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.

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I so want to be you one day. Leslie Report
That is awesome, thanks for sharing!!! Report
Yes! Wonderful! Thanks for inspiring all of us. I'm in...can't wait to be a big loser! Report
this is a very inspiring story!! Report
very inspiring! I love reading stories like Leslie's. She's right, it's hard but stick with it and it'll pay off. I'm very proud of Leslie!! Report
Lessie, Your story was great. You are right, you need to loose weight for yourself, and not others. Thank you. Keep up the good work. Report
That's an amazing story! I'm in. I've decided :) Report
I am going to do this for myself. I weigh 340 and would love to weigh half of that.....170lbs. I am inspired.....YOU GO GIRL !!! Report
wow thats awesome! I am so glad for you that you were able to lose the weight! I recently topped out at my highest weight of 340 lbs and (so far) am 15 lbs lighter! your story has really inspired me and just really makes me beleive that i can do it too! you look great! Report
This is a very inspiring story!! I find that reading stories like yours everyday helps to keep me on track. Congratualtions to you, you are amazing!! Report
Congratulation !!! Every time I read an inspiring story like yours it give me that little push to keep going(plus the doctor would operate to give me my new knee)
to lose more weight!! Way to go. Thanks & congratulation!! Report
Awesome! Very inspiring! I am taking my weight loss and being healthy serious now. After getting back from the inauguration and tipping the scales at 190 lbs, I realize somethings got to weight!!! Report
Very motivating. I lost 100, but had not quite reached my goal, and have now gained 40 pounds back, but am on the track again. Stories like yours help. I believe in your philosophy of getting right back on track. When people asked me how I did it I said just that, if you eat something that's not good for you, get back on track at the next meal, not the next day, week, or month. I tried to eat normal so I'd weigh normal. Again - way to go and, reading stories like yours make me confident I'll reach my goal. Report
Amazing! Report
Way to go! Thanks for the inspiration! Report
your story is very inspirational. thanks for sharing. Report
Thank you for sharing your story. It hit me hard because my goal matches almost exactly what you've done. I'm 39, my starting weight is 292, and my goal is 140. It's inspiring to see that it really is possible without fad diets, or some insane workout schedule. Report
Way to go! Thank you. Keep up the good work. Report
Wow!! Way to go!!! Proud of you!!! Report
Awesome and Inspiring story!!! Report
Congrats on having your story in People! You look wonderful and all your hard work has paid off. Report
So cool! Your story is an inspiration to us all! Keep it up girl! Report
I am always amazed to find that a persons issue was not eating enough. I am staying between 1200-1450 cals per day - divided properly betwee carbs, ats and proteins and cannot budge the scale. I have 20 pounds to lose and am on the biggest plateau ever. This was inspirational to read. Shows it can be done.............. guess I will try the 6 smaller meals and see if that works for me.
Great inspiration. Report
WOW!!!!!!!! Report
I'm inspired. Your story is very motivating to me. Thank you for sharing. Report
Hi Lessie, well looks like there is hope for me after all. Especially after reading your story. You have really done yourself proud and now I'm going to try and take your advice by living one day at a time as I attempt to go for it again. "Way 2 Go" : ) Report
Leslie, I have been on and off, trying to START my weight management. I read your story on Spark People and have become so inspired. I am also 5'3" and 215lbs. The heaviest I have ever been in my life. My knees ache, my back is killing (with 2 herniated disks due to weight), My joints hurt, my feet hurt, etc. etc. you know the drill. I was able to connect with your story, you are like one of us, and it is so inspiring to read that you have accomplished so much. I am about to have my 42nd birthday in a few weeks and thought, "this weight stuff has won, maybe I should consider surgery", BUT then I read your story!!!! I am inspired, I can do this one day at a time... THANK YOU for your strength and for inspiring me. : ) Report
much love to you--you've done so well, and i have to applaud. i needed something good to read today, and glad to see your story. all the best and keep up with your success! Report
Okay, today I made my decision. I didn't realise I had until I read your story. You are amazing! Report
Way to go! Super inspiring! Such a great story and an awesome accomplishment congratulations! Report
Great story, inspires me to keep going! Report
Congratulations-- what an inspiring story! I'm new to SparkPeople but it's stories like yours that make me think I've come to the right place to change my poor eating and exercise habits for good! Report
Way to go! One baby step at a time gets spectacular results.
You have been blessed!
Beth Report
Kudos to you mami! Keep up the good work! You are truly an inspiration. Report
Very inspiring! Congrats! Report
Congrats! You Go Girl! Report
Lessie, you go girl ! congrats on losing weight. Your story has inspired me to be more determined to lose weight. You look great. Report
Lessie, every time I feel like giving up, I read something like your inspiring story and it makes me feel like someday I will make it. Thanks and you look wonderful. Report
Leslie, that is so inspiring. I know exactly what you have been struggling with . It is so easy to give up, but you did not and now you are an inspiration to so many others. Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story. Please send some of your tips my way. Really, I can use all the help I can get.. Please ! :-D Report
Indeed, she did inspire me. What an inspirational story and a guide to a better life once one loses weight. Good On You. Report
I saw your article in people and I was already a member on sparkpeople so it was such an inspiration!! Report
I just read that issue of eople a couple of days a go and I was Wowed!!!
Congrats on your achivement!
~Stephanie Report
Great job! Your story makes me feel that I will see the end of the road it is just going to take longer that I would like.

Wow Wtg!! I just joined a few weeks ago. Your story is a good inspiration. Report
wow!!! That is awesome... I am in a similiar situation and can't seem to find the right state of mind to get started your a real inspiration keep up the good work! Report
Congratulations!!! Your story is so inspiring to me that I went out and bought the People magazine too!! Keep up the great job you're doing. Thank you so much for your story Report
I think you have done a wonderful job in your quest to lose weight and I think,"You are pretty". Report
congrats.. i admire u so much. how i wish i could be like you so i can lose my 60 excess pounds. i have been trying hard to lose them, i tried several kinds of diet. the most recent is the low carb diet. my metabolism is so slow, maybe because of the steroids i took months ago. after reading ur story, i felt motivated to start all over again and go back to my low carb diet and start exercising. thanks for the inspiration...
Wow! I'm so happy for you - you are an inspiration. Thank you and best of luck! Report
What an accomplishment. This is so awesome for you to be able to share your journey not only with Spark People but also with People....Everyone reads People. What a great way to show people that they can achieve their weight loss goals! Way to go!!! Report
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