A year and two months ago, I embarked on a life-changing weight loss and body transformation journey. I hadn’t been happy with my weight for the last three years. One day, when I jumped on the scale and saw 161 lbs, I knew it was time for a change.
Prior to this, I was slim, usually weighing between 120-130 lbs. Gradually, over the years, the pounds crept up on me. At 161 lbs I was the heaviest I have ever been.
I am 33 years old and 5’2” tall with a medium frame, so at 161 lbs, my BMI was 29.4. That’s when it hit me, because per CDC BMI guidelines, I was on the border of being considered obese. I was wearing a size 10-12 in pants and a large or extra large size in tops. The idea of dropping my weight back into the 120’s range seemed like a distant dream. Also, it was difficult to accept the fact that I am a Registered Dietitian, and yet I was struggling to lose weight. I immediately realized I needed to try something to lose weight.
My goal was to lose 36 lbs to attain a weight of 125 lbs. This was a weight I remember weighing in my late teens and mid 20’s. I remembered how confident I felt when I was that lean. It was also a healthy weight for my medium body frame and height.
Discovering the Almased Diet
I saw Almased advertisements in Today’s Dietitian magazine. I went on Almased’s website and researched the product. Thoroughly reading everything about the Almased product, I studied the ingredients, composition, and the theory behind how it works. I also read product reviews on Amazon. Even so, I was skeptical, but I decided to give it a shot. I believed that Almased could help me get to my target goal faster, but I also knew I was going to have to work hard and change my lifestyle to lose the weight and keep it off.
I started the full Almased Weight Loss Program on January 5, 2015. I went out to GNC and bought two containers of Almased. Then at the grocery story, I bought vanilla almond milk, coconut oil, organic low sodium vegetable broth, and low sodium V8 juices to start Phase 1 of the challenge. I was thrilled I could still have my black coffee in the morning.
On Phase 1, I drank 3 Almased shakes a day at regular mealtimes and drank plenty of fluids throughout the day. I prepared my shakes this way:
12 ounces of almond milk
6 tablespoons of Almased protein powder
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of pure cocoa powder or ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin spice
As I progressed through the different phases, I got creative with recipes and even whipped up almond milk Almased lattes. I stayed on Phase 1 for a total of 5 days and lost 4.2 lbs!
After five days, my body was ready for food, so I started Phase 2. I drank Almased twice daily and had one regular meal. My meals consisted mostly of lean proteins, whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, fresh fruit, light Greek yogurt, and moderate amounts of heart-healthy fats. I transitioned my body from getting full from fat and refined carbohydrates to getting full from protein and fiber. The Almased weight loss program made me aware that I lacked enough protein at some meals, particularly at breakfast, and I was eating too much fat. Furthermore, my carbohydrate choices were not always the best either before starting the program.
I stayed on Phase 2 for about six weeks. On February 23, 2015, I was down a total of 13 lbs, weighing 148 lbs. After six weeks, I felt like my body was ready to eat two meals a day, so I transitioned to phase 3.
On Phase 3, I ate two regular meals and replaced one with an Almased shake. I felt lighter than I have in a long time, so I decided to take on running. In the beginning, my legs and my feet would feel sore, but I kept on going. I worked my way up to running 3-4 miles per day 4-5 days per week. Once I got into the groove of being physically activity on a regular basis, I started on a 12-week circuit training workout program. The program helped give my body definition while Almased helped me with my diet. I stayed on Phase 3 until late June/early July, so about four months. Being on a consistent diet wasn’t easy and came with some challenges.
One major challenge I faced was sticking to my diet while on a business trip to Carmel, California. I packed my Almased powder and a small blender. On the trip, I would have my Almased shake for breakfast daily, a light lunch meal, and splurged a little at my dinner meal throughout the trip. Since I developed the good habit of meal planning, prepping, and packing from phase 2, I was able to stay away from the potlucks at luncheons. Instead, I would have a packed lunch.
My mind was set on achieving my goal, so I stuck to my plan for the most part. Sometimes, I satisfied my food pleasures by splurging here and there, but afterward, I would get right back on track with my Almased plan and regular exercise.
Another challenge I faced was plateauing. Sometimes I wouldn’t drop a single pound in 2-3 weeks, and then suddenly, I would see a 2-3 pound drop all at once. Everyone’s weight loss pattern can be different. This was mine, and I learned it was important not to get discouraged when I didn’t lose in 2-3 weeks because as I kept going, my weight gradually came off.
On June 27, 2015, I stepped on the scale, and I saw 129.6 lbs. I was ecstatic! I haven’t seen 120’s on the scale since my late teens/mid 20’s. It was amazing! At that point, I felt confident that I had all the skills I needed to lose the last 5 lbs on my own. So I weaned off of Almased and began eating three regular daily meals again.
I was very strategic when I was on a regular diet again. This is the part where my inner Dietitian kicked in. I planned several delicious and filling breakfast meals with calorie and protein content similar to the Almased shakes. I stayed on my high fiber, high protein, good quality carbohydrate diet, which thanks to Almased, this style of eating had grown on me. I continued with my circuit training workouts and once in a while would have Almased as a breakfast shake. Healthier eating and regular exercise were now a part of me. I changed my lifestyle, and I looked and felt great!
My Final Results
On August 18, 2015, I stepped on the scale, and I saw 125.2 lbs! I was beyond excited to see that I had hit my target goal. I lost 36 lbs in 7.5 months! I went from a size 10-12 to a size 2 in jeans. I went from wearing a size L-XL in tops to wearing a size XS-S in tops. I lost weight and more than 12.5% body fat while preserving my lean body mass. Two months later, I had lab work done to ensure I had no nutritional deficiencies, and I was proud when I found out I had none.
Time to celebrate!
To celebrate, I bought a completely new wardrobe. I remember my first shopping trips were exciting yet a little tough. It took some adjustment to learn to see myself in my new sizes. I would still see medium and large size tops and felt those were my size. I was excited to see that I could now wear fitted clothing and feel great in it. I developed a new dressing style. I felt like I was looking for the new me among all the clothing options. I have now adapted to my new sizes, my new dressing style, and I now enjoy shopping very much.
Keeping the weight off
It has been six months since I finished the Almased Weight Loss Program, and I have kept the weight off! I am happy that I learned to achieve a healthy balance with eating and physical activity. I now exercise regularly. I eat healthy and balanced meals about 90% of the time. I love to cook and explore different foods, so the other 10% of the time, I am a total foodie and pretty much eat anything without guilt. I have found that if you eat healthy on most days of the year and keep active most of the year, then you can maintain a healthy weight and enjoy good health.
Lessons I’ve Learned
Everything in life needs a balance. So days, when I don’t eat so healthy and can't squeeze a workout in, are not such a big deal anymore, because I have learned how to get right back on track.
Getting back on track is no longer a struggle for me because I love my new healthy lifestyle. I feel lighter and more energized when I exercise and eat healthily. Now my body doesn’t allow me to splurge or be sedentary for too many days in a row. I start to feel tired and heavy. That tired and heavy used to be normal for me, and I do not want to go back to that normal ever.
This weight loss journey taught me valuable lessons:
- I learned that when you want something badly enough, you find a way, not an excuse.
- I learned never to give up on myself, my hopes, or my dreams.
- I learned to believe in myself and always stay positive. I realized that all the dedication, the discipline, the anger, the tears, and the determination paid off. After three years of living at a weight I did not feel comfortable or healthy in, I decided I was done making excuses and giving up on myself. I was ready to succeed!
- I learned that hard work, dedication, and putting love and passion into anything we do will always pay off someday in some way. When we awaken and see the fruits of our work, we can sit back and smile because we finally understand that it was all worth it.
Today, I wear a big smile. I am a renewed woman inside and out. I feel leaner, fit, and more confident. The most beautiful and rewarding thing is that I can now share my story and inspire others.
Isela Garcia is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator from San Antonio, Texas. She works as a health educator for Methodist Healthcare Ministries. She is an expert in diabetes education and has a passion for helping patients achieve good diabetes control and healthier lifestyles. Isela enjoys circuit training workouts, running, dancing, singing, reading, cooking, and baking. Isela used Almased along with regular exercise and lost 36 pounds and more than 12.5% body fat in 7.5 months.