Even in the days of social media where it's normal to share every detail of your life, being vulnerable can oftentimes be difficult. Especially, when it comes to physical and mental health.

I stumbled upon a TikTok account from a creator named Candace or, @the_sleeved_redhead. The video, which you can see below, caught my attention because of the caption:

First of all, I will always support people gifting themselves a tattoo or piercing to celebrate an accomplishment no matter how big or small. Also, 134 pounds? That's an incredible feat.

Scrolling through Candace's content, she doesn't hesitate to share her experiences on her health journey which, again, can be a very vulnerable subject:

She also shares her favorite beginning yoga poses and workouts. Some of which are PCOS-friendly:

And, progress videos to show how far she's come:

How Did She Start This Journey?

Reaching out to Candace, she said that at 32 years old, she weighed 298 lbs. In June of 2022, she made the decision to have a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery to begin her weight loss journey.

In fact, that's why she created her TikTok account which now has over 12,000 followers. She wanted to document her journey and hold herself accountable at the same time.

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Knowing that she's not the only person in the world to consider VSG, I asked if she had any advice for others considering the surgery. She said,

My advice would be to do lots of research there are so many options now including bariatric surgery & even non surgical options. I went for the VSG over bypass. The process to get where I am was very hard but I wouldn’t trade it for being back at 298lbs. It takes lots of hard work, dedication and mental changes.

In my own experience, I can attest that the mental changes were sometimes the hardest to enact or overcome. But, she's doing it!

Originally born in Cleveland, she was raised in Charleston, SC but came to Michigan in 2014. Now happily married and living in Decatur, Candace was kind enough to trust me with information that's sometimes (hopefully less now) seen as taboo.

*Trigger warning for talk about suicide*

Candace is a suicide survivor and lost her first husband to suicide. That kind of devastation is something most people can only imagine since they haven't had to live through it.

Through it all, Candace channeled her experience into bringing the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walk back to Kalamazoo in 2018. Anyone on a healing journey can tell you...being able to use your past pain to help others is an incredible accomplishment.

You can learn more about walks happening in your community here.

Through her TikTok account, Candace also shares recipes for those looking for a quick, healthy meal. Her current favorite? A chicken jalapeno popper dip that looks phenomenal:

Being real on social media isn't an easy thing to do. I applaud Candace for being so open with her journey both with mental health and physical health. If you'd like to see more of her content, make sure to follow her on TikTok.

We're always looking for unique TikTok creators that are local to SW Michigan to feature for TikTok Tuesday. If you'd like to nominate yourself or someone you know, you can do so below:

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