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health as it happens

‘With A Portion-Controlled Diet, Beachbody, And Peloton Workouts, I Lost 75 Pounds During Quarantine’ - Women's Health

My name is Talia Mollica (@a.taste.of.tal ), and I was born, raised, and live in Burlington, Massachusetts. I am 21 years old, and I currently attend the University of Massachusetts Lowell as a criminal justice major. Also, I am currently in the network marketing field as a Beachbody On Demand coach. By sticking to workouts with Beachbody and Peloton, walking, and eating a portion-controlled diet, I was able to lose 75 pounds.

I've always struggled with body image. I grew up with two sisters who I constantly compared myself to. I was a cheerleader from kindergarten up until my senior year of high school. This is a sport where image is one of the most important aspects, and it was easy to compare myself to other girls and not be happy when I looked in the mirror.

I'd describe myself as average-sized growing up. I was really tall, and whenever I would go to the doctor, I was told that I was medically “overweight” for my age group. As I entered middle and high school, I never learned healthy eating habits. I come from an Italian and Greek family, and we ate a lot of delicious food. I would come home after school and overeat and then feel bad about it. I had an unhealthy relationship with food for years where I would emotionally eat, which led to binge eating.

I was the heaviest I ever weighed when I moved away to college.

Moving away from home was a hard adjustment for me, and I emotionally ate until, one day, I could not even look at myself in the mirror. I hated going out with friends because none of the clothes I liked would fit me right. I am an extremely outgoing person, but at that time, my entire personality changed, and I became very shy and reserved. I was also just unkind to myself. I stopped taking care of myself. At age 20, I was 211 pounds.

Although never diagnosed with hypertension, my blood pressure was extremely elevated. My doctor monitored it for years. I also developed acid reflux, and anytime I would eat I would get terrible heartburn. These issues were a concern in my everyday life.

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My turning point was the fact that I was so unhappy.

I did not feel comfortable in my own skin. So in January of 2020, at 20 years old, I made a New Year's resolution (that stuck this time!) to finally put myself first and change my health habits.

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I did not cut out any food groups when I began my health and wellness journey.

I simply began to change my poor eating habits to better ones. I started eating out less and cooking at home more. I started to eat vegetables at every meal. I started to eat more healthy and nutritious foods and I began to cut out processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods. I increased my water intake and properly portion my food while still enjoying foods that I love in moderation.

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I don’t believe that any food is “good” or “bad.” Food is fuel. We need it to survive. But we should be able to enjoy it at the same time. Healthy eating does not have to be boring. I started to find healthier alternatives to the foods that I loved. For me, eating whole, nutritious foods but still enjoying the foods that you love in moderation is sustainable. It works. I never considered my weight-loss journey a “diet.” I considered it a lifestyle change. Because lifestyle changes are forever and diets are temporary.

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Here’s what I eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Avocado toast on sourdough bread with "everything but the bagel seasoning," red pepper flakes, and an egg, alongside a Café Latte Shakeology from Beachbody. Or a loaded oatmeal bowl with toppings like fresh sliced banana, peanut butter, cacao nibs, and chia seeds.
  • Lunch: Some kind of power bowl. For the base: rice and a green, usually spinach or kale. The middle layer: lots of cooked and seasoned vegetables such as zucchini, sweet potato, squash, onion, and tomato. Top layer: some protein such as chicken, salmon, or ground turkey. On top, some dressing or extra seasoning. I love the Green Goddess dressing from Trader Joe’s.
  • Snacks: My absolute favorite snack right now is the GoMacro Oatmeal Chocolate Chip protein bar. I also love to snack on fresh fruit like mango, watermelon, grapes, cherries, or strawberries. I love my Shakeology from Beachbody as well.
  • Dinner: A choice of protein with a vegetable. I am obsessed with stuffed vegetables. For example, stuffed spaghetti squash, sweet potato, or eggplant. Stuffed vegetables are my go-to dinners because you can modify them however you like, and the meal keeps you full and feeling good.
  • Dessert: Trader Joe’s non-dairy chocolate coconut milk ice cream. Or, strawberries with chocolate hummus, which tastes like chocolate frosting. I love making homemade desserts such as healthier almond flour cookies, dark chocolate peanut butter cups (I keep these in my freezer), or frozen Greek yogurt bark.

At the beginning of my weight-loss journey in January of 2020, I focused solely on cardio.

I would go to the gym a few days a week for an hour and go on the bike, treadmill, or stair stepper. I did this for a while, but found myself getting frustrated with myself because I don't find this type of cardio fun. Once quarantine hit around March of 2020, my family agreed to order a Peloton bike, and I fell in love with these workouts. I would do a spin class every day.

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I walked a lot during quarantine.

Walking is a great way to start out if you are new to exercising. It was not until the fall of 2020 that I began to lift weights. I started light and worked my way up by following Jess Sims' (my favorite Peloton instructor) strength training workouts. I did these strength training workouts from the Fall of 2020 up until March of 2021. Then I was introduced to Beachbody.

I love these programs because they get you into a routine and set up a real schedule for you. For example, Monday is leg day, Tuesday is back and biceps, Wednesday is Tabata cardio, and so on. Although I love the Peloton workouts, it is easy to wake up and say I am not going to work out today because you do not have anyone or anything to hold you accountable. But with Beachbody, you have a set routine, an extremely supportive and motivating community around you, and you feel like you must follow the program’s schedule to stay on track.

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So, a typical week of exercise for me is five days a week with a mix of strength training and (much shorter) cardio workouts. I learned that you do not need to spend an hour and a half at the gym to see results. The easiest way to get frustrated and give up on yourself is to overwork yourself. I spend 25 to 40 minutes a day on these workouts.

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These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight-loss results.

  1. I started drinking a lot of water. Before beginning my weight loss journey, I probably drank two or three bottles of water a day on top of sugary coffees and other drinks that were not good for me. As I started to move my body more and fill up on healthier foods, my body craved water and I began drinking about 2 liters a day. It also curves any bad food cravings and keeps you satisfied throughout the day.
  2. I moved my body three to five times a week. After graduating from high school and having no sports to play, I completely gave up on exercise. It is not realistic to go “all in” when starting to lose weight. Making simple changes is the key to success. Approaching exercise this way helped me stay consistent so I could stick to this lifestyle change.
  3. I cut out the negative self-talk. This is the most important for my success. When you decide to make a change for yourself, you need to be kind and patient with yourself. We are our own biggest critics but that certainly changes when you lose weight and go through some drastic life changes. You begin to love yourself more and realize that you were really the only thing holding you back from living a happier and healthier life. Be kind and be your own biggest supporter.

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I have lost 75 pounds from January 2020 to November 2020.

Since then I have been maintaining that weight loss by continuing daily movement and healthy eating. From the beginning of my weight loss journey, my life has completely changed. I have grown a strong passion for nutrition, health, and wellness and I have created my own wellness platform on social media to encourage and inspire others. I became a Beachbody coach where I can now help other people. And I found a passion for cooking.

I would have never thought I would be able to accomplish the things I have because of this journey. Once you make a change so drastic, you will begin to realize all the things you were holding yourself back from. I am the most confident I have ever been, and I finally love myself enough to put myself first.

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