Name: Stephanie Althea
Location: Ontario, Canada
Weight Before: 215 lbs
Dress Size Before: 18-20
Weight After: 135 lbs
Dress Size After: 4
Why I Got Started
I was extremely obese as a teenager. At 15-years old, I weighed 215 pounds. I was teased a lot at school, and ended up dropping out, spending my days watching television, shoving food in my mouth the entire time. I would literally sit on the couch for 9 hours at a time, eating entire packages of cookies and 10-packs of pudding cups.
I would watch old "from geek to chic" episodes of Jenny Jones and Ricky Lake, and I would cry, wishing desperately that I could grow up to be one of those beautiful girls. I wanted men to pay attention to me, I wanted to wear pretty clothes, and I wanted to be happy and popular.
I come from a family of obese women; most of the ladies in my family are over 300-400 pounds, so my mother would try to console me, saying I was going to grow up to be beautiful, but that our family's genetics would never allow me to be skinny, and I'd have to accept that. I sunk lower into depression, fueling that all-too-common binge cycle.
Eventually I realized I could not possibly live the rest of my life like this. My stomach hurt from the volume of food I was consuming, I couldn't climb a flight of stairs without getting dizzy, and at 15-years old, I was having heart palpitations! The idea of living this life for 80 more years was unacceptable, and I had to do something about it. This was my life, and I was going to live it on my terms!
How I Did It
I didn't know what to do, so I did what felt natural: I cut out junk food (I was eating Wendy's twice a day at that point), dropping 20 pounds almost immediately. I added just 10 minutes of walking a day, and another 20 pounds melted off! I increased the duration and speed of my walks, and walking turned into speed walking, which turned into jogging and within two years, running.
The proudest day of my life was when a boy from high school, who once told me I had "more rolls than a bakery" not knowing who I was, asked me for my phone number!
I lost the rest of the weight through long-distance running. I couldn't describe the euphoria of being physically able to run; I felt so free and light. I ran my whole first half-marathon with a grin on my face. My body looked great, and I was skinny, but I was still jiggly. One afternoon, I was watching TV, and saw a documentary on teenage bodybuilders, and I was entranced.
What an interesting culture this was! I liked the discipline of it all. I hopped online to learn more, and stumbled across Bodybuilding.com.
Talk about a life changing moment! Over the next few months, I immersed myself in every article I could find. I started to build my own home-gym, slowly adding equipment such as a treadmill, free weights, and a stationary bike.
I also copied the exercises on bb.com, marveling at the muscles just popping out on me all of a sudden! My energy increased, and I found renewed passion for fitness and life - next thing I know, I'm on stage in a bikini contest, in front of hundreds of strangers! (I definitely never saw that one coming!)
What Supplements I Took
Click Image To Enlarge.
Stephanie Is Now A Sponsored Athlete Of 4Ever Fit!
Sample Week Of My Diet
Weight loss in the first few years was slow, because I had no idea about the impact of food! I started out just cutting out junk food, and within the first two years, slowly evolved into eating clean foods - lots of fresh fruits and vegetables!
I didn't learn about the benefits of protein until I discovered Bodybuilding.com; the nutrition section was the best thing to ever happen to me. Turns out it's not genetics that makes my family obese, it's simply lack of education - I honestly didn't know what a carbohydrate was; I knew "protein" referred to meat.
By implementing the information I gained on bb.com, I really saw results FAST - I leaned out, and the jigglies went away! I wasn't a saggy bag of cardio bones anymore!! I really urge you all to read as much as you can!
I'm a creature of habit, so my diet is fairly similar, day-to-day. Sunday's are my "rest day", and I like to indulge in either bigger helpings of my favorite foods, or a little treat (usually chocolate!)Monday-Friday: (off-season)
- A cup of coffee with a scoop of Optimum 100% Whey
- 1 scoop of Optimum 100% Whey
- 1 Royal Gala apple (my favorite food in the world!)
- 1/3 cup oats OR 2 slices of whole wheat toast with low-fat natural peanut butter.
- 10 baby carrots, or a cup of grapes
- A protein source (tofu, soy, whey, occasionally chicken, though I'm mostly vegan)
- A protein bar, or whey shake
- A Royal Gala apple
- Medium salad
- 1/2 brick of firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons of 100% pure soy protein, mixed with water, and a tablespoon of honey for flavor!
Sample Week Of Training
I weight train 30-45 minutes, 5 days per week. Cardio is 6 days per week, and varies between 35-60 minutes. I like to train my abs while I'm weight training, in between sets, as it keeps my heart rate up, and cuts time!
- Monday: Biceps/Shoulders, Cardio
- Tuesday: Triceps/Chest/Back, Cardio
- Wednesday: Cardio only
- Thursday: Biceps/Shoulders, Cardio
- Friday: Triceps/Chest/Back, Cardio
- Saturday: Cardio, Legs
- Sunday: REST DAY
Suggestions For Others
If you only take two things away from my story, let them be this:
Research until your eyes glaze over! Knowledge is your most powerful tool; you do not need to buy into the hype diet-of-the-day, and as-seen-on-tv products if you know how your body works and why your body works the way it does! Plus, you can gross people out with all the wonderful poop facts you'll find.
Eat 5-6 small meals per day. In fact, forget the word "meal," just graze on (healthy!) foods all day long. I know a lot of you will swear that eating less food will make you skinny, but if you take into account my number one piece of advice (research!) you'll find out that your body is like a wood stove; you have to keep a log on the fire all day long to keep it alive.
It's okay to be a little wary; I was too! But then, I tried it, and the weight came off so quickly, I was an instant believer!