Family Status: Single
Occupation: Community Activist
Hometown: Hartford, Connecticut
Starting Weight: 400+ pounds
Current Weight: 175 pounds
Current Waist Size: 38″
Joanna’s Weight Loss Interview!
How much did you lose (pounds, inches, dress/pants size)?
I lost over 225 pounds from my highest weight. In the past two and a half years I have lost 177 pounds. I went from a size 36 dress to a 10/12!
When did you become unhappy with your weight (were you overweight as a child or did you gain weight as an adult)?
I was chubby from a toddler to age 11 when I gained over 100 pounds. By age 12 I was 250 pounds, and I was over 300 pounds by the time I finished high school.
What made you decide to lose weight?
I got involved in community activism and realized I had a reason to live a long healthy life. I knew I had to take care of my own body before I could take care of my community and that I was committing slow suicide by being so large.
What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
I cut out all fast foods, fried foods, beef and pork. I cut way back on carbs and tried to eat minimal amounts of processed foods. I switched to a protein based diet. I started out at 1,200 calories a day with 40% from protein, 30% from carbs and 30% from fats. Now I eat 2,100 calories a day with the same ratios. I started to workout every day and did 2-3 hours of cardio plus weight training.
What was the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your weight loss journey?
Believing in myself. Losing weight is about the mind, body and spirit. Until I realized and accepted that, I was not going to be successful.
How long did it take you to start to see results?
How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
Well, I was my heaviest ten years ago, but the majority of my weight loss happened within the last 2 and a half years. I went from 352 pounds down to 175 pounds since June 2013.
How long have you maintained your weight loss and what are the most important factors for keeping it off?
I started losing weight this time around in June 2013 and have been at my current weight since July 2015. I workout every day and try to eat clean.
What keeps you motivated to continue your weight loss success?
The people around me. I had an awesome trainer who inspired me to lose weight and although we are not working together right now, thinking about the two years we spent working on this weight loss journey keeps me focused on my goals. Also, I have shared my weight loss story with so many people in my family and community, and that keeps me motivated.
How has your life changed now that you have lost weight?
My depression is under control and I no longer have to use insulin to control my blood sugar. Little things like walking up the stairs or tying my shoes used to be so difficult and now they are no problem at all. I have fallen in love with exercise and I love myself so much more.
Do you have any advice for others who are trying to lose weight?
Believe in yourself, love yourself and trust the process.
Joanna’s Weight Loss Tips!
Weight Loss Tip #1:
Combine cardio AND resistance training. Building muscle helps burn fat!
Weight Loss Tip #2:
Focus on the mind, body and spirit. You cannot lose weight and keep it off unless you use a holistic approach.
Weight Loss Tip #3:
Eat 4-6 smaller meals a day.
Weight Loss Tip #4:
Eat lots of protein, not so many carbs (stick to whole grains) and do not be afraid of healthy fats.
Weight Loss Tip #5:
Invest in yourself. Work with a trainer as often as you are able to. I actually got a part-time job after being on disability for years just so I could hire a trainer.
Joanna’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Eggs with some leafy greens and cheese along with a sweet potato or a red potato and coffee.
What do you normally eat for lunch?
Chicken or fish and veggies.
What do you normally eat for dinner?
Chicken or fish with veggies.
What do you normally eat for snacks?
Protein bars, oatmeal with protein powder, nuts, string cheese, protein pudding.
What type of nutritional supplements do you take?
I usually add protein powder to my oatmeal. I also eat protein bars sometimes after a workout.
Joanna’s Weight Loss Workouts!
What do you do for weight training (exercises, workouts)?
I lift heavy weights, 5-6 days a week. I try to use free weights in every workout and love deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses and more. I also like to use cables. I use some machines, but more as a supplement to training with free weights and cables.
What do you do for cardio training (exercises, workouts)?
I like doing boxing classes and spin classes for my cardio.