King-Harris a great example of what dedication can do

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

As the holiday season starts to wrap up and the sweets and treats have all been eaten, people tend to look to the new year as a time of health and fitness.

Shelisha King-Harris did not wait for a new year to come around when she started her weight loss journey in May 2011. In five and a half years, she has lost 150 pounds.

“Anybody can say ‘I want to lose weight,’ but if you don’t want it in your mind and in your heart, it’s not going to happen,” she said.

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At 370 pounds, King-Harris decided it was time to make a lifestyle change. Just moving around was hard for her and she wanted to lose weight to be a part of her seven children’s lives.

“I wanted to be able to see my kids grow. At the rate I was going it wasn’t going to happen,” she said. “It was hard for me to move, walk and I got tired fast.”

Fortunately, King-Harris said other than high blood pressure she did not have any health problems related to her weight, but she chose to challenge herself to shed pounds.

“At first when I started out I just wanted to see if I could actually do it because I had been wanting to do it, but I just didn’t know how,” she said. “When I gave it a try, it just started coming off.”

She started by cutting out all sodas, teas and juices from her diet, only drinking water and occasionally milk. Then she found other areas where she could cut back and she stopped eating fried foods, breads and sweets. King-Harris also doesn’t eat after 6 p.m.

“It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been easy at all. When I first started cutting out my sugars, my sodas, my bread and fried food… I was feenin for it,” she said.

For a week or two it took a toll on her physically where she was shaking from the withdrawals, but once she got through it, she said it became “a walk in the park.”

Next, King-Harris wanted to implement a workout regimen into her life. Not one for much physical activity, she chose to simply walk. At first she would take one lap around Vicksburg Mall two days a week.

“When I did that I saw 70 pounds fall just like that,” she said.

Since she was on a roll, she kept going, but after the weight started to come off, she hit a plateau where even walking wasn’t producing results. King-Harris knew she needed to shake things up and decided to start taking two laps around the mall. The extra lap did the trick and she started losing weigh again

From 2013 to 2015 King-Harris started to have a relapse in her weight loss journey. She got a night shift job at a casino making it difficult for her to find time to walk while also taking care of her children and sleeping during the day.

“I put on 70 pounds like it wasn’t nothing,” she said.

Eventually King-Harris found a daytime job and was able to get back on a workout schedule and again the weight came off. People have asked if she has had gastric-bypass surgery or if she takes any medication to help her shed the pounds, but she hasn’t. She said she just made the conscious effort to lose weight the traditional way with diet and exercise.

“It’s part of my life now,” she said.

At this point she has upped her walking to three laps five days a week. Walking is a way for her to release any built up tension, keeps her mind clear and makes her feel good. She has even competed in the local races — Over the River Run, Run Thru History and Chill in the Hills.

Today, King-Harris weighs 220 pounds, and she plans to continue in a healthy lifestyle.

“You can do it. You have to want it in your heart. Pray about it and it’ll happen,” she said.