Latoya and I talk real issues – body issues, infertility, being a mom, diets, weight loss, growing up in the hood.
My name is Latoya Shauntay Snell. Find me HERE.
I’m an eighties kid who takes herself seriously while NOT taking herself seriously sometimes. I can be a walking contradiction. I love all around respect, be passionate about all things artistic and a full fledged potty mouth. In a society where we are constantly being censored on so much, I like to find a safe space to let down my hair, be free and live life.
Taking a chance on passion, I went from being a self taught culinarian with an eclectic background in social work, administration, 5+ years published freelance photographer/photographer assistant and a colorful novice open mic artist to becoming a classically trained chef through Star Career Academy of New York (formerly known as Career Academy of New York). I was exceptionally zealous, passionate and determined to grab this career by the horns and be my best version of successful. Unfortunately, while in culinary school, I didn’t adhere to all of the signs of a person who’s body was crashing down.
One week before Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I experienced a sharp pain that felt similar to being stabbed. The firecracker that I am, thought that this was minor and I would be bed rested for a few days. I was diagnosed with disc degenerative disease, sciatica, a pretty acute herniated disc and my immune system was crashing down. Thanks to avoiding the scale for a year, I had no idea that my once exceptionally petite frame skyrocketed to a whopping 265 pounds and climbing.
I laughed until I couldn’t laugh anymore. I was considered to be long term disabled and in turn, I was home for over a year. When diet products and fasting didn’t work, I gave life a fair chance. May 28, 2013 was the first day of my new life. Until that moment, I didn’t know what it truly felt like to LIVE. Since then, I accomplished some things: Big and Small.
I was interviewed by Redbook Magazine after losing 80 pounds, which was published in their May 2014 issue.
I dropped down to 170 pounds and you would think that my happily ever after kicked in after this. I was published into a magazine. Earned over 10 medals from running several events through New York Road Runners and the Rock n Roll Series. I am part of Black Girls Run. I even participated in the New York City Century series hosted by Transportation Alternatives. I should be on top of the world. No. Like most of us have and will, I gained almost all of it back. It is humbling.
What did I do wrong? I asked this question several times. I think I forgot how to live. I truly enjoyed the entire process of losing weight because I didn’t FEEL like I was trying to lose the weight. I was learning how to make this a lifestyle change. Being a size 8 is incredible but where’s the joy when you’re dying inside?
In essence, here I am. I am a plus size runner who adore the hash tag #fatrunner. My wall is decorated with over 40 medals ranging from completing 10K, 3 (soon to be 5) marathons, an ultra marathon (60K or 37.3 miles) and a few obstacle course races. I jumped out an airplane and not at gunpoint. I am a mother. I am someone’s somebody. I traveled to different states and out of the country thanks to this journey. I met incredible people. I am still cooking great food with portion control without starving myself. I still run for the ice cream truck but I’m faster now. I don’t take much medication anymore. I’M STILL FAT AND LOVING IT. I have an athlete’s body. I learned to love me.