Hi! I’m Alicia Latrice Smith. I’m 28 years old. I live in Portland and work with Airbnb. After going through years of cancer treatment, I gained a lot of weight. That is, until I discovered intermittent fasting and tweaked my diet—and I’ve lost 109 pounds.
My weight-loss challenges began at a very young age. When I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with leukemia. I underwent three years of chemotherapy, among many other treatments. During this time, I also had to take steroids. I blew up like a blowfish as a result of all these treatments.
Prior to being diagnosed, I really felt like a healthy kid growing up. However, after that period of my life, I struggled consistently with trying to lose the weight. I would deprive myself of all foods that were considered “bad,” which in turn made me miserable and made dieting unsustainable for me.
In turn, I also began to deal with insomnia, anxiety, depression, and low-self esteem at a very young age. Not only was I dealing with a disease, I was also now overweight, which made me feel even more isolated and lonely.
My turning point came years later: On June 5, 2017, I was officially fed up with being overweight and not enjoying my life to the fullest.
I realized I was avoiding photos, videos, and social media entirely because of my weight. I dreaded going shopping and hated the options that were available for my size, and it prevented me from attending lots of social events.
At that point in 2017, I had tried every diet fad and diet pill you can think of, and they all would work temporarily, but I would always seem to gain the weight back, plus some. Fad dieting also brought on extreme dehydration (I was even hospitalized for a week in 2016), fatigue, nutritional deficiencies, digestive problems, and consistent headaches.
But it was my battle with high blood pressure that was the final straw. I had battled high blood pressure from the age of 17 until I was 25 years old, and that was when I decided I had to take control of my health. I no longer wanted to have to take medication for the rest of my life or live in fear that being obese was going to cause more health issues for me.
On that very day, I finally chose to invest in myself. I took the first step. I made an appointment with a nutritionist, therapist, and also joined a health group forum for support.
The biggest diet changes that I implemented? Intermittent fasting and eating a high-protein, moderate-carb diet.
This combo has continued to work for me. I also make sure to practice portion control, but I still enjoy the foods I love. I do not see this as a diet, but as me just making healthier eating choices that not only fuel me but also don’t deprive me.
With this eating plan, I find myself to be more energized, full faster and longer, and I’ve lost weight on a steady, consistent basis. I also have started to see drastic improvements in my blood pressure. Oh, and I monitor my daily carb intake via the My Fitness Pal app.
Here’s what I eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: I fast until noon, but I will drink water or have a cup of coffee
- Lunch: Chicken salad with French dressing
- Snacks: Peanut butter and celery sticks
- Dinner: 6 oz. grilled salmon, red potatoes, and garlic sautéed asparagus
- Dessert: Chewy cinnamon roll protein granola bar
Prior to my weight-loss journey, I didn’t have a workout routine.
It used to give me anxiety whenever I felt judged for not properly using the gym equipment. But after starting my weight-loss journey, my fitness regimen has drastically changed.
When I first started this journey, I focused a lot on cardio and HIIT. I was working out five days a week for an hour. This gradually increased to working out six days per week where I focused on cardio as well as weight training.
Currently, I have been working out four to five times each week, with toning as my primary focus. I focus on lifting weights and doing light cardio. I walk to and from work instead of driving, and on the days I work from home I will do 30 minutes on the elliptical, Stair Master, and/or run. I also plan to do more kickboxing after I get through some work travel.
These are the three biggest lessons I’ve learned that have made my weight-loss journey successful.
The first thing? Drink LOTS of water. Water assists with burning calories, prevents you from obtaining calories from other high calorie drinks, and eliminates waste from the body. C’mon y’all, it keeps us looking younger longer.
Focus on portion control. This ensured that I had control over the amount of food I was consuming at each meal. Ithelped keep me from over-indulging and eating “just because” the food was on my plate.
Lastly, do not restrict yourself from eating certain foods. If you want that cupcake, eat it! It’s all about moderation. Forcing yourself to give up everything will result in you giving up entirely, and can lead to binge eating (I know because I’ve done it many times before). It leaves you discouraged, guilty, and back at square one.
I have lost a total of 109 pounds over the course of 2 1/2 years.
I started my journey at 251 pounds, and I now weigh 142 pounds.
Remember: There is no quick fix to lose weight. I didn’t gain the weight overnight, and I will not lose it overnight. I am almost three years into my journey and I still making progress towards my ultimate goal. It’s all about consistency and patience. I like the quote, “consistency times determination equals change.” The journey has its ups and downs, but in those moments of feeling defeated, you’ve gotta continue to push forward.
I also had to learn to understand that what may work for, say, Beyoncé may not work for me. Social media can be our biggest downfall at times. Although social media can be inspiring, I have also obtained a lot of anxiety, depression, and misinformation from it, not to mention I’ve found myself comparing not my journey and who I am as a person to others. Everyone is different, and everyone’s body and health are different. Find out what works for you, focus on you, and adjust your plan as necessary. This is your story and you’re the director.
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