Transformation of the Day: Caira lost 55 pounds and embraced a new lifestyle. She learned to give herself grace and stop beating herself up during this journey. She shared with us the mindset, eating style, and workout routine that has led to a new relationship with her body and food.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
I have had a toxic relationship with my body and food since middle school. I’ve tried several workout programs, diets, weight loss pills, etc., as early as 13 and experienced varying levels of success, but I always bounced back to my original weight. I even gained more back at certain points.
Once I had my first child- my son in March 2021, I reached my heaviest weight at 193 lbs and quickly plunged into postpartum depression. With this depression and the ups and downs of my mood disorder following the birth, I decided to finally commit to a new lifestyle and adopt healthier habits. I wanted to show my son and not just tell him how to have a healthy relationship with his body and to take care of it.
I stay motivated by taking a ton of pictures, reading and seeing other people’s stories, exercising in the mirror, constantly trying on my clothes to see how the fit has changed with time, and smiling every time I make it to the top of the stairs without being out of breath.
How did you change your eating habits?
The biggest difference is that I increased my protein intake. I eat a high protein, low sugar, and low/moderate carb diet. I have found that highly restrictive diets don’t work for me, nor does it work to have designated ‘cheat days’ or ‘cheat meals.’ I found that I can stick to a routine when there is flexibility, and I can eat many of the foods I enjoy.
I also cook more and generally avoid processed foods for full meals, although some of my snacks are still processed. I still cook with butter, use real cheese, and use heavy sauces sometimes. I use portion control rather than limiting myself completely.
I definitely heap on the vegetables now more than I ever did in the past. I have found my air fryer to be the biggest lifesaver. I put everything into that thing, and it has been an enormous help in healthier eating habits. I air fry my protein, usually chicken breasts and whatever vegetables I want, eating it with a side of cilantro lime rice or roasted potatoes (also in the air fryer). That is a standard dinner for me.
I also pretty much only drink water and iced coffee. That was my habit prior to this weight loss journey. However, my husband and I decided to stop buying sugary and alcoholic drinks besides almond milk, iced coffee, and the occasional vitamin water for our groceries. I will only have juice, lemonade, or an alcoholic beverage, etc. when I go out for dinner or get takeout. I also discovered that I love greek yogurt, which has been a great snack and an easy source of protein. I still get McDonald’s French fries when I crave them, though 🙂
What is your workout routine? (Cardio, weight training, Zumba, etc.)
I work out 4-5 days a week in the morning for 45-60 minutes. I do weight training circuits using ten and 25-pound weights and workout bands. Then I do 15-20 minutes on a step machine with 10-pound weights. I also go to weekly dance classes.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 193 pounds, and my current weight is 138 pounds.
What is your height?
5 feet tall.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started my weight loss journey in January 2022 and reached my goal of 140 pounds as of December 2022. I have a new goal to get down to 130 lbs and assess at that point if I feel comfortable at that weight.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I spent so many years starting and stopping, ‘failing’ because I was beating myself up for eating a burger, not working out when I was supposed to, being unable to complete a workshop, or if the scale didn’t move.
I learned that if you’re not working on it, then it’s a choice- but give yourself grace. As long as I am choosing to work on it, that is the journey. It’s okay if the journey is not perfect. It’s okay if I want to enjoy a donut. The world will not end if I miss a workout this week, and I don’t have to judge myself for any of it. I have been working on giving myself grace, judging myself (and others) a lot less, and embracing a mindset focused on balance and growth.
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
Give yourself grace! Don’t beat yourself up for not following your routine to a T or for having an extra slice a pizza one night. I believe that’s taking care of your self in a different way. It’s allowing yourself to experience pleasure and joy in food and food experiences and balancing it with the experience you want to have in your body. Adopt a lifestyle that truly feels like it can work in service of you, that doesn’t feel like a punishment. Also eat that white rice, girl! White rice being ‘bad’ for weight loss is a myth. Black and Brown folks have been eating white rice for centuries! (Can you tell I hate brown rice?)