By Mary Squillace, Fitbie.com
Images: Courtesy of Alicia Murphy
Alicia Murphy stayed fit during her teen years with dance and cheerleading, but put on 50 pounds during her first pregnancy. Then, after dropping about half the weight, she injured her back, and packed all those pounds back on—and then some. “I wasn’t able to work out or do most things,” she says. Just as she got back on her feet, she found out she was pregnant with her second child. Before she knew it, Alicia had ballooned to 289 pounds.
The Turning Point Alicia’s doctor urged her to lose weight after she tipped the scale to nearly 300 pounds. “I looked at people in my family. There were people who were obese and had problems, like diabetes, bad knees, blood pressure,” she says. Her grandmother and all of her grandmother’s sisters had type 2 diabetes, and her grandmother was the only one of them who was still alive. “I knew I was headed down that road if I didn’t make a change.”
The Lifestyle Alicia searched for resources online and found an eight-week weight-loss challenge on Facebook. “My competition mode kicked in,” she said. With the My Fitness Pal app, she tracked her calorie intake. She also cut down on sweets and carbs, and quit drinking soda. “I only drink water, tea, or juices made with 100 percent fruit juice,” she says. She began to rely less on convenient, processed foods and cooked more, integrating fruits and vegetables into her meals. “I started eating to fuel myself rather than for comfort,” she says. In those first eight weeks, she won the Facebook challenge.
Additionally, Alicia started hitting the gym. “I’d go straight there after work for a couple of hours, four to five days a week,” she says. She did a mix of cardio and strength training . “One key for me was mixing up my routines so I wasn’t bored, and my body didn’t become accustomed to one particular set of exercises,” Alicia says. “You have to keep your body guessing at all times.” She also incorporated exercise into her home life by using Jillian Michaels DVDs and playing active video games, like Just Dance 2 and Michael Jackson the Experience with her kids. “It’s been a great bonding experience,” she says. Eventually she also took up running. “It’s something I never thought I would do,” she says. “But before the end of the year I’m going to do a 5-K.” What’s more, she’s working on becoming a certified Spin instructor. All of her hard work has paid off—Alicia has dropped over 100 pounds.
The Motivation Support from others—both in real life and in the form of online groups—have come in handy for Alicia during times where she felt like giving up. Of course, the constant stream of compliments from her family, friends, and co-workers didn’t hurt either.
The Reward Alicia loves to be able to shop in any store she wants to, instead of being limited to plus-size stores. “I also love the way I feel in my own skin,” she says. “Before I lost weight I didn’t want to do anything, now I want to get out more.”
Alicia’s Advice Don’t give up. “This weight loss journey is pretty much a forever journey. You’re going to hit some rocky roads here and there, but stay consistent and you’ll reach your goal.”