Felicia Bagneris made up her mind that it was time to change her life.
“When I got on the scale, it said 310 pounds,” said Felicia Bagneris. “[The doctor] said to me, he said, ‘Felicia, if you don’t get 50 pounds off now, I’m going to put you on insulin.’”
Words she’d never thought she’d hear, Bagneris knew that a change had to come—now.
Born in Stockton, California, Bagneris soon came to call Southern California home. She would grow up to work as an educational recruiter for college. Bagneris later found her spiritual calling and became an ordained minister in the A.M.E. church. Although she had made her calling and election sure, there were other areas of her life that needed attention.
In 2011, in her late 40s, Bagneris was unhappy with her weight and the complications that it brought. Being overweight began to hinder her lifestyle with bad health and multiple medications. “You name it, I was on it,” said Bagneris.
A doctor’s visit changed everything for Bagneris when she had to face the fact that her life was in jeopardy. Faced with the reality of taking insulin was just the wake-up call she needed. Bagneris sprang into action.
“At that time, I had one grandchild… I thought about him,” said Bagneris. “I thought about the fact that I was only 49, getting ready to turn 50—I said, ‘this is ridiculous.’
“[The doctor] suggested I have gastric bypass, or I have the lap-band and I refused it. I said, ‘No, you know what? I can do this, I know how to do it, I’ve done it before.’”
“I‘ve been heavy basically all my life,” said Bagneris, “Specifically starting from high school—actually from age 13.”
Bagneris had tried many other diet plans in the past to get rid of the weight. She describes that many of them didn’t work.
“I remember my mother bringing me these liquid protein drinks,” said Bagneris. “She would actually bring them to my school for me.
“I remember doing the… cabbage soup diet, you just eat that all day. I’ve tried weight loss pills, you name them, I’ve tried them—all of them. But nothing worked for me, nothing clicked.”
She did try Jenny Craig (JC) earlier in her life but describes that she wasn’t in the right mindset to make it work at that particular time.
“When I was in my 20s, I did try [JC] but at that time, mentally, I wasn’t there,” said Bagneris. “I wasn’t ready to be transformed.”
Fast-forward to that day in her doctor’s office, with the news she had just received, she was ready to meet the challenge. Even though she didn’t follow through with the program previously, she still had a good experience with JC and decided now was the time to go back. She decided to try JC again in May of 2011.
“JC is really all about being healthy, portion control… and regular exercise,” said Bagneris.
The combination of the food plan, regular exercise and counseling helped Bagneris reverse her medical condition and achieve a healthier outlook. She describes how the counseling helped her to stay on track with her new lifestyle.
“Because of what I do as a minister in the community, I’m always going to prayer breakfasts, lunches—meet, greet and eat,” said Bagneris. “[Church events] funerals, repasts, there’s food there…but I had the support of my consultant.
“At the end of the day, it was up to me.”
Bagneris says, “the bottom line was my faith in God. My scripture that I used was ‘Be ye renewed by the transforming of your mind.’
“That’s the [scripture] that got me, every day, I repeated that, sometimes, multiples times throughout day because I knew that it was only a choice and I had to be the one to make the choice.“
Bagneris was 310lbs before she began the process of getting her life together. She is now around the 100lb mark and has been maintaining her weight ever since.
“I wore a size 28,” said Bagneris. “People don’t even know they have a size 28 but they do.
“I wear a size 14 now.”
The weight loss not only improved her dress size but her overall health. She was able to drop most of the medications she had been taking and reverse many of her health complications.
“I’m 99% prescription medicine free,” said Bagneris. [In October] it will be one year that I have maintained this weight loss…and off prescription medication.”
As if life couldn’t get any sweeter for Bagneris, it did on Sunday August 4 when she married the love of her life. Her words of encouragement to others struggling with their weight is simple.
“Whatever your faith is, whatever your higher power is… latch onto that,” said Bagneris. “Whatever works for you, whatever it is that’s going to work for you—you just have to work it.”