Shenique Clarke. (Picture by Dominique Bonnett.)
When Shenique Clarke stepped on a scale three years ago, it brought her to tears. She was 345 pounds at the time.
But instead of wallowing in self-pity, she decided to do something about it.
“I was never really ashamed of my size or how I look but I kept seeing this Avant Blue Metabolic Fusion thing [weight loss programme] and I said, ‘Let me try it’. So when I went and I stepped on the scale, I realised that I was 300 plus pounds and I cried because I could not believe I had eaten myself to that weight. So I said I have to make a change in my life and do something that could change me physically, so that’s what I did,” she said.
Losing weight for many can be a tall order but it’s something the 5 foot 3 inch, 28-year-old is willing to complete.
She was speaking to EASY recently at Maxor House, Strathclyde, St Michael ahead of the launch of her brand, Green Fit Apparel.
Admittedly, her weight loss journey has not been a walk in the park. At the beginning, she was on a strict 700-calorie per day diet. And when that was not enough, she decided to work out five times a week. At that time, she was mainly doing spin circuit or working out with a trainer at Flawless Performance Centre.
Like many others, she said she initially had reservations in fear of people making fun of her, but she said anyone looking to lose weight should just make the first move.
“Look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘this is not who I want to be’ and commit to yourself first. Admit that this is where you are and think about where you could be. Sometimes we may feel as though going to a gym people will laugh at you but really and truly people aren’t laughing at you. People are inspired by bigger people doing things ‘bony’ people can’t do,” she said.
Unfortunately, after an overseas trip, and as a result of the stress of starting up her business and other rigours of life getting in the way, she regressed and she regained some of the weight.
This past Christmas season also proved to be a setback, but since then she has been back in the gym and working with a nutritionist to get where she wants to. Her target weight is anything “under 200 pounds” because “I can’t remember what being under that weight feels like,” she said.
Shenique, a manager at Rezult Auto Shop, is a former student of the Alleyne School. She later attended the Barbados Community College, where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design.
It was this background that gave her the foundation needed to start her clothing business.
During her fitness journey, Shenique said she used motivational slogans on T-shirts to push her and after one day when she started receiving compliments about what she she was wore, she said the business idea instantly came to mind.
Green Fit offers a line of tanks, T-shirts, bottoms and accessories for both sexes. “I was always outspoken but losing weight improved my confidence level. I am not afraid to take risks because before I would have never considered doing Green Fit,” So for me this is more than just words on the shirt or a brand – it’s a whole lifestyle, it’s a movement,” she said.
“Being on this journey has given me the willpower and drive to do better. When I see people are big and are eating badly I feel a way about it. Even though I am not where I want to be, I feel like I need to show them what they should and should not be doing.”
She said realising she has inspired others has been one of the most rewarding parts, along with people’s acceptance of her brand. (TG)