My name is Ali Kay (@alexandrawille) and I'm 31 years old. I live in Florida and am the owner and founder of Lakeland Staging, as well as a wife and mother to two boys. I'm currently studying to become a certified health coach. By making it a priority to use the Peloton and work out for at least 30 minutes a day, and trying a version of intermittent fasting that works for me, I've lost over 70 pounds.
I began having personal issues with weight during my second pregnancy. I gained roughly 70 pounds over those nine months, and weighed 200 pounds before I gave birth.
After having my son, I found I was still steadily gaining weight rather than losing it since I was living a pregnancy lifestyle even after I was no longer pregnant. It got to the point where my maternity clothes were becoming too small to fit me (and they had fit during pregnancy) and I had to start purchasing larger clothes.
When I looked into the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. I kept telling myself that I just had a baby and I needed to be kind to my body, but the truth was I kept using the birth as an excuse to avoid making a lifestyle change and becoming a healthier version of myself.
I was becoming complacent with my new lifestyle and more and more unhappy in the process. I began holding myself back from doing things with my husband and kids like going to the community pool because I didn’t feel good about how I looked. Overall, I was very unhappy and discouraged.
My turning point came when I realized I was missing out on life with my family.
When I realized that I was missing out on life and making memories with my family because of how I felt about myself, I knew something had to change. I wasn’t allowing myself to be happy in the moment. That's also when I understood that I needed to make a change that had to do with more than just weight loss.
I really wanted to make a change to become the best version of myself not only for me, but also for the people who relied on me, like my kids and family. My goal was never a specific or unrealistic number on the scale. I just wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted to feel strong both physically and mentally.
I also wanted to appreciate myself at every stage of this journey. I really adapted a new mentality and a new positive self-talk. I kept telling myself that I could do it.
I started getting into fitness simply by working out for 30 minutes every day.
The first step in my wellness journey was to start moving my body. In the past, I think I always set myself up for failure because I tried to set this big, unrealistic goal for myself when it came to exercise. I didn’t want to feel discouraged with the big goal or tell myself I had only [X amount] of time to lose [X amount] of weight. My small goal, this time, was to just be consistent with 30 minutes of movement each day.
My 30 minutes started off as walking and pushing my baby in the stroller outside. I also purchased the Peloton bike, which was life-changing for me, because I would do rides with Robin Arzón at 11 p.m. once my kids went to sleep. Some days, I would just dance for 30 minutes or do weightlifting workouts from YouTube videos.
I constantly switched up my workouts and never once followed a specific workout plan. I just became very consistent with those 30 minutes of daily workouts and movement.
When it comes to food, I relied on a lot of trial and error.
It took a while to find out what worked best for me and what was sustainable for my lifestyle. For me, it’s all about finding balance in my life and not depriving myself. In the beginning, I made small, steady changes to what I ate during the day.
I started making it a point to eat smaller portions, and one of the biggest changes I made was to stop eating after 7 p.m. at night. I became more intentional with eating and really paid attention to whether I was actually hungry, as opposed to just eating out of boredom.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: Post-workout, I drink a smoothie with two scoops of plant-based protein powder, a cup of unsweetened coconut milk, 1 tablespoon almond butter, half of a banana, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and dash of cinnamon. (It tastes like dessert!)
- Snack: Ezekiel bread with 1/3 avocado and Everything But The Bagel seasoning, egg whites, almonds, veggies and hummus, or Keto Krisps.
- Lunch: Spinach salad with protein or spinach wrap.
- Dinner: Some of my favorite meals are salmon with veggies and sweet potatoes, gluten-free pasta, or ground turkey tacos with grain-free taco shells.
- Dessert:- Halo Top ice cream is my favorite!
After losing 70 pounds, exercise has become my mental outlet.
Not only did exercise make a difference in my physical body and jumpstart my weight loss, it had such a positive effect on my mood, patience, and anxiety. I think a lot of times people can perceive exercise as punishment for their body, or they dread doing it because it feels like a chore, but I think early on I started perceiving those 30 minutes of working out as the medicine I needed to be functional and resilient in my everyday life.
There are days when I find myself not making those 30 minutes a priority because I get busy or I didn’t plan my day correctly. Those are the days I find myself getting in a “slump," feeling down and unmotivated. I’ve learned that I have to make those 30 minutes a priority. Thirty minutes a day is completely doable, even for the busiest person in the world. You have to make it a priority.
Now, I love sharing my fitness journey with my followers on Instagram and TikTok.
I wanted to openly share my entire wellness journey on social media. I shared with raw progress photos, I talked about feeling discouraged, I shared my moments of celebration, and I relied on my social media community for accountability and support throughout my entire journey. I really felt like sharing would help at least one person. If I can do this, then anyone can do it. Change is possible with the right mindset and the willingness to put in the work.