Woman training to become a professional bodybuilder after losing half her weight in two years

An obese woman who had gastric bypass surgery is now training as a professional bodybuilder – after losing half her body weight in two years. Destiny McDonald, 24, had always struggled with her weight during her teenage years and found comfort in eating when she was bullied in high school.

As she progressed through school, Destiny grew heavier and heavier until she weighed over 300 pounds before starting her first semester in college. At 22 and morbidly obese, Destiny cried when she looked in the mirror and lacked the confidence to eat in public.

It was then that in February 2020, she decided to undergo life-changing gastric bypass surgery in a bid to jump-start her weight loss. Destiny said: “I never felt accepted growing up and my family was always overweight.



Fate before her weight loss journey

“At school I was victimized because of my appearance, but instead of doing something I ate more and more. When I was in college, I reached my heaviest weight of 308 pounds.

“Looking for clothes was a nightmare, and in every fitting room I cried when I looked at myself in the mirror. I remember looking for a dress for a wedding and I cried in every store.

“I knew the risks of the surgery, but I was desperate to shed those initial pounds and give myself the best chance of getting to a healthier weight.”



Destiny weighed 308 pounds at its heaviest
Destiny weighed 308 pounds at its heaviest

The surgery meant Destiny had lost 30 pounds, which was enough to motivate her to change her lifestyle and embrace the opportunity for a fresh start. She started going to the gym six times a week, participating in intense cardio sessions and doing weight lifting to reduce her body fat.



Fate before his operation
Fate before his operation

Destiny started setting her alarm clock for 6 a.m. every morning and incorporating regular meditation sessions into her daily routine to stay focused on the task at hand. At its heaviest, Destiny binged on four meals a day consisting of takeout, salty carbs, and fatty red meats.

She swapped it all out for Greek yogurt, fruit, granola, and protein shakes and started managing her diet and watching her calorie intake. Now, two years later, Destiny weighs 145 pounds, less than half what she weighed when she went under the knife.

Destiny said: “Once I found a routine that worked for me, I really started flying. I was getting lighter and lighter each week due to the work I was doing in the gym and the changes I brought to my diet.

“My favorite gym days are legs and chest, and I always go in the morning because I don’t like to stay in bed anymore. When I was losing the initial body fat, I focused heavily on cardio, but now I’m at my optimal weight. I’m more into toning.

“Before, I was always snacking on chips and fries, between regular trips to McDonalds and Chipotle. I had two servings each time and was always hungry afterwards.



Destiny hopes to compete in local bodybuilding competitions
Destiny hopes to compete in local bodybuilding competitions

“I felt the need to end meals with dessert like ice cream and cake, no matter how much I had eaten for my main course. Nowadays, I have cut out red meat from my diet which consists mainly of chicken, rice and salmon and I am seriously considering going gluten-free!”

As Destiny lost more and more weight, she began to see the gym as a hobby and not a chore. The sales rep from Virginia Beach, Va., recently got into powerlifting and wants to take her weight loss to the next level by competing in local bodybuilding competitions.

Destiny is currently looking for a trainer to help her on this journey, and she plans to beef up after the summer in preparation for her first event. She also offers support to others struggling with their weight via her Instagram @destinyyyy20.



Destiny now weighs 145 pounds
Destiny now weighs 145 pounds

“All my life I never loved myself and tried to find validation from others,” she said. Once I started bodybuilding, I discovered the love and self-esteem that I had been searching for all my life.

“Powerlifting is one of my favorite hobbies, and when I think about how far I’ve come, it motivates me to lift heavier weights and keep pushing myself. My family is extremely supportive and I’ve inspired friends and other relatives to lose weight too.

“Obesity is an issue throughout the Deep South, so I’m using my social media platforms to promote weight loss and offer words of encouragement. I’m planning on attending my first bikini event after the summer, and I can finally say I’m excited about the future.”

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Teresa E. Burton