After Losing Half Her Weight, Lessie Shares Her Story

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Have you seen the latest "Half Their Size" issue of People magazine? You might have recognized Lessie Alvarado. Known as FlabbyAsian on SparkPeople, Lessie lives in Grand Prairie, Texas, with her husband, Daniel, and her three children, Michael, 21; Leann (her workout buddy), 20; and Christina, 14; and her grandson, 4-year-old Michael, Jr.

Before she lost weight, Lessie routinely binged on fast food, hitting buffets with her sister-in-law and then coming home to eat with her husband. At a petite 5'3", Lessie topped out at 302 pounds. Now, the 41-year-old is a healthy and fit 145 pounds, only 10 pounds from her goal weight.
She talked with the dailySpark about her weight loss, her motivation and her exercise plan.

Q: How long did it take you to lose the weight?

A: "It took me about 2 1/2 years.
"I was up and down. I had a new job, I was working nights and I felt like I was eating 24/7. Next thing I knew, I'd gained 40 pounds. I couldn't get used to the nights, the schedule. I kept trying to get sleep, I was not getting enough sleep, and I was just walking and exercising at home."

Q: What is your biggest temptation food now?
A: "I try to stay close to what I need to be. There are times I'm going to slip up and have pizza or cake. If you deprive yourself, you're always going to want to cheat. You're going to cheat every day.
"I needed to lose weight, and you have to be on a strict diet to lose that much weight. I wanted candy so bad, I'd pick up a handful of candy, smell it and put it back in the bowl. Now, I know portion control. I eat that one Hershey kiss and I'm fine.
"[Losing weight] is a lifetime commitment, something you have to do forever."

Q: What have you learned since joining SparkPeople?

A: "I had 20 pounds to lose and was in a rut. I couldn't get past it. He told me 'Make sure you're eating enough.' On another website, I was trying to figure out how many calories I needed. I saw an ad that said 'Get a free nutrition plan' and found SparkPeople. I wasn't eating enough calories. I wasn't getting enough of what I needed--carbs, protein and fat.
"I quickly lost 10 pounds!"

Q: What do you like most about SparkPeople?

A: "Everything. I tell everyone about it! My sister, my daughter, my sister-in-law, my friends… It gives you a plan, helps you with your fitness, and the teams you can join--it's just so much support! You talk to people, start making friends, talk back and forth and give each other advice. They say, 'Oh, don't worry about it. Eat that if you need to and then get on the bandwagon.' You have so many people that support you.
"[If you're obese], people do judge you. If have people who are in the same situation you are, you just feel more comfortable."

Q: What's your exercise schedule?

A: "Almost every day, I do turbo kickboxing plus yoga.
"Before I went to the gym with my daughter. We were doing the elliptical, the treadmill, light weights, that was kind of boring, but if you go with someone, it's fun.
"One day, we were on the treadmill and we saw people gathering in the gym. I asked my daughter, 'Why are they lining up?'
"We went and got in line, then found out about turbo kickboxing.
"We didn't know what we were doing. We stood in the very back. We were all off beat, and we didn’t know what to do so we stood in back. We got the schedule and started going every day.
"Soon we knew what we were doing. We moved up one row at a time. Next thing you knew, we were in the very front.
"We were the experts. We were doing it once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, once on Wednesday, twice on Thursday, and once on Saturday."

Q: What is a typical day like for you, in terms of food? I saw the before and after breakfast photos in People, but tell me some of your favorite foods now. How did you change your eating habits?

A: "I try to eat 6 small meals a day. I eat when I get up, but what I eat depends on my workout. Often, it's two multigrain Eggo waffles with cantaloupe. I drink water with everything. Three to four hours later, I eat more fruit. My meal when I'm working is a light frozen dinner or turkey on whole wheat with lettuce. I love yogurt. I get the smaller yogurt--I call them baby size yogurts. I'm not a big meat eater, so I substitute a protein drink that I get on the Internet."

Q: What was it like being interviewed by People? Tell me about the makeover!

A: "It was amazing. I was dancing around the whole house [when I found out]. It was wonderful, an experience that makes you feel like a celebrity or like a supermodel.
"They pamper you, they take you here and there, they all treated me like a celebrity.
"Even at work, they're asking me questions about People. They say, 'Here, supermodel, here, superstar.' They were really happy for me, really excited. They asked me, 'Will you just autograph [the magazine], just in case?' It was amazing.
"It was really different for me. When I was heavy, I didn't get a lot of attention. It is different. [Once I started losing weight], people were complimenting me, and it was hard. I never had someone say, 'You look so pretty.' "

Q: What advice do you have for someone who needs to lose a significant amount of weight?

A: "I would tell to them to take it one day at a time. Don’t rush through it. If you fall off the bandwagon, get up and start all over again. Don't stress over it.
"Do it for yourself. You can listen to your family, your friends; you can say it's for your health or for your family. But until you decide, until you say 'This is what I want to do,' it's not worth it.
"You have to be ready to say, 'Today is my day.'"

Q: Did you ever want to give up and revert to your old eating habits?
A: "Of course. It's hard to lose weight. It's not easy. I tell [other people] it's very hard. It's easy to gain weight. It's hard to lose weight, but it's up to you. Once you decide, just take it one day at a time."

Read more about her People story at the SparkGuy blog. You can also leave her a message on her SparkPage.

Did Lessie's story inspire you?

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WOW.... Loved it.... Thanks for inspiring us all..... Report
How could it not inspire me?? Thanks for sharing her story! These successes always inspire me and encourage me to keep trying! Report
Congratulations Report
Way to go and thanks for sharing!! Report
Wow! Great Job. Thanks for sharing your story. Spark On! Report
You make a lot of valid points. You really do have to lose weight for you in order to be successful. Thank you for the inspiration. Report
Way to go! Report
awesome,you should be proud Report
Of Course the weight loss is motivation to keep it off. Thanks for the inspiration. B Report
I hope u r keeping it off. Report
Very inspiring Thank you Report
Hate to say it, purplekitty, but it works for some people. I keep a bag of Dove dark chocolates on my desk. I have one every couple of days. Works just fine for me, and I can be quite the choco-holic! Report
I like reading stories where people lose a lot of weight; however, I really hate it when they just say what they think you want to hear - like "Now, I know portion control. I eat that one Hershey kiss and I'm fine." BULL. One tiny chocolate is not going to satisfy anyone. I've been there, done that, and still have trouble staying on my lifetime diet.
Your story made my day dear.

God Bless


Sonea Mudgal Report
You are right about being ready i found that out after 5 years of yo-yoing and i was ready and it has actually been easy. I found things i like to eat, I grill all my veggies on the forman grill as well as my chicken etc... thank you this was very inspiring and it makes me want to keep going i have lost 18.5 pounds so far in the past 3.5 weeks and hope to continue on my journey!! thanks again for sharing!! Report
Thank you so much for giving motivation! Your story is something that I needed to read today! :) Report
That's so great! I hope to follow in your footsteps... Report
Congrats on the weight loss and on the article in People!! You are an inspiration Report
That's awesome! So exciting Report
Yes I was definitely inspired........CONGRATULATIONS on your success Lessie! Report
congrats!! i have 30-40lbs to lose, and seeing that it actually works for people is the most inspiring part of spark people, if it works for you then it can work for me! (i'm already 8lbs down!)
Thank you for sharing Report
Very happy for you. You are speaking my language! Report
Way to Go on being so successful. You're an inspiration. Keep going. Report
Reading your blog made a difference in my day. Many blessings to you and your family, thank you for sharing. Report
What an inspiration!!! You are amazing. Love your story!!! Report
Good going and congrats! We all have a story! Keep up the good work! Report
Congrats!!! Your story is so inspirational. Thanks for sharing. Report
I am so proud of you. I only hope I can do as well as you have. You are an inspiration to me. Report
Wow!!! Congrats!!! Report
You are an inspiration to all, congratulations on how far you have come. I am relatively new to Spark people and in just six weeks or so I a have seen great results. Even just two pounds a week is amazing to me. Knowing this summer I will be below 200 lbs is motivation plenty. Report
Great job! Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to know what to expect when you hear the story of someone who's been there before. Report
Another great story Report
You look super! Way to Go! Report
Love your ideas about exercise. Boredom is my downfall, too. I'm doing line dancing now, but will look for kickboxing, too! Congrats on your success. You are an inspiration! Report
You look incredible! I am so proud of you and I don't even know you.
Erin Report
You look wonderful. Report
Thank you for sharing, you are truly and inspiration and a motivator. I am going to give it my all but like you said I will take it day by day. Report
Thanks for the inspiration. Report
Wow! Report
What a great accomplishment. Maybe I can do it! Thanks for sharing with us. Report
Wow. This was helpful and inspirational. Report
Congratulations Lessie! I will save your inspiring article for those days when the scale wont budge. I'm only 5'2" myself and have lost 13 pounds with 36 yet to go and you are right... its hard but thanks to people sharing their success stories like you did, I know I will reach my goal too. Report
This is a really great story. A nice reminder of what a person can do with inner motivation and encouragement. Congrats!
Lessie,thanks for sharing this story. You're an inspiration. I'm your height too...I'm at 142.41 at the moment...Not really sure about my goal weight ...I will keep going for now, and stop when I feel and look good ^_^ Report
I CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!! Wooooo I'm Inspired! Report
You are proof it can be done. Report
Hard work and dedication! Congrats on having all it takes to get it done!! AWESOME story!! Report
Thanks for the inspiration!!!!! Report
Thanks for sharing your story, it helps us to know we can do it, just by trying Report