Weight loss story from @PrettyNici

Nici answers our interview questions on her weight loss journey where she lost weight, gained it back and lost it again. Nici also shares her typical leg day including her cardio workout. An uplifting story for people who may have backslid.

What led you to want to make a lifestyle change?

Back in 2012, I decided I wanted to get healthy internally and externally. GOD worked on a lot with me and I lost a little over 80 pounds in a year and a half. I ended up having to get my gallbladder removed in an emergency surgery which kind of kick started my weight gain. After my surgery, I didn’t have the energy to workout so the weight slowly started to creep back on.  The weight continued to pack on through grad school then also when I moved to a new city and started a new job.

Starting the new year, I just got tired of my clothes not fitting, not feeling like myself, not being Nici. I hated the way I looked. I knew that I had more inside of me than to just allow myself to settle with the weight I had gained. I couldn’t allow myself to stay where I was physically. GOD made me way too dope to let depression and low self esteem begin to take over again. It was time to get rid of the excuses and work on getting healthy again.

What did you do to achieve your results? Tell us about your workout routine

This weight loss journey has been a little different for me since I don’t have a trainer this time around. I’ve lost the majority of my weight from eating clean(ish).

If my schedule allows, I like to workout as much as possible. My usual routine is 2-3 times a week. Cardio is a must!!! I don’t like doing cardio but I know I have to do it to get the weight off.  My favorite day is leg day. My leg day includes the stair master for cardio, leg press, lunges; straight leg deadlifts, wall-sits and I usually throw in a little core workout on leg day. I like to push myself to see what new goals I can reach in the gym and to get better results.

How did you change your eating habits?

When I first moved to the East Coast, I got into cheese steaks, water ice and crab fries. In this journey, I definitely cook a lot more than I did the first time I lost weight. I pretty much eat low to no carbs (that’s what works for me). I try to only eat carbs on days when I know I am going to be more active so I can burn them off. My go to meal is beef smoked sausage, sautéed mushrooms and steamed kale with garlic. I could and probably do eat that most days of the week. I also replace pasta with vegetables. So if I do chicken fried rice, I’ll use cauliflower rice instead of real rice. If I do spaghetti, instead of pasta, I use spaghetti squash.  The taste is still great and I’m not pumping my body full of carbs. I also only drink water. To replace pop, I drink sparkling water. I love Vie Grapefruit flavored sparkling water and it’s super cheap at Aldi.

I’m still not perfect with my eating, I work for an NBA team so while in season, some days I don’t eat. That’s why I try to prepare my meals in advance so that I can just grab and go on busier days.

What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?

My first journey I went from about 300 lbs to 207 lbs. This time around I am not sharing my weight until I hit my goal weight. It’s a personal choice I have made to keep myself accountable and that’s what I am comfortable with. The only person who knows my weight is my trainer who helped me through the first journey.  I will however share my measurements of my trouble areas. My hips started at 62 inches and they are now 58 inches. My waist was 39.5 inches and now it’s 36. My thighs were 33 inches, now they are 31.5.  I have lost a total of 13 pounds.

How long did your transformation take?

I am 3 months into this current journey and I am 13 pounds down, I’ve lost a little over 12 inches from my body. My first weight loss journey took a year and a half.

What was the hardest part about your transformation? how did you overcome it?

The hardest part of my transformation was gaining the weight back!!! Mentally, spiritually and physically that wore on me. I worked SO hard the first time to lose the weight and I did it, then for almost all of it to come back, talk about a humbling experience! I think for me, I had to get out of my own way. I had to get over being mad at myself for allowing myself to gain the weight back and I just had to get to it. I Prayed about it, I made a vision board about it and I just started to be very intentional and realistic with myself. Either I wanted it or I didn’t. What I wanted had to outweigh my excuses. Getting over that hump of not wanting to start over was huge! I finally got it locked into my head that me gaining the weight back was my reality and that it wasn’t going anywhere unless I put the EFFORT towards getting it off of me.

How have things changed with you in general (health, relationships, self)

I feel lighter (and not just from the weight loss). I feel like the weight was also depressing for me. When I gained it back, some of those insecurities came back and it really wasn’t allowing me to be myself. I thank GOD that overall through the weight gain that my confidence stuck around. As the pounds and inches come off now, I feel myself developing a completely different type of confidence. I am becoming more of the woman that I always wanted to be. I’ve learned to cook now, I am taking better care of my skin and hair, my wardrobe is more evolved with this weight loss journey as well.

I’ve been single through both journeys and maybe that’s for the better. This journey has also groomed me to know that when I do enter into a relationship that the man I’m with will have to be disciplined too. I have to be with someone who is striving to better themselves and be healthy as well. Let’s be real, relationship weight is real and I’m not trying to start this journey a third time

Who or what helped you along your journey?

First, I have to give to glory to GOD. HE has literally seen me through this. I know that weight loss and motivating others is a part of my purpose. HE has been so intentional in my life, providing for me and giving me strength and energy even when I feel like quitting.

I have been blessed with some AMAZING people to help me on my journey! Matthew Scott at JBM Elite in Cincinnati, Ohio was my trainer when I lived there and is still in my corner to this day even though I moved. He sends me workouts, gives me goals to hit, sets up dietary restrictions for me. He is amazing and the rest of the JBM Elite family (trainers and clients) as well!

Also, Morgan Owens who owns Curvy Cardio in Cincinnati blessed me with the opportunity to do her Curvy Cardio 30 days of Werk challenge that kick started this weight loss journey. I’m so thankful for her and all the ladies doing the challenge!

I also have to shout out my job. The Philadelphia 76ers have helped me tremendously by providing me with a gym to utilize for free with all of the best equipment you could ask for.  Also, my family and friends are super encouraging and most of them are on their fitness grind too. Shout out to my parents for staying consistent with their workouts as well!

Is there a product that helped you or anything in particular you’d recommend?

I don’t really use any products other than gym equipment. I do have a little $5 sweatband I got from Walmart for my stomach. I use coconut oil underneath it to make my stomach and back sweat more. Old Navy’s compression pants are amazing as well.

What piece of advice would you give other women looking to start on their own lifestyle change/fitness journey?

The advice that I would give someone looking to start their own fitness journey is to DO IT!  Set goals and go after them! Seriously, just go for it in whatever way possible. Before my job moved into our new building with the gym in it, I took the steps to my desk every day. Effort makes the difference. If you can’t workout, make sure your eating is in check and get some type of activity in that you can when you can. It will all add up. Even if you have to do it by yourself and encourage yourself, do it. If you have a spouse, family or friends, start your journey together. Accountability is an amazing thing. Consistency is key. I probably could be way smaller than I am now, if I were more consistent (I’m a work in progress). Utilize your resources, ask questions, try new things. If you don’t know how to use the equipment in the gym, ask someone, go on youtube and search for the name of the machine. If you need healthy recipes or workouts, go on pinterest or youtube, there are tons on there.

Make what you want outweigh every single one of your excuses.

Love yourself where you are as you improve yourself. Celebrate your victories on the scale, on the measuring tape, in the kitchen, in the gym, in the mirror. CELEBRATE THEM ALL! You are doing something that should be celebrated, so do so.

Last piece of advice is do not get discouraged! My first weight loss journey it took me almost two and a half months of working out 3 times a week, eating right before the scale moved. I was so discouraged because I thought my hard work wasn’t paying off but then out of no where the pounds started coming off. So no matter what just keep going! Eventually, if you are doing what you are supposed to the weight will come off.