Grace has lost over 120 pounds in the last year and a half 

Grace Turner has finally found peace and quiet from food noise, toxic diet thinking, and body dysmorphia after years of yoyo dieting and health struggles. 

Grace grew up in Memphis as a competitive dancer from age three and continued throughout high school. The strenuous dance workouts kept her in peak physical shape, dancing up to five days a week for over three hours daily. Despite her high level of athleticism and fitness, Grace felt insecure about her curves and recognizes now that she struggled with severe body dysmorphia. “I was curvy compared to most of my friends and teammates, but I was not overweight. Still, I constantly compared my body to others, and at the time, did not have a love for the appearance of my body,” she remembers. This led to Grace developing disordered thoughts around food from a young age. 

Grace began college at the University of Alabama and found that she gained some weight, which she later found out was due in part to her diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. Without her dance regimen, Grace lost the motivation to exercise, and her PCOS made it that much more difficult to lose weight. “I did not want to look at myself. I was showering in the dark, so I didn’t have to see myself. My clothes didn’t fit well. I struggled to stick to diets and talked to myself very negatively,” Grace says. 

Grace married her husband in 2019 and, in preparation, tried the keto diet. Though she lost weight, she found the diet unsustainable and put the weight back on. A year after their wedding, Grace became pregnant with their daughter, which took an unfortunate toll on Grace’s physical health. Grace developed severe preeclampsia, had to endure multiple hospitalizations, and eventually gave birth prematurely at 34 weeks. “I think it was during the trauma of my pregnancy that I started realizing the implications of my weight gain, and I knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to have another, safer pregnancy,” she says. 

Grace was prescribed the anti-diabetic medication Mounjaro and has since lost over 120 pounds in the last year and a half. She remembers being skeptical about sharing her journey with the drug at first because of the associated stigma and judgment, but now encourages others to see how much medications like these can change lives. “I have re-learned how to eat, how to take care of and appreciate my body, and most of all, have regained the confidence I lost so many years ago. Starting this medication was one of the best decisions I have ever made.” 

Now, Grace looks forward to long walks, playing with her daughter, and gaining back some of the muscle she lost in her drastic weight loss. Her lower weight also decreases the chances of complications in future pregnancies. “I love myself again, and I’m no longer hiding in the dark. I love my body and all it has been through, and from now on, I want to protect it.” 

By Zoe Harrison 

Photo by D’Angelo Connell