Ashley Javar, 38, 5'4", from Las Vegas
Before: 287 lb., size 22/24
After: 150 lb., size 8
Total pounds lost: 137 lb.
Total sizes lost: 7/8
From an early age, I always turned to food for comfort. Every day I would binge on one or two massive, mostly fried meals. Fast-forward to 2013; I was 24 and a mom, but otherwise not much had changed. I was still overweight. It hurt my knees to walk up the stairs of my house, I was often fatigued, and I could barely play with my daughter. Then I threw my back out while tidying up at home. When I got to the hospital, it took multiple nurses just to help me into an extra-large wheelchair. I was so ashamed.
Banishing bad habits
Once I recovered and was back at home, I stepped on the scale. I was stunned to see that I weighed 287 pounds! That’s when I decided to revamp my diet. I began prepping three meals and two snacks daily, filling my plate with lean protein—like skinless chicken breasts—along with salad greens and quinoa. I also ditched all fried foods and soda (I had been drinking four cans a day for years and years). With these simple tweaks, I easily dropped about nine pounds a month. The steady loss made me feel so accomplished. By January 2015, I had settled into my new happy weight of 150 pounds.
Family time, transformed
My goal now is to get even stronger. I do a lot of strength training, along with the occasional Zumba class. But my favorite way to be active is with my now 6-year-old daughter. Before, I could hardly walk around our cul-de-sac with her. Now my husband and I walk the mile to and from the local park with her, or we bike to my cousin’s house to swim in her pool. As my daughter gets older (and even more energetic!), I’m reminded of why I got healthy in the first place: I couldn’t bear to miss out on her childhood. And now I know I won’t.
Ashley's 3 ways to keep the weight off
1. Melt fat with tea. I started drinking green tea because it curbed my caffeine cravings, but I stuck with it when I learned about all its antioxidants and metabolism-boosting perks.
2. Shop and step. Shopping has always been my favorite pastime, so when I started getting active, walking around the mall became my main form of exercise. I’d even wear a heart monitor to help ensure I burned a couple of hundred calories while I perused the stores.
3. Healthy-up faves. I love re-creating the foods I crave—with a healthy twist. Instead of fries, I toss red potatoes with olive oil, fresh garlic, and pink Himalayan salt and bake them until golden. They’re less greasy but still so yummy!
As told to Anthea Levi