‘I Lost 143 Pounds By Eating Healthier Versions Of My Favorite Foods’

I’d never been overweight as a child but all of sudden, at 15 years old, I began binge-eating…and my body started to rapidly change.

I realize now, food became my crutch (I was sexually assaulted at a young age, and my therapist eventually helped me connect the two things)—but at the time, I didn’t understand why or how I would eat an entire pizza in one sitting. By the time I made it to my senior year of high school, I had gained 100 pounds.

At my heaviest (after having my son), I was 302 pounds—and I started seriously considering weight-loss surgery.

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My everything. My why. I wanted to be able to run and play with my baby, and show him good habits. I wanted to be a better mom, and I can truly say I am.302lbs—> 158lbs.

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I’d tried so many of my own methods to lose weight—restricting calories, eating bland foods—but nothing I tried was sustainable (plain chicken with steamed, unseasoned broccoli for dinner every night was just not going to happen). So I’d quit as soon as I’d start.

At that time, I knew I wanted weight-loss surgery, but in order for it to be approved by my insurance, I had to provide proof of a failed weight-loss program. So, I tried WW (formerly Weight Watchers) totally expecting it would fail me and I’d be able to get the surgery I wanted.

To my surprise, I actually lost weight—that’s when I knew the program was going to change my life.

Before Weight Watchers I had no limits when it came to food. I was eating fast food almost every day: ordering the largest burger, the largest fries, and a large soda. I didn’t really think or care about what I was putting into my body, and WW changed that. The program’s point-based system made me think about what I was eating—and it prompted a complete lifestyle change.

In fact, to hold myself accountable (and to pay it forward), I started my Instagram account, @feliciafitnesshealth, to document my weight-loss journey. I had been so inspired by other weight-loss accounts like Lexi Reed’s @fatgirlfedup, that I wanted to give others the same motivation.

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#TransformationTuesday Same pants, 16 months apart. I was SO excited in that photo on the left because I was one month into my journey with @weightwatchers and I had went from a size 24 to a 22. Little did I know I would actually stick with it this time, and end up in a size 10 about a year later. Never give up on yourself. The only way you fail is if you give up. Time is going to pass you by either way. Make the most of it. . . . . . #weightloss #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #transformation #motivation #weightwatchers #weightwatchersfreestyle #healthy #fitspo #extremeweightloss #trainandtransform

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Another lifestyle change: Not feeling guilty about eating something I thought was “bad” for me. Before, on other diets, I would let my eating habits spiral if I had a treat (I’d already “ruined” my diet that day—why bother eating healthy otherwise?). But Weight Watchers taught me that eating one cupcake is not what got me to 300 pounds and eating one now won’t halt my progress—I can enjoy treats guilt-free and then get back on track.

I’m also finding ways to make healthier versions of the meals I used to enjoy most, which means I don’t get bored with my diet, and I always feel satisfied. Here’s what I usually eat on WW:

Once I started to lose weight, I began working on my other goal: to become more toned.

I started off at a small gym that I’d walk to with my son (my weight made me insecure about getting a membership at a bigger, busier gym). At first, my workouts consisted of light cardio on the treadmill and the elliptical for 20 to 30 minutes, followed by weight training with five-pound dumbbells.

As the weight started coming off, I switched to a different gym where I focused more on heavy lifting and incorporating high-intensity cardio into my routine. Now, six days a week, I use the StairMaster for about 20 minutes and lift for 30 minutes.

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*Swipe to see my arms BEFORE and DURING* Arm day finished 🙌🏻 My favorite day. I’ve been really seeing progress in my shoulders and arms. I like to train them multiple times a week because they are my main focus. They used to be my biggest insecurity (you’d never catch me in a tank top before) and now they are one of my biggest accomplishments!

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I won’t sugarcoat things: Losing weight was tough, and I couldn’t have done it without help.

Balancing life with this new lifestyle was hard, but I knew I had to do everything I could to succeed—that meant attending weekly Weight Watchers meetings. My family doesn’t live nearby and my husband was often gone for training in the Marine Corps, so I had to rely on friends to watch my son while I was at the gym or at meetings.

I’m so thankful for the incredible support system I’ve had throughout this process, it means a lot to me. My loved ones were, understandably, worried about me at my heavier weight and it means everything to know that I’ve made them proud.

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