Ariana’s Incredible 2 Year 100 Pound Weight Loss Transformation
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
My initial motivation was to just be thinner. I was so TIRED of being the fat friend, I was starting to get tired of plus-sized clothes, and I absolutely hated summer because I wasn’t trying to show any skin, I was just fed up, overall. I limited myself from doing so many things like going to the beach (although I still don’t love the beach) or any activity that involved movement.
At the time, I lived in Seattle with my roommate and it’s ironic because she was extremely fit, like little to no body fat and I would watch her and her habits and I remember constantly thinking “wow, what I would give to look like that.” Even small things like crossing my legs with no issue or tying my shoes without having to stop and prop my leg up made me wonder how I could look and feel differently.
I have one memory in particular. My cousins and I went to Six Flags and wanted to spend the entire day just having a good time. One of my favorite rides was the Batman, we waited in line for about 30 minutes, and then came time to buckle up and take off. The harness came down and just would not buckle. I tried, the employee tried, it was so embarrassing. Later that day there were 2 more rides I also couldn’t fit. I was so defeated and ashamed.
What did you do for exercise when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
My journey first started with Team Body Project on Youtube. I lived in a small studio so my space was limited. I was a recruiter at the time, so my days were really unpredictable but I had control over my mornings. Starting slowly, I woke up 2-3 days a week before work and would do these low impact workouts. They were in rounds and I remember after each round I had to pause and take breaks. I would be so dead after each workout. But I stuck to 2-3 days a week.
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Eventually, I did get a gym membership. I lived further out and the gym wasn’t too far but not super close. So I did less of the YouTube workouts and more cardio at the gym. This is when I really began to explore the treadmill (yes, explore). I started out walking at a 3.0 with no incline. After about 2 months, I began to play around with incline and speed. I’m grateful because I’ve never really had gym anxiety, so the gym has always worked well for me because I love people watching and the distraction helps the time pass.
For an entire week, my goal was to get to 30 minutes of walking without stopping. I would constantly take breaks and see how many minutes had passed…literally, only 5-6 minutes felt like forever. The gym I went to in Seattle had a scale and one day I stepped on there to see 300lbs. That number was ingrained in my head for at least 2 weeks. It was probably at this point when the journey actually began. Granted at the time, I was still eating really poorly but I was doing my best to keep up with fitness.
Since starting in the latter half of 2018 my workouts have changed slightly but at its core, not really. There was a period of time where I was around 240 and was incorporating weights heavily and something about that didn’t sit right with me, personally. My goal was never about body composition or being strong. All I cared about was being smaller, taking up less space. So I let the weights go and began to focus heavily on cardio. My major focus was on two things: the scale moving and breaking a sweat.
Flash forward to now:
I just made it under 200 lbs so I stand at 198.6 and am beginning to take weights more seriously. I tried a cycling place out by my house on a random day in June of 2019 and I absolutely fell in love. It’s crazy to sit back and reflect on how impossible it was when I first started and now I go 4-5x a week with no issues. Sometimes I even go twice a day. It’s a perfect balance for me because we incorporate weights during class as well.
What did you do for nutrition when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
I have tried many types of diets and I’m glad I did. It’s been nice to see what works and what doesn’t and how my body reacts/responds. I’ve tried being vegan, calorie counting, keto, and the 21-day meal plan. What worked the best for me was always calorie counting in combination with fasting.
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I had mastered exercise first before nutrition which in hindsight I regret because exercise isn’t nearly as important when it comes to weight loss. People say it’s 80/20 but I find it to be 90/10. For about 5 months I struggled with trying to outwork a bad diet. I would do an hour of cardio and have fast food for dinner. It was extremely hard because I don’t live alone, so nobody in my house was eating like me and trying to be nice, they’d always ask if I wanted pizza or McDonald’s. I had to understand my own vision for myself to overcome the mental aspect.
The very first thing I tried was being vegan. I thought cutting out meat would make me drop pounds so quickly. I failed to take into consideration that doubling up on carbs wasn’t the way to go either. Plus, my addiction to eggs is out of control so that would never work long term. Soon I began to realize my biggest issue was sugar. I was the type to have dessert every night. Before this journey, I would have a bowl of ice cream every night after dinner. I knew this wasn’t good but it was such a habit, I never even thought about changing my routine.
To curb my dessert/sugar habit I started with alternate days and eventually replaced those Oreos with fruit. It was the hardest thing to overcome.
Flash forward to now:
I am trying to perfect portions and learn when I’m full. I feel like balance will always be hard to manage for me. But through trial and error, I have realized that calorie counting works best for me. I eat twice a day (sometimes only once) and will do two servings of veggies usually sauteed and a protein, eggs, fruit, and 2 cookies. I am not a cook at all, so my meals are very repetitive.
I eat a lot of eggs (4/day), riced cauliflower, and if I have a 7 pm work out I do a smoothie after class. I started intermittent fasting in 2018 and I’ve never looked back. I fast to some degree every day. Early in my journey I would do 24hr+ fasts and followed an OMAD (one meal day) diet for a solid 8 months. I absolutely loved it but my schedule changed and my body reacts positively when I stop eating before 6/7 pm. I swear by fasting and calorie counting. I count calories less now but I fast every single day.
In regards to supplements, I love Care/of. It is a vitamin pack subscription service. I highly recommend it. My vitamin pack has a probiotic, turmeric, elderberry, and Vitamin D. I also add to that with magnesium, Vitamin C, and iron (twice a week for both). When I make my smoothies and coffee at home I always add 2 scoops of Vital proteins and Orgain plant-based powder. I have always struggled with taking vitamins and now it is a part of my daily routine, so I am really proud of that!
How did you stay mentally strong when it was tough? Did you ever give up? How did you recover?
Looking back at it, the journey was so much easier in the beginning. Now, the weight falls off so much slower and it’s frustrating because even when you do everything right the weight can come off slowly. The mental shift is hard to keep up honestly. You start super excited and ready to conquer and then you realize every single day you will be tested. At work when they have cake in the break room, in college when they have pizza every way you turn…it is all a test of discipline, patience, and grace. When you get stuck or in a rut always feel free to do something different because that’s just what your body may need.
The biggest mental blocker for me was comparing myself to others. I follow so many women/men who lost 100+ lbs in like 10 months. And that is…to this day, absolutely wild to me. Granted, I am sure my weight loss could’ve been much faster if I controlled my sugar more but I’d like to think this journey happened at the appropriate pace. The comparisons are a constant reminder of how I was lacking and how I wasn’t where I wanted to be. In some aspects very motivating and others envy. To be honest, I haven’t overcome this yet and it’s a work in progress.
I weigh myself every day so I pay close attention to the scale and less attention to my body composition. But a piece of advice I hear often is to take measurements which I totally agree with, so every 3-4 months I do take my measurements. There are periods of time where I found myself being more strict and in public people would often say “oh it’s okay to loosen up”, but know it’s also okay for you to be strict too and know that if that food will trigger you, you can be hard on yourself and choose to not eat it.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I have used a few apps. Zero is for fasting, it basically just tracks your fasting hours and the different types of fasts you choose. MyFitnessPal is excellent for calorie counting and portions. Lifesum is also great for calorie counting but I used it primarily when I tried tracking macros.
When did you start to notice progress?
Clothes were always a big indicator for me as well as taking progress pics. You don’t really REALIZE until you take a progress pic. Comparison pics are the best thing to start and continue during your journey because there will be days when you feel like you’re 300 lbs even though you’ve lost 40 so far.
My biggest ah-ha moment was when I officially left the plus-sized section. I am a strictly online shopper and I would continuously order clothes that did not fit (I was swimming in them). My mind eventually caught up with my body.
Do you have any fitness “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
If I know I am going to eat food off-plan or “bad food”, then I try to eat as early as possible so that I can start fasting. Eating heavy after 7 is not good for me. Secondly, I am trying to get into the habit of drinking hot water with lemon in between meals so I can really find out if I am hungry or just bored. Over Thanksgiving, I ate all the carbs and I still managed to lose a pound because I would eat early.
What advice would you give to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
- Focus on nutrition first then add in working out.
- Take pictures at your heaviest. This is my biggest regret. I have zero pictures of myself when I was 300 lbs. I always have to dig deep or revisit old FB posts.
- It is okay to switch things up often and try new food diets. I did this same thing and it was nice to be able to compare what works with what didn’t. Looking back, that was extremely valuable for me.
- Set very small milestones. Starting small is what will carry you through your journey.
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
The Obesity Code by Jason Fung I highly recommend. Although I don’t do keto he is a huge advocate for intermittent fasting and how to optimize results according to your diet.
I follow a wide variety of women on IG. My favorite accounts are of those women who are REAL and offer transparency.
Where can we find more about you?
My weight loss IG account: @_actuallyariana
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