of life that I had grown to accept over many, many years,” she explained to Inside Out.
But around June of last year, everything changed.
Waking up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe, blood pressure spiking crazy highs, heart palpitations, aches and pains were all signs that something was wrong. She later discovered from tests that her heart and lungs were being affected. To add insult to injury, she was facing problems with self-confidence.
“For me, the writing was on the wall. I was on borrowed time as a stroke or heart attack was inevitable. This realisation somehow awakened my fight for survival. I felt that I needed to fight for my heart and lungs before it was too late.”
Reaching rock bottom was, Forbes shared, all the motivation she needed to make the change and live her best life.
Focusing on thoughts and nuggets like ‘consistency is the key,’ and ‘the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step’, among many others, she took a day-by-day approach to health and fitness, competing with her performance from the previous day to better herself on the next challenge. “It was the old me versus the new me.”
As a result, she has lost a whopping 110 pounds, shedding 100 of those pounds between August last year to August this year.
How has it been since the transformation? “Life-changing!” she expressed delightfully. “I approach other goals and challenges with greater veracity. I took over my aunt’s office furniture business in January, ‘Healthy Offices, Homes & Lifestyle,’ which was an addition to Alatra, my creative design and marketing business – known for our personalised photo pillows, photo tiles and pallet furniture. I was also caring for my six-month-old niece at the same time. But my commitment to my improved wellness made all it doable.”
Losing weight has proven to reverse and reduce many of the health complications. Her blood, cholesterol, sugar, and heart rate were within ‘medically’ perfect range. And her blood pressure received low readings. “You get the energy to live again, like really live, and do all the things you always wanted to but feared because you just didn’t have the physical energy and endurance to do. Your social life also increases,” she revealed. The weight loss has additionally boosted Forbes’ confidence: her body has slimmed down to a nicer, sexier physique, and her skin has improved significantly as well.
But what she loves the most about this journey is getting the opportunity to inspire and motivate others and contribute to someone else’s positive lifelong changes. “Weight loss is a challenge, and if done successfully, you will naturally be called on to share your ‘how.’ This is good as each one helps one and it’s great when you can help someone make a change that will positively impact their health and well-being.”
For the last four months, she has been training with her personal trainer, Romario Grant, for toning and sculpting at Greg’s Xtreme Fitness Centre in Spanish Town. Flair visited the gym to see Forbes in action, and she ripped every workout to shreds.
“Cherine is driven. She knows what she wants out of fitness and challenges herself every day, testing her limit. When she’s in the gym, she is locked in and focused. I get no complaints and she gets the job done,” Grant highlighted.
Forbes added that Grant has a very good temperament for her personality. Her vibrant aura radiated in her workout interview and she proved to be a trooper, balancing effortlessly throughout the tedious process.
Before then, she exercised commitment on her own, alongside her army of supporters and motivators, who she turned to in order to be held accountable for her diet and workouts.
As she continues on the journey to striking a balance between emotional, physical, mental and spiritual wellness, she confesses that it is important to live well inside and out because, simply put, life is short and you only have one to live, so enjoy it responsibly.
This is her advice to persons who want to embark on a similar lifestyle change. “Start with your motivation in mind. Cut out bad habits, poor choices, shortcuts and excuses. Clean out your cupboard and fridge and re-educate yourself about healthier food options.
“Forgive yourself for the past and give yourself permission to choose the present and future that you want, knowing that it won’t be easy in the slightest but you have it in you because other people, like me, were exactly where you are. We did it, so you can do it. Just take the first step, Then keep going: that’s what I did, that’s what I’m still doing. I know you can do it too.”