Jessica Beniquez was living on autopilot. Much of her days consisted of going to work, eating fast food, and watching Netflix. But one day Beniquez decided this wasn’t enough for her.
“All I did was eat, go to work, and watch my shows,” she said, according to InspireMore.
This lifestyle left Beniquez weighing 320 pounds at age 19. In early 2016, Beniquez said she was ready to make a change.
“Getting out of bed was hard. I felt miserable,” Beniquez, now 21, told PEOPLE. “I knew I needed to lose weight because I had high blood pressure, but it took me over a year to realize how dangerous that is — and to do something about it.”
That meant that she had to change some of the habits that she acquired.
“I was a very picky eater. I didn’t stick a vegetable in my mouth. I ate fast food every day, and would pretty much only eat chicken nuggets, pasta and fries,” she explains.
She was laying in bed one day getting ready to start another series on Netflix when she stopped and decided that she didn’t want to sit and bed and do nothing anymore.
“I felt so lazy,” she said. “I didn’t even hang out with my friends. At that moment [I decided] to do it, I ordered Herbalife shakes that day. If I didn’t, I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am right now. I got the shakes and never looked back.”
Beniquez started a new diet eating 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day and was adamant about sticking to her calorie count. For three months she would eat two shakes a day and one meal with some snacks in between.
She quit the shakes in October 2016 and started eating portion controlled healthy meals like lunch meats, carrots and hummus, yogurt, and grilled chicken salads.
“I opened my taste buds up to new things,” she explains.
She also started exercising the same night she first ordered her shakes.
“I walked a mile and a half to two miles a night,” she explains, which was followed by her joining a gym which she says wasn’t easy for her. “I procrastinated because I was nervous what to do in the gym. I didn’t want people to look at me. It’s embarrassing when you’re young and really big. Walking through a gym, you see a lot of fit people and I was super intimated by that.”
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Now Beniquez spends two hours a day at the gym and loves it. She even works at her gym’s front desk and is hoping to become a certified trainer.
She definitely has the spirit to motivate as she has more than 186,000 followers on Instagram who watch Beniquez document her weight loss journey where she lost more than 170 pounds in 19 months.
You can follow Beniquez’s journey on Instagram here.
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