Brea Dapra's transformation timeline didn't go as planned. She tried and failed several times, but eventually succeeded.
With her first efforts, she had been going to the gym, but healthy food wasn't cheap, so she let her nutrition game suffer.
"I was going about it all wrong, not eating enough," she says. "The hard work I put in at the gym got me nowhere."
Starved, Dapra's body had gone into survival mode, storing all the fat it could instead of letting her shed it.
She was disappointed and upset, but after several failed attempts to transform herself, she finally committed to focusing as much on her nutrition as she had been on her workouts, and dropped her first 12 pounds in less than a month.
A year later, she was 106 pounds lighter.
"I can't remember ever being as healthy as I am now," Dapra says. "I have muscles where I did not even know muscles existed. I could not be happier with my lifestyle change, and I will never go back."
This is her story.
Snapshot: Brea Dapra
- Height: 5' 6"
- Weight: 133 lbs.
- Occupation: RN, BSN, Care Manager
- Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Contest Highlights: 2018 OCB Bikini Novice B Class, 1st place
- Social Links: BodySpace, Instagram
Why did you decide to make this transformation?
I wanted to be able to enjoy spending time running and playing with my children, and I wanted to be a positive role model for them. Teaching exercise and moderation to kids when I weighed 256 pounds felt hypocritical. Not only did I want to help my children understand what it took to be healthy, but as a registered nurse, I also wanted to be an example for my obese, diabetic, and hypertensive patients.
How did you accomplish your goals?
One day at a time. I prepped food and got up extra early to work out so that I couldn't use the excuse of running out of time in the day. I made myself accountable if I ate poorly or didn't exercise by forcing myself to work harder the next day—no excuses. Did I ever feel like quitting? Oh, heck yes! But I never gave up because I had been down that road too many times in the past. I finally realized that I could have bad days (we are all human) but that doesn't mean I had to quit everything that I worked for up to that point. The little goals added up in the end.
Also, knowing that others were cheering me on, sending me messages that I was inspiring them to want to be better versions of themselves—that was truly uplifting! When I hit my goal weight, I rewarded myself with a breast reduction surgery and loose skin removal. I now see my scars as my battle wounds, reminding me that I fought to get healthy. I earned those scars. Strong is the new skinny!
Which supplements helped you through your journey?
Which diet plan did you follow to meet your goals?
I followed a variety of diet plans at first, and some were not useful. This is what a day of eating typically looked like after I'd found the right plan for my body:
What training regimen kept you on track?
I followed a variety of programs at first, but now I alternate days between weights and cardio.
Here's what a typical week looks like:
What aspect challenged you the most?
I wasn't always sure of what I was doing. Sometimes I didn't know if I was eating the way I should for my body to burn fat efficiently, while still allowing me to make healthy muscle gains. Having three kids also placed limits on my budget, so I couldn't afford a trainer or personal coach. But I wanted it badly enough that I continued to push on and work hard. I ate extremely clean and took weekly progress pictures to see what needed attention the most. It was a learning experience, and I continue to learn more every day.
What are your future fitness plans?
In August 2017, I hit my bodyweight goal and, in April 2018, I competed at the bikini level in an OCB competition for the first time! My next goal is to enter the OCB Steel City show in Pittsburgh in November of this year, as a figure competitor. I'll know by September if I'm ready for the figure category. If not, I plan to enter back into the bikini class and go for my pro card, then keep pushing myself until I reach figure competition level.
Any suggestions for aspiring transformers?
Remember that transformation takes dedication, patience, and hard work, and it doesn't happen overnight. What works for one person does not work for all, so find what works for you and then stick to it. If you set small, attainable goals and crush them one by one, you will feel accomplished rather than defeated. Also, a transformation is not a diet but a lifestyle. You choose to change, and one bad decision shouldn't make you quit. Pick yourself back up and come at your goal harder the next day. Finally, always believe in yourself!
How did Bodybuilding.com help you to reach your goals?
Bodybuilding.com's transformation challenge allowed me to push myself further and harder than I imagined I could, which in turn showed me the results I longed for. With that confidence, I entered the Transformation Challenge with the OCB, as well as a bikini contest in April. I not only stepped onstage in the best shape of my life, but this former fat girl walked away with a first-place finish!
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