Transformation of the Day: Andia lost 101 pounds. She wanted to set an example for her daughters of what it means to be physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and financially healthy. Having VSG surgery is part of her journey, along with healthy eating habits and exercise.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started my journey in August 2019. My goal is to reach a weight of 155 lbs. Most importantly- the ultimate goal is to continue becoming a healthier person and inspire people along the way just to start somewhere. I made excuses for 16 years- but when I mentally committed to changing- that is when the progress continued to happen, and the results showed up.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going when you wanted to give up?
My motivation was the desire to live a life with more purpose and fulfillment. Most of my life, I refrained from really enjoying so many things because I felt like my weight got in the way.
I also wanted to set a good example for my two daughters- hat example; Truly living your best life and taking care of yourself first in every aspect- physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
The thing that inspired me most when I wanted to give up was knowing that I never wanted to feel the way I felt when I was morbidly obese – always feeling tired, drained, and depressed. I also began to open up with my journey to friends and family. I want to be a role model for them to pursue a healthier lifestyle journey, as well.
Is the weight loss surgery part of your journey?
Yes. It took me a few years before I decided to have vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery (VSG). I connected with three inspiring ladies who previously had the surgery. Their transformations inspired me to choose to have WLS. To this day, I have no regrets about having the surgery.
How did you change your eating habits?
I was never the big eater in the room, but my weakness was eating foods that are loaded with sugar. For years, that was my challenge. I loved anything sweet! In stressful times, it was a comfort to eat sweet things.
On my healthier lifestyle journey, I cut back tremendously on eating sugar and embraced foods that were high in protein. I ate a moderate amount of carbs, and my diet is low in sugar and fat. My daily intake of calories reduced tremendously due to the smaller size of my stomach after VSG surgery. Along with the reduced caloric intake, I recently incorporated intermittent fasting to help with my weight loss.
What did your workout routine look like? How often did you workout?
My workout routine is exercising 4-5 times per week for at least 30-45 minutes. Three days a week, I strictly do cardio, and the other two days would be strength training. In my normal daily routine, I also started to look at more ways to be active outside of the gym.
- parking my car further away, so I have to walk a longer distance to work or stores
- playing fun activities with my kids to burn off some more energy; opting to walk instead of drive
- moving from my desk every hour to keep active
- counting my steps daily. (I try to take at least 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.)
You don’t have to come up with a stringent program to lose weight at all. I find that developing a more realistic fitness goal incorporated into your normal routine will help you to be more consistent. It worked for me!
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 323 pounds. I now weigh 222 pounds. I have gone from wearing a size 24 to a size 14.
What is your height?
My height is 5’5″.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
I’ve learned that it is so important to take care of yourself. No one can love or take care of you the way that you can. I’ve learned that being healthier brings so much more goodness into your life. You feel more confident about yourself. You have more energy to do so much more. You feel more fulfilled because you are taking care of the person that matters most. You feel more valuable. You have a greater appreciation for yourself, so you can remove yourself from anyone on anything that doesn’t value you! You really begin to heal when you take care of yourself!
What advice do you have for people who want to lose weight?
START today! It will never be the perfect time to start, but one day it will be too late if you keep making excuses. You should be in control of how you want to live your life- not just numbers on a scale.
Release the excess baggage. There is so much more to life when your body has the ability to fully enjoy it!
Concerning weight loss surgery, I say, “Research your options.” Only you will know when you’re ready to have WLS. The VSG is not the easy way out at all. The key to your progress with WLS is improving your diet and exercising to achieve sustainable results.
I want to pay it forward by inspiring someone to start. No matter where you are, just start. The first step does not need to be big at all. Start by incorporating a healthier choice (nutrition/exercise) every day. Also, if you can, find an accountability partner to motivate you. Having that support also helps in the challenging days when you need the extra push.