Family Status: Married
Occupation: Wellness Coach
Hometown: Laurel, Maryland
Pounds or Inches Lost: I lost 175 pounds!
Starting Weight: 305 pounds
Current Weight: 130 pounds
Alicia’s Weight Loss Story!
When did you become unhappy with your weight?
Since I was an overweight toddler and grew up in a family where obesity prevailed, I have never been happy with my weight. I weighed over 200 pounds at age 12 and reached 250 pounds by age 17. At which time I was also prescribed high-blood pressure medication. By the age of 23, my weight had escalated to an all-time high of 305 pounds At the age of 25, I realized that I was morbidly obese. I could not walk up a flight of stairs without losing my breath. I had debilitating lower back pain that forced me on painkillers and bed rest for days at a time. My knees and legs would hurt and occasionally give in while walking; my outer thighs, when lying on my side at night, would go numb while sleeping.
What made you decide to lose weight?
I had a true awakening. I did not want to inherit, nor die from the diseases that plagued my family — diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I also did not want to take medication for the rest of my life in hopes of preventing an early death. My father was an insulin dependent diabetic who died of a heart attack at the age of 56, which was a path that I did not want to follow.
What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
Everything changed, especially my diet and exercise habits. My diet shifted from high-fat, high-calorie, sugar-laden foods that were nutrient deficient to low-fat, low-calorie, low-sugar good-for-you foods. I went from eating cheeseburgers, deep-dish pizza (sausage, pepperoni, double cheese), shakes, fries, and fried chicken to fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, and beans. I actually became a vegan (no meat or dairy products), but eat fatty fish once or twice a week for the Omega-3’s.
What was most challenging about losing weight?
Changing my mindset was a biggie. I had to start seeing food as a source for energy and nutrition versus comfort and peace. Although I still enjoy eating, I struggled with emotional binge eating and have now conquered that area of my life. Resisting the urge to eat when upset was key to my weight loss success. Many of our weight issues are due to overeating when stressed. I have become aware of my habit and have learned to recognize situations where I am tempted to binge. I now turn to healthier outlets, such as exercise, writing, and prayer, instead of eating.
How long did it take you to start to see results?
The pounds starting falling off the first week, which was mostly water weight. However, the real weight loss quickly followed. Within one month, I lost 20 pounds and over the next six months, I lost a total of 75 pounds
How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
I reached my current weight after ten years. The inevitable plateau hit after seven years, so I changed my exercise routine, to include jogging and interval cardio work, which jump-started my metabolism again. I then lost another 60 pounds within six months. Over the last few years, I steadily lost a few more, equaling 20 pounds, until I reached my current weight of 130 pounds, for a total lifetime weight loss of 175 pounds
How long have you maintained your weight loss and how do you do it?
It has been a total of 16 years since I started this journey. I maintain a regular exercise routine and healthy dietary habit in order to keep the weight from sneaking back. I exercise six days a week (off Sunday) — three cardio and three weight training. I also stick to a diet of water, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fatty fish.
How has your life changed after losing weight?
My life is so different. It is challenging for me to see a smaller figure in the mirror, because I was large my entire life. I can now climb to the top of lighthouses, walk five plus miles easily, and jog a few too. After losing weight, I would still visit the women’s section trying on clothes that were too big before I realized I could fit into misses, and now even petites. Whereas it was once challenging to find clothes big enough, it is now sometimes difficult to find them small enough. Going from a size 32 to a size 6 is just amazing! Most importantly, I am now fit and healthy. All of my vitals and stats are well within range and I have avoided the diseases that plague my family.
How did ShapeFit help you reach your weight loss goals?
ShapeFit is fabulous! The wealth of information covers everything you ever need to know about how to get in shape and be well. From general nutrition, health supplements, and diet fads to targeted workouts, exercise trends, and , ShapeFit has fueled my health and fitness arsenal and has been a big part of my wellness support network. The online articles helped me to stay on track, as well as provide new ideas for how I could make changes to become even healthier. The various exercise programs really helped when I needed to take my workout to the next level. The information was also encouraging when I felt stuck and needed to do something different.
Alicia’s Weight Loss Tips!
Weight loss tip #1:
Seek strength from a source that is higher than you to help when no one else can (and those times will come). A spiritual connection is very important.
Weight loss tip #2:
Get an accountability partner. Not just someone who you can comfortably share your struggles, but someone who will tell you the truth, encourage you to move past your mishaps, and not give up.
Weight loss tip #3:
Stay away from diets, pills, surgery, and anything that promises quick weight loss. Only a lifestyle change will last.
Weight loss tip #4:
Do not starve or deprive yourself. Those are the two main reasons diets don’t work. Eat a well-balanced diet daily and remember to include treats. There is nothing that you cannot have, it is just a matter of when and how much. If you mess up one meal, just get back on track with the next. One mess up is no excuse to blow the whole plan.
Weight loss tip #5:
Set small incremental goals. A goal of losing 100 pounds is pretty big, but breaking it down into manageable pieces, say 25 pounds at a time, is more reasonable, easier to obtain, and keeps you motivated. Always reward yourself with something that you desire each time you obtain a goal. You worked hard; you deserve it!
Alicia’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!
Hot green tea about one hour before breakfast, then a protein shake with an apple or a fruit salad.
Lunch is my biggest meal of the day – taco salad with black beans, Asian salad with tofu, or Greek salad with garbanzo beans; toss in a few walnuts, almonds, and soy nuts; or a garden salad with salmon or sardines, and multi grain crackers. For variety, I might have vegetable soup and a veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread. A handful of raisins (eaten one at a time), a few organic animal cookies, and a ginger chew for dessert.
Hot green vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, or broccoli, and oats, mixed with plain yogurt, protein powder, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, soy milk, almonds, and walnuts, along with some peanut butter and crackers.
Snacks or Mini Meals:
Almonds, walnuts, soy nuts, raisins, celery, and carrots.
Alicia’s Weight Loss Workouts!
Three days circuit training, alternating between lower and upper body exercises, so I can rest each muscle without stopping between sets. I work each muscle group using two different exercises and alternate using free weights and machines. My routine includes leg presses, chest presses, leg lefts, rows, hamstring curls, shoulder presses, hip abductions, bicep curls, inner-thigh presses, tricep pull downs, and various abdominal crunches.
Three days of cardio, thirty-minutes each – alternating among power walking, interval walking/jogging, stationary bike, or aerobics.