#MOFit Campaign: Vanessa’s Story

1 It is not uncommon to hear people talking about how they want to eliminate unhealthy habits from their life. At the start of each new year, we hear people resolve to cut out junk food, go to the gym more, or lose a few pounds. However, for many, these healthy lifestyle changes can be a daunting challenge.

Vanessa Femia, a law clerk at McLeish Orlando, has demonstrated that with persistence and will you can adapt your lifestyle to include health, fitness and well-being, and that losing weight (and keeping it off) is in fact a feasible goal.

Throughout the past year, Vanessa has changed her life and incorporated healthy eating and exercise into her daily routine, which has proved to have amazing results.

This is Vanessa’s story:

Why did you decide to make a change in your lifestyle?

I have been trying to lose weight for a long time as I have been overweight since I was young. However, in March 2014, I finally got fed up with being unhealthy. I wanted to feel better, have more energy and be able to confidently enjoy living life. I made health my priority, and dedicated myself to losing weight. I decided it was time to change.

What changes have you made?

In March 2014, I weighed over 340lbs, with my heaviest weight around 400lbs. Since then, I have lost over 140 inches (that’s over 11 feet and almost double my height!) and over 200lbs.

What did your weight loss process involve?

My entire lifestyle changed when I decided to lose weight. Health quickly became the most important thing in my life; I prioritized healthy eating over eating out at restaurants, drinking pop, and eating junk food. For the first 4 months, my diet was completely clean. I ate only lean protein and vegetables, and could not even have fruit because of the high sugar content.

I started doing cardio five times a week for 30-60 minutes, and working out with a personal trainer 3-4 times a week really helped the process. It was a challenge that was both mental and physical, and although it was tough it has ended up being worth every moment of hard work.

How did you stay motivated?2

Staying motivated hasn’t been easy, but with the help of my friends, family, co-workers, staff and members at the gym and my personal trainer, I have been able to stay on track. Everyone has been fantastic in pushing me to reach my goals, which serves as motivation to continue working toward a healthy lifestyle. I am extremely lucky that when it gets hard there is always someone who is there to remind me why I started, and that eating that donut really isn’t worth it!

The nature of my job, working at a personal injury law firm,  has also helped to motivate me on this journey. The clients that I work with demonstrate an amazing amount of perseverance and determination, despite the hardships and challenges that come with being seriously injured.

Our clients are inspiring; their willpower makes me think twice about giving up when times are tough. I have also seen first-hand the beneficial effects of proper nutrition and physical activity on the recovery of those with brain and spinal cord injuries. Taking care of your body is the best thing you can do to promote overall health and well-being, and it is something that I have attempted to incorporate into every aspect of my life.

What would you say are the keys to your success?

If you want to see significant and long-lasting results, you need to find out what works for you. Healthy living is not just about a diet; it involves changing your whole life. As a result, weight loss programs are different for everyone. You have to adapt healthy eating and exercise to your own life in order to be successful. For example, try different workouts to see what you enjoy or experiment with which fruits and vegetables are your favourite.

Also, understand that weight loss takes time. Resist comparing yourself to others and being discouraged if you do not see the same results, because if you stick with it, they will come. Finally, make sure you are changing your life for you. The only way to be successful in losing weight is if you truly want to change.

Alexis Perlman


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