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The 2 Simple Habits That Helped This Woman Lose 175 Pounds

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 10/3/2017 Brooke Nelson
© Courtesy Jessica Beniquez

Believe it or not, a year and a half ago, 21-year-old Jessica Beniquez weighed over 320 pounds—and she was miserable.

'I didn’t feel comfortable,' she told PEOPLE. 'Getting out of bed was hard… 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.'

A few bad habits had brought her to that point. A self-described 'picky eater,' the Florida resident ate fast food every day, and chicken nuggets, pasta, and fries were staples in her diet. She also routinely binge-watched TV shows on Netflix. “All I did was eat, go to work, and watch my shows,' Beniquez said. (Don’t miss the most jaw-dropping weight transformations on Instagram.)

This stuff is not easy to post, it is definitely hard because a year and a half ago, I was that girl on the left. I may look miserable in that pic because I wasn't smiling but I wasn't, I didn't hate my life, being over weight didn't stop me from having friends or having fun but I did feel miserable at times and I hated the way I looked. I would always complain to myself how I didn't like my body and I would always make excuses because I didn't know HOW to start. But one day it all clicked and i got my butt up and finally did something about it. I made this Instagram and post this stuff to show and prove that anything is possible. Going from over 300 pounds to 145 pounds with diet and exercise is possible! Believe you can do it and it'll happen! #motivationmonday #iammotiv8

A post shared by Jessica (@getfitwjessica) on Sep 4, 2017 at 7:26pm PDT

When Beniquez finally committed to making a change in the beginning of 2016, the first challenge she tackled was her diet. Soon, her meals and snacks took on a completely different color (literally!) Foods such as carrots and hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese, HerbaLife shakes, and grilled chicken salads made regular appearances on her plate. 'I opened my tastebuds up to new things,' she said.

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Beniquez also started taking walks every night and doing exercises she saw on YouTube. Later on, she joined a gym, and has worked her way up to two-hour sessions every day. No gym membership? Here’s how to lose weight without a lick of exercise.

Beniquez documented her entire weight loss journey on Instagram. In addition to receiving support in person and online, she says it kept her accountable. 'People would come up to me at the gym and say, ‘Wow, congratulations—you’ve come such a long way,’' Beniquez said. Now, she works at the front desk at the gym and hopes to become a certified trainer.

Today, Beniquez weighs in at 145 pounds—an incredible 175-pound difference. She hopes that her story will encourage others to take control of their health, as well. 'I wanted to show them that I could do it, and they can, too,' Beniquez said. 'I never expected to be where I am today. I was shy, but now I have so much more confidence, I have so much more energy.'

We don’t know about you, but we already feel inspired! Start your own weight loss journey today with these 42 fast, easy tips for weight loss.

[Source: PEOPLE]

Related Gallery: The #1 Weight Loss Tip From Real People Who Lost 70 Pounds (Provided by Eat This, Not That!) The #1 Weight Loss Tip From Real People Who Lost 70 Pounds: <p>By The Editors of Eat This, Not That!</p><p>If losing more than 70 pounds seems daunting, take it from these people who are living proof you can achieve anything you set your mind to.</p><p>Even if you know you need to lose weight, sometimes taking the first step is the hardest part—especially if you have 70 or more pounds to lose. But as overwhelming as the idea of shedding so many pounds is, it is possible. Just take it from these 12 people.</p><p>They prove that losing a substantial amount of weight—some up to 120 pounds!—takes strength, determination, and patience. But it’s doable, especially if you have a little help from a weight loss app or a good friend. Here are some of the other top tips from 12 people who have lost 70 or more pounds. Getting started on your weight loss journey? Be sure to check out our list of the <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/best-weight-loss-tips">50 Best Weight Loss Tips</a>.</p> The #1 Weight Loss Tip From Real People Who Lost 70 Pounds

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