One woman’s journey: weight loss is outer sign of inner work

Shanita Newton’s day has a particular rhythm.

After dropping off her son, Harrison, at school, she hits the gym.

“It helps to really jump start my day,” said Newton, the creative director of Newton Creative Consulting, a graphic and web design business.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Newton had struggled with her weight. She remembers being in a job, and her clothes not fitting properly.

“I felt so discouraged, but I guess I wasn’t ready to make the change I knew I needed to make,” said Newton, who at her heaviest was between 230 and 240 pounds and wore a size 16 or 18.

She also had some health issues with numerous fibroids that were surgically removed.

Shanita Newton turned to food as one of the coping mechanisms when dealing with the death of her husband four years ago.

When she met her late husband, Bernard, she started to make some changes in support of him. He was juicing, working out and then followed a KETO diet. She saw some changes in her weight and how she looked and felt.

But then in February 2019, Bernard Newton died, leaving Shanita Newton to cope with the overwhelming grief his death brought.

“I comforted myself with food and alcohol,” said Shanita Newton.

Her mother is a fabulous cook, and it was easy to turn to Mama’s cooking to soothe some of her pain. Using food and alcohol to manage her emotions caused some of the weight she’d lost after developing better habits with her late husband to creep back on. She knew she needed to get that part of her life back under control.

That’s when she started developing a routine of going back to the gym. She started dating a longtime friend who shares her love of fitness so that also helped her get back on track.

Therapy, journaling and exercise have all played key roles in dealing with grief in a healthy way, she said.

She also changed her eating habits.

“Pizza is my favorite food. I still eat pizza, but we eat way more vegetables than I used to when I was a younger adult,” she said. “There are still a lot of things I don’t eat. My grocery cart looks substantially different than it did in my 20s and early 30s,” she said.

As a result of the changes, she’s dropped to around 180 pounds and now wears a size 10.

Wearing a size 10 had been a goal for Newton. She said she wanted to reach that by the time she turned 40.  She accomplished that long before her cut-off date. She recently turned 39, so she’s working on a new set of goals.

 She also feels better, she said. She’s able to play with her son without tiring, and she can walk distances without getting winded.

Shanita Newton has lost 60 pounds and gained self-confidence as well as a healthy way to deal with grief.

“I’m just so grateful that even through what’s been  going on the past several years God continues to keep me. That helps me realize how strong I can be and what I can accomplish if I’m just consistent if I trust him,” she said.

For Newton, the weight loss hasn’t been just about the physical transformation.

 “I feel like my weight loss is the external representation of the internal work that I started to do,” she said.

Not only has it been that non-destructive way of dealing with the grief she experienced, but it’s enhanced her self-confidence.

 “It shows me I can accept challenges and get them done. It really helps me see myself in a different light,” she said. “If the task may be difficult, I’m not sure how I’m going to get it done, but I know I can.”

 Newton has a few words of encouragement for those who are struggling but want to lose weight.

 “You are worth it. It Won’t happen overnight, but you can do it. If I could be consistent, then anyone could be. I had terrible eating habits and some soul searching to do,” she said.

  And in tough love, she’d add “You didn’t gain it overnight, so you’re not going to lose it overnight.”

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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