Samantha Rees traces her body insecurity back to when she was 15 years old, the year she gave birth to her first child. It was difficult being larger than the other teenage girls, and Rees learned to cope by developing bad eating habits.
For breakfast, the mom would eat two slices of buttered toast and then two chocolate bars for a mid-morning snack. She would follow up with two grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and a bag of chips, and some greasy pizza for dinner. To drink, she opted for soda or five cups of tea with milk and sugar.
She ate this every day.
"I was around a size 18 and weighed almost 210 pounds by the age of 18," Rees told The Sun. "I hated my body and couldn't pull off the extra weight because I was so petite [She's 5'1".]. But feeling miserable about the way I looked only made me want to eat more."
"At my most unhealthy, I would get through cup after cup of milky tea with sugar and I'd always dunk a couple of cookies in there too," she told the Daily Mail.
In 2014, Rees stepped on the scale and was horrified at the number. She was over 210 pounds.
"I had been avoiding the scales for some time, but my clothes were becoming so tight I knew I needed to see how big I'd become," she recalled. "I was shocked and immediately googled my BMI and discovered that this meant I was 'morbidly obese.' I was mortified. I knew I had to change or I might die."
Her first attempt at weight loss included diet pills, but she quickly found that they didn't work. The next step? She started to make drastic changes to her diet, cutting cookies and sweets.
That's when she started adding five cups of unsweetened green tea to her diet.
"People told me green tea was a 'superfood' that boosts metabolism and gets rid of hunger cravings. At first, I laughed it off. I thought drinking green tea was a fad," Rees told The Sun. "I always thought that was just a myth, but I was so desperate to lose weight I decided it was worth a go."
Instead of snacking throughout the day, she began to drink green tea without sugar. She noted that she hated the flavor at first because the drink was so bitter, but she forced her way through and quickly found that in just the course of a month she'd lost 15 pounds.
"I researched the recommended daily intake for green tea and found that as long as I had no more than nine cups a day, I was doing my body no harm.," she told The Sun.
In September of 2015, Rees drank over 2,000 cups of green tea and when she last hit the scale, she was 130 pounds.
The drink itself was not a magical drink that shed the pounds, but it did keep her full and away from the sugary snacks — plus, it boosted her metabolism causing her to burn more calories.
"Now my cups of green tea get me through the day," she said. "For me, it's not a fad, it's a lifestyle."
Katherine Zeratsky, an instructor of nutrition for Mayo Clinic, said that lowering her calorie intake every day was most likely the greatest contributor to Samantha's weight loss.
"If you are drinking lots of fluids, these liquids will fill you up and send a regulatory hormone to your brain that tells it that you aren't hungry, which could mean you eat less," Zeratsky said. However, Zeratsky recommended not to "overdo a good thing."
"Also, if you're well-hydrated, your body won't confuse hydration with being hungry which could also lead to consuming less... But, ultimately, a balanced diet and exercise are the most important," Zeratsky said.
What do you think? Has green tea had a similar effect on your body? Share in the comments below!