Before: 219 pounds
After: 137 pounds
Alicia West, 27, a mother from Iowa, knows exactly how her weight creeped up on her: She was lazy. "I never cooked and ate fast food probably three to four times a day," says Alicia. "I lived off of the drive-thru menu." She did in fact have a gym membership, but Alicia would go sporadically—maybe once a week or once every few weeks. "I wasn't very serious or committed about exercising," she says. Sure, she'd walk about four to six miles a day to relieve stress, but she never participated in activities that really got her heart rate up. In February 2012, Alicia, who stands at 5'4," weighed 219 pounds.
After a breakup, Alicia decided to use her newly single status to focus on her body, so she dedicated more time to actually going to the gym. Now, she had been avoiding the scale for years—and she suspected her weight was a little on the heavier side—but when she finally stepped onto one, she was shocked at the number on it. "I think I might have cried [when I saw my weight]," she says. "I didn't think I was that big. I had no idea I had let myself get so out of control."
The first hurdle was learning how to prepare her own meals instead of ordering out. And for Alicia, the trick was to find foods similar to her favorite eats (like swapping beef for ground turkey). For her family's weekly "Taco Tuesday," Alicia started skipping the crispy tortilla and making a salad with her lean meat and assorted vegetables. "It's important to make these changes so that you don't feel like you're depriving yourself," says Alicia.
Alicia also upped her workouts, going from weekly sweat sessions to exercising about six times a week. She also began using a strength-training DVD and running—which she always used to hate—between two and three miles every morning. "I love doing pushups, which I thought I'd never be able to do," says Alicia. "I do them almost every day!" Her main focus is that she does something active whenever and wherever she can.
Thanks to all of these lifestyle changes, Alicia dropped her weight to 137 pounds—a weight she's kept steady for a little more than a year.
"I've always been the heavier, chunkier girl," says Alicia. "And now seeing people from my past—who haven't seen me in a long time—say, 'Oh, I didn't even recognize you!' That's a good feeling." But Alicia really loves being the inspiration for other people to tackle their weight-loss journeys. "I like helping these people because I know how it felt to be completely clueless [about losing weight]," she says. "I love showing them that you can do it."
Cook as much as possible. "A lot of people think that eating healthy and buying veggies and fresh foods is expensive, but I can cook a big meal on Sunday night, and [the leftovers] will feed me for the whole week."
Never deprive yourself. "Find substitutes for foods you love to make the transition from junk food to healthy food not so sudden and boring."
Find things that motivate you. "I started following fit women on Instagram and learned about their workout and eating habits. I also like to see inspirational quotes and posters."
Make the time to work out. "I didn't want to be one of those moms who used raising kids as an excuse [for not exercising] because I know a lot of them. I wake up 45 minutes earlier every day because I know that afterward, my whole time is dedicated to housework and taking care of my son."
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This article was written by Lizzie Fuhr and repurposed with permission
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