Student’s weight loss inspires others

With society often judging a person based on his or her physical appearance, it could have missed out on what one Sam Houston student had to offer.That is, before Natali Rhymes lost weight. Twenty-four-year-old Rhymes, said she knows exactly how it feels to be discriminated against, because she was once overweight.Three years ago she said she told herself she was going to lose weight, although she had been overweight since a child.”It was the only area in my life that I couldnt succeed in,” Rhymes said. “I tried to do it for years, but couldnt.”Despite her weight, she said she excelled in academics and had a lot of friends.”I also had a lot of social activities to keep me busy,” she said. “My life was good.”Losing weight was the only thing missing from her life, she said.Rhymes then began reading the book, “Making the Connection,” by Oprah Winfrey and Bob Green. The book listed 10 steps for living a better life. Rhymes said she began listening to the cassette tapes every night.”I slowly started incorporated those things into my life,” she said.Although the book mostly discussed eating right, Rhymes said she never denied herself anything.”I just limited it,” she said. “It is important not to deny yourself.”Rhymes also began taking Metabolife.”It gave me more energy,” she said.As the mental and emotional discouragement began to take a toll of her, Rhymes said she wanted to throw in the towel.”But I never did,” she said. “It became a habit.”As a result, Rhymes lost 90 pounds over a two year period.”It was very slow,” she said.Rhymes laughed in disbelief as she reminisced on her past eating habits.”All I ate was junk,” she said.She said she would start her day by eating a bowl of cereal.”Something like Frosted Flakes,” she said.”I would have a Nacho Bell Grande at Taco Bell and a hamburger and french fries for dinner,” Rhymes said.She said it may not seem a lot to some, but it really is.”Its what you eat, not how much,” she said.Rhymes said she is viewed differently since she lost the weight.”People judge you by the way you appear to the,” she said. “The hardest thing to deal with is that I am the same person I was back then.””Now people see the “me” that I always knew was there from the beginning,” she said.Rhymes said it is annoying how some people tell “overweight” people that they are pretty in the face.”They think theyre giving you a compliment when they are really insulting you,” she said.Rhymes said the difference is more prevalent in guys than in girls.She said it was fine for her to be a guys best friend, but dating her was out of the question.”Now they want to date me,” she said.Rhymes said she has also experienced a decline in female friends since the weight loss.She said it was OK for her to be around someones boyfriend, but now it is not.”Then, I was less of a threat,” she said.Although Rhymes has beaten the odds against being overweight, she said she has yet to reach her ultimate goal.”My goal is to lose 140 pounds,” she said.Rhymes will now be able to help others achieve their goals in an organization called Starting Together Achieving Real Success.STARS is a wellness support group that encourages students to achieve their goals in workout and eating habits.Edna Obi, founder of STARS, said she started the organization because of Rhymes story. “She made me believe that there was a way,” Obi said.”I want everyone to experience the joy I feel as a result of my weight loss,” Rhymes said. “I believe anything is possible.”STARS meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Estill Hall lobby. For more information contact Obi at 294-4787, or Rhymes at 294-3010.

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