By Meghan Kelly, Refinery29
What do you do when you really, truly want to turn your life around? For LaKeisha Shurn, it was making an online video diary.
Shurn, a Bay Area native, weighed over 300 pounds only a year ago. After literally working her ass off at the gym, she's come out reinvigorated, over 50 pounds lighter, and a social media sensation. Her time-lapse video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times after she posted it to her Giveit100 page - a website that challenges people to do something (anything) in 100 days. Karen Cheng, the founder of Giveit100, told R29 that LaKeisha's video has seduced tons of new users to join the project.
"Literally, overnight, our number of users doubled," Cheng explained, "We got more users in 24 hours, than in the last two months combined. We were scrambling just to keep the site up!"
Rarely do you get to pick the brains of these viral video peeps, so we were excited to chat one-on-one with Shurn to find out who the girl behind the screen really is - and what she's doing next. So, if you're ready to inject a jolt of serious inspiration to your Monday, keep reading!
We know you as the girl who changed her life, but who really is LaKeisha Shurn?
"I was born and raised in the Bay Area and I lived the majority of my childhood out in Fremont, California. I graduated from Washington High School and the plan was to go to college, but I wanted to go into interior design because that was my drive. So, it became a back and forth to work really hard to find a job and go to school at the same time. But, there was always something that would happen that kept me out of school. I decided to just go into the work field and gain experience there. I just want to be happy. I want to have a job that I enjoy doing, and that's not asking much. My drive is to work hard. I've never liked anything that someone handed to me for free."
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What spurred you to make this change?
"There was a lot of stuff that was going in my life. I was going through depression, I was going through a divorce, and I had lost my job. I didn't know what to do and I got frustrated, so I started looking at what I could change about my life because a lot of things had gotten out of control. I needed to sit down and ask, 'What do you want?'"
How did you get through with the "New Year's resolution" slump? You know, people are excited and motivated for a couple weeks when they start on a goal and then slump when they realize it takes work.
"It was really about taking it one day at a time and holding myself accountable. The only way I got through it was to remind myself that this was going to take awhile. It was not going to be an easy task. You're going to have to put in the work and that's what I did. And, that's what I'm still doing; my journey is not over."
What's your regimen like now?
"I do two hours in the gym for five days, then one day of rest, and then the next day is a one-hour workout."
How did you find Giveit100? Would you have taken this challenge without it?
"I had it in my mind to document my journey before I found Giveit100 and it probably would have been on YouTube. I found Giveit100 through Karen Cheng who did the Learn to Dance in a Year video and I followed her on Facebook. Giveit100 gave me a platform to talk about everything, and it's only ten seconds a video. What's the harm in that?"
What is it about 100 days that actually seems achievable?
"Honestly - nothing. You have to push. You say, 'Oh look, I did 20 days' and then, 'Oh look, I did 50 days.' It gets to the point around 50 days where you're like, 'Ugh, I have 50 more to go.'"
Do you have future weight-loss goals or emotional goals you're willing to share with us?
"If you follow my page on Giveit100 there are some things that are coming up. There's something that has to do with the dress that you see on my Twitter page, and there's training-for-a-marathon-type things and that's all I'm gonna say about that. There's something involving a particular bridge in the Bay Area - I'm not going to say which one - and that's about it. But, weight goal-wise, the goal is to be happy and that's it. I don't have a weight goal because I don't believe in them."
What advice do you give women who need to make that life change and just need the push?
"You need to find out what you want in life - what you really want and put in the work, and just go for it."
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