Erika Chacon, 31, 5'4", from Rialto, Calif.
Before: 265 lb., size 18/20
After: 157 lb., size 6/8
Total pounds lost: 108 lb.
Total sizes lost: 6/7
Whether I was grazing on junk food all day or bingeing on Hot Pockets and Oreos after hours, my adolescent eating left much to be desired. Playing softball in high school helped keep my weight in check, but the excess calories started catching up to me in college. Once I graduated, my activity level really plummeted, and the pounds began piling on. By September 2015, I was up to 265 pounds. I felt so embarrassed when my then-boyfriend saw the number on the scale. Soon after that, a stranger assumed I was pregnant. I knew I needed to make a change.
Revamping my habits
To start, I researched how to do meal prep. I would buy anything green and clean, putting together healthy combos of lean turkey, brown rice, and seasoned veggies. I also hit the treadmill at the gym. At first, I felt ashamed when I couldn’t jog for longer than a minute and the girl next to me was logging miles. But I reminded myself that I was making this decision for me, no one else. By exercising daily and eating better, I lost about 45 pounds in three months. Then I hit a roadblock: The number on the scale wouldn’t budge. Panicked, I decided to overhaul my routine.
I started counting calories and using a food scale to keep an eye on my portions. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t eating more than I was burning. I also upped my strength training, integrating squats, lunges, and the occasional TRX class into my routine. The result: a tighter and 60-pounds-lighter frame in six months. These days I’m 157 pounds and still working out six days a week. Even better, now I’m the girl on the treadmill racking up the miles—at a seven-minute-mile pace!
RELATED: 57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science
Secrets to a shape-up win
1. Post positivity. I constantly post transformation photos, thoughts of encouragement, and recipes on my Instagram account @icandoallthings_journey to help my 10,000-plus followers realize they can reclaim their health like I did.
2. Snack smarter. I used to top potato chips or pork rinds with lime juice and chili powder. Now I use carrot sticks. The longer the lime juice sits, the better it tastes! And it’s so refreshing.
3. Tap technology. I’m obsessed with my Apple watch! Not only does it continually nudge me to stay active, it also keeps me competitive. I try to fill every one of its progress rings daily.
4. Get outdoors. I’m a California girl, so I love swimming, hiking, and body boarding. They’re all insane workouts, but I forget I’m exercising when I’m by the ocean; it’s my sneaky way of moving.
Erika is wearing: Graced By Grit Kate tank ($46; gracedbygrit.com); Graced By Grit Chelsea leggings ($118; gracedbygrit.com), and Graced By Grit Gritty Titty bra ($52; gracedbygrit.com).
As told to Anthea Levi