Jessica, from Illinois, posts candid images on social media – showing the excess skin she has been left with after her dramatic weightloss – but declares ‘I will not hate my body any more’.
The 24-year-old struggled with her weight growing up – eating a diet rich in pasta and potatoes.
But after her size took an increasing toll on her body and her mental health, doctors fitted her with a gastric sleeve in January 2016.
‘It was the perfect tool to help me out and has taught me all about portion control now,’ Jessica tells New Idea.
The sleeve was just the beginning of Jessica’s journey.
Now, she says she has adopted what is essentially a keto diet – focusing on low carb, high protein food choices while embracing healthy fats.
‘The main food that helped me is cheese sticks,’ Jessica tells New Idea.
‘I eat them for snacks and as part of my meals. They are easy and convenient.’
In addition, she has advice for others hoping to transform their own lives.
‘I would say to others to just go for it,’ she says. ‘Stop waiting for Monday, stop waiting for a new month or a new year.
‘The sooner you begin the sooner you can start losing the weight.’
And for Jessica, the key to success is planning.
‘I always highly suggest meal prepping for all meals for the days ahead,’ she says. ‘It keeps you from making bad decisions when your meals are already waiting for you.’
While Jessica hopes to soon have surgery to remove her excess skin, she has said that she is ‘at peace’ with where she is.
‘I have decided that my goal weight is now 180lbs instead of 160lbs,’ she wrote recently on her Instagram page.
‘I am not looking to be super thin at the end of this journey and that is why I have changed my goals.
‘I am ready for skin removal to happen for multiple reasons but mainly for the discomfort it gives me on a daily basis from itching to rashes to smelling.
‘All TMI but it's reality! I have gained some weight but my mind is back on track and I'm ready to push myself to 180 and get my surgery.’