Weight Loss Success Story: Ileka’s 110 Pound Weight Loss Transformation
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I was born 10 lbs. I don’t think there was ever a time that I was thin. As a kid, I recall this game my family played called making a “happy plate” which meant eating all of your food on the plate. It felt great to be applauded for making a “happy plate” and so I did it every chance I got. I’m a people pleaser, so satisfied or not, I was determined to make a Happy Plate… I was about 5 when this started and I recall that being when I started to become larger than my cousins and Sister.
NAME : Ileka
BEFORE WEIGHT : 327
AFTER WEIGHT : 217
POUNDS LOST : 110
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
My knees became really bad from the weight. I struggled walking up and down the stairs and could not get on the floor to play with my kids. My husband and I and several friends went to Dominican Republic a few years back. First issue was that I had to get a seat belt extension on the plane, it wasn’t the first time this had happened, but it was the first time it’s happened while my husband who is 180 lbs soak and wet, was there with me when I had to ask for it.
I began to tear up as I asked and he tried to think up something to say to make me feel better. When we got there, everyone wanted to go zip lining and so did I! I was so excited when it was time to purchase the tickets, that’s when I saw a sign saying “weight limit 275” and I weighed 315 at the time. I decided to pretend I was too scared to go and backed out. I forced my husband to go ahead with everyone else and I stayed back with one other friend (who really was scared) and hit the buffet, the last thing I needed to be doing…
I stopped taking full body pics of myself, so most pics over the past 10 years are just of my face or waist up because I’d ask the photographer not to do full body shot.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
I have 4 children, 3 boys and my last child is a girl. When she was born, I looked at her and literally saw me. She is my twin, we have the same face, shape, and personality. I realized that where the boys could look tonmy husband for health, fitness, and what a man should look like, she would look to me. I had to do better and be better so she would have a healthy foundation and example set for her around food and fitness.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
The first thing I did was began tracking my eating in the Lose It app because I wanted to truly see how much I was eating, plus I knew that if I had to document what I was eating then I’d eat less.
This lead to portion control. After a few months, I began a Keto diet to push through a plateau. At the same time, I began hitting the gym with friends. I started with strength training and cardio then eventually found a bootcamp.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
I started seeing results in the first week. I noticed that when I went from eating so poorly and having no real activity to working out a bit and watching my eating, the weight began to come off. I dropped about 5 lbs my first week.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
I’m a wife, and mom of 4 with a career in corporate America (at the time) so finding time to workout was going to be really tough. Working out after work was almost impossible because I’d be too tired and feel guilty that I wasn’t spending that time with my kids. Going during lunch was just too time consuming with showering afterward and trying to get back in time for meetings.
One of my friends suggested early morning workouts. I’m so not a morning person, so I told her it was not going to work for me. Finally, after realizing it was the only time that would work, I went to the gym one day at 5am and never looked back. It worked so well for my families schedule. That said, I still hate waking up that early…
I have arthritis in both knees and platar fasciitis. The doctors told me that I needed to take a few weeks off from working out. I said “so what’s option #2?” I know me and I realized that if I stopped exercising, it would be hard to get back to it. I was able to get a cortisone shot in my foot for the plantar fasciitis and go to therapy and also do a lot of stretching.
I knew my knees would feel better once the weight came off (which has happened), so I fought through the pain and just tried to modify my workouts so I would avoid the knee pain as much as possible.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
I was actually motivated by looking at my daughter and thinking about things like not needing a seatbelt extender on the plane or being able to fit on a roller coaster, being able to zip line!!! I would also watch YouTube stories with before and after pics and say “one day that’ll be me” and NOW IT IS!!!
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I hit my first plateau after losing about 25 lbs. it sucked because I had been consistently dropping the weight. When it happened, a friend told me about a bootcamp she wanted to try and I was like “there’s no way I can do that at 300 lbs”. She had the trainer text me and he convinced me to try a class. I was HOOKED! I had to modify just about every exercise, but I got through that plateau IMMEDIATELY and began dropping weight again.
I realized that what I was doing in the gym was child’s play in comparison to what we did in class and I haven’t looked back. The next time I hit a plateau was after another 25 lbs down. That’s when I heard about the Ketogenic diet and decided to give it a try. I began cutting carbs out of my diet. When I’d make meals for the family, I’d just eat the protein and veggies as opposed to making 2 meals. It became a very easy diet for me to stick to.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
It took me about 14 months to lose 100 lbs. After that, I thought I was cute and got pretty lazy with my diet. Thankfully, I was still going hard with my exercise so I didn’t gain any weight, but I still wasn’t at my goal and knew I had another 50 lbs to go in order to reach my goal. That’s when I started my YouTube channel to keep myself accountable and hopefully motivate others.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
I went to my son’s concert at school and there weren’t enough chairs in the front so some parents sat in the floor in order to get a better view. Normally, I would know that wasn’t an option for me bc once I was down there, I wouldn’t be able to get up. This time, I hopped right on that floor l, sat down and hopped in when the concert was done.
My other major non-scale victory was when I recently went through my closet and purged everything that I could no longer fit. The majority of the clothes in my wardrobe are gone now. I began trying things on just to see how they looked and I was able to fit both my legs into one of my old pant legs!!! I’ve only seen that on TV. I was AMAZED!
Another non-scale victory was when I was doing one of those Facebook quizzes where you ask your kids questions about yourself. One of the questions was “what’s mommy’s favorite thing to do?” His response “well, besides playing with us, it’s EXERCISING!” I nearly started crying. That means the healthy foundation is being set for them.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
I ate very large portions. I’d fill the plate and get seconds and I’d always finish my meal WAY past the point of satisfaction. I would also over indulge when my favorites were available. My favorite foods were pizza (I’d eat 5 slices of a NY style pizza which is 16 or 18 inches). We’d have to order 2 just for my husband and I because I’d eat so much.
My other favorite foods are brownies and chocolate chip cookies. I’d literally make brownies and eat the entire tray in a day. My husband may sneak one piece in. I’d get 5+ scoops of ice cream at a time and would also eat all the cookies that I’d make. Once the kids were old enough to want cookies and brownies, I’d be sure to make enough so that they didn’t get any of mine. Honestly it’s sad just thinking about it
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
My activity was starting workout program about twice a year that I’d stick to for about a week or 2 and then completely stop because I got “too busy” or “hurt my foot” so I couldn’t continue. Basically I was making excuses. Now I’m up at 5am 4-5 days a week doing HIIT workouts at bootcamp. I follow that with 30-45 min of cardio or strength training.
I also attend yoga class or do Pilates a few times a month. I LOVE working out now. I never thought I’d say that. I don’t even mind running. I’m always so shocked when I find myself smiling during a workout, I’m thinking “who is this person?” Then I realize that it’s me. I’m Ileka and I like working outs. Lol
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- I ate the same meal for either lunch or dinner every day. I’d make a ground turkey taco mix at the beginning of the week and put the turkey, avocado, and salsa over spring mix and have that EVERYDAY for lunch or dinner.
- I’m an engineer by degree and very data centric, so I literally weigh myself twice a day (when I wake up & right before bed) to see how the food that I eat affects my weight during the day and throughout the week. This helped me better understand my body and how different foods affected it.
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