Transformation of the Day: Raquel lost 112 pounds and 24% body fat. Depressed, fresh out of an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship, and temporarily living on her cousin’s couch, she found herself severely overweight and facing some serious health issues. Now she is training to be a figure competitor and working toward a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition. Check out her journey.
I was never a “big girl” growing up. I honestly always ate whatever I wanted with little to no exercise. That all changed when I gave birth to my son at the age of 24. I gained 60 pounds during the pregnancy and ended up weighing a total of 215 pounds. At 5’5″, that is a lot of weight to carry.
I lost some of the weight, but I gained it back after splitting up with my son’s father…which left me as a single parent in unfamiliar territory.
When my son turned one year old, I eventually packed up all my stuff and moved from the Midwest back to the East Coast to realign with my family. Depressed, overweight, fresh out of an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship, and temporarily living on my cousin’s couch, I found myself severely obese.
Working long hours at a big law firm and juggling being a single mom left me with little to no time to take care of myself. It wasn’t until I went to my doctor for a checkup that I discovered I had Sleep Apnea, borderline Pre-Diabetes, and a heart arrhythmia. I left with a C-Pap machine and the standard advice from a doctor, “You need to get moving and eat more fruits and vegetables.”
I thought, “Get moving? I move! I walk around, up and down stairs all the time. I eat fruits and vegetables frequently too.” I left absolutely confused, in denial, and scared; not just for myself but for my son.
Motivation: My source of motivation to get started on my weight loss journey came from the fact that my mom died young from a blood disorder when I was four years old. My father abandoned his responsibilities soon after. I could’ve very well been in foster care, but my grandmother took on the responsibility of raising me. I did not want my son to go through the heartache of not having either one of his parents around. These life circumstances have always been my source of motivation and inspiration, even on days when I wanted to give up.
When did you start?: I began my journey in December 2014. I had weight loss surgery, vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It took a year and six months to lose the first 100lbs. Then, it took 5-6 months to lose the last 12 lbs. I always say I’m still transforming. I still have goals besides weight loss now.
Eating Habits: I did a low carb, high protein, moderate fat nutrition plan. I ate lean meats, green veggies, and healthy fats. Little to no dairy as well. I stopped drinking alcohol: no eating out, no cheat meals, no sweets, and no processed foods. I would have coffee as a pre-workout but not often.
I was consistent with meal prep; eating every 3-4hours and drinking water only. I sometimes would supplement a meal/snack with a high protein shake such as Premier Protein or Muscle Egg. I went by daily macros (protein, fat, carbs) using MyFitness Pal. I tracked and weighed everything I ate. I even created an Excel spreadsheet to track my weight loss per month.
Exercise: I hired a trainer for my workouts. My training sessions were 45 minutes to an hour long, 3-4 days a week. The workouts varied from HIIT, Heavy lifting, agility, etc. On my off days, I did 45 mins of cardio either on the Stairmaster, row machine, spinning, or running. I had 1 or 2 rest days in between. My workouts and nutrition were changed every 6-8 weeks to push past fatigue and plateaus.
Now, fast forward five years later…
My starting weight was 242 pounds/46% body fat. My lowest weight was 130 pounds, but I currently weigh 140 pounds/22% body fat.
As a part of my weight loss journey I created a “bucket list” of fitness goals that I knew I was incapable of doing at 242 pounds. I completed 3 Tough Mudders, a few half marathons, and one full marathon (as well as other distances). I am currently preparing to compete in my first bodybuilding show as a figure competitor.
I use my personal history of successfully managing dietary challenges to help others obtain their goals. I am currently studying for a Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition degree with the end goal of becoming a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN)/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
Prior to pursuing a dietetic career, I studied law. I realized that practicing law was not my calling. What attracted me to the legal profession was the same thing that drew me to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist—a strong desire to help others who are struggling with issues they are not equipped to conquer.
I realized very early on, however, that I needed to pursue my true passion of educating and guiding people through the same journey I had taken to improve their health through proper nutrition. Did I mention, I’m also a Health Coach for Profile by Sanford Health? I’m always happy to help anyone along their journey.
Biggest Lesson: Wow, there are so many lessons I learned. Pinpointing one is hard. I would say, it takes a long time for your mind to catch up with your body with how you look. When I got to my goal weight, I still felt like that 242lb person internally, but clearly, I was not. I still struggle with body dysmorphia to this day. To help assist with this take plenty of progress pictures along the way. Your mind can trick you into thinking you look a certain way, but pictures don’t lie.
Advice: Once you start do not stop. Track and weigh everything you eat! How else would you know how much you are eating? We tend to eat way more than we think or sometimes not enough. Be consistent with your nutrition and the rest will follow.
Lift heavy and often! This is key for not having so much extra skin after weight loss. Plus, the leaner you are, the less body fat you will carry. Don’t become obsessed with the scale. Set realistic goals and don’t always tie them to the number on the scale. Non-scale victories matter too.
Weight loss is never linear so don’t become discouraged. You may gain one week lose another or not at all. Just stay the course. Also, do not expect your family and friends to be supportive of your journey. You will get a lot of backlash, questions, negative comments, etc. Yes, some of it is out of curiosity, but the majority of it is because they don’t want to be left behind or they lack the consistency and motivation begin their journey. Remember, you’re doing this for you and no one else. It’s your body, and it’s your life. If they chose to take the journey with you, great! If not, seek support from others that have been through the process.
Also, the weight loss is the easy the part, but maintaining is whole other beast. Yes, you still should eat right and work out after getting to goal if you want to keep it.
You can find me on Instagram @sherocksfitness
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“You can’t be committed to your bullshit and your growth. It’s one or the other.” #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #bodytransformation #figurecompetitor #ocbfigurecompetitor #100lbsweightloss #backworkout #inspo #motivation #momswholift #rd2be #registereddietitian
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#fbf No one ever believes me when i say this was me 4 years. I cringe when i see these pictures. 112 lbs gone! I firmly believe nutrition and fitness is my calling. Shit happens for a reason; to learn a lesson or two and to point you in the right direction. From law to registered & licensed dietitian Like they say, “past is prologue.” #peoplemagazinehalftheirsize #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #myfitnesspal #fromobesetosuperfit #bodybuilding #registereddietitian #chickswholift #npcfigurecompetitor #nutrition