My name is Ashley Tappana (@ww_ashwantssmallerpants). I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah, but I currently live in Fort Worth, Texas. I’m 37 and a stay-at-home mom of four children. After steadily gaining weight over 11 years and through four pregnancies, I decided to lose weight for good.
I never really struggled with my weight until I got married. Then, the weight slowly started creeping up on me. Before I knew it, my pants didn’t fit. So I bought the next size up…and before I knew it, those didn’t fit anymore either. Pretty soon, I was having to shop in the plus-size section.
I hated going shopping with my friends. Most of the stores my friends shopped at didn’t carry my size, and I’d just stand there awkwardly looking at all the cute clothes surrounding me, knowing they’d never fit. I was the fat friend, and I felt so much embarrassment even suggesting we go browse in a store with clothing in my size.
When my husband and I started having babies, I started gaining even more weight, and before I knew it, I had gained over 120 pounds in 11 years of marriage. My pregnancies became more high risk. I had a doctor mention to me how women of “my size” had more complications with pregnancies, and they’d have to monitor me more closely, which meant more appointments.
I also had issues with my knees and feet hurting all the time, and I had high blood pressure. After having my fourth baby, I weighed well over 300 pounds. And this was when I reached my turning point on October 27, 2016, when I was 33.
I always made the excuse not to lose weight because I was just going to get pregnant again…and then I no longer had that excuse.
However, it wasn’t until about a month and a half later that I became determined. I had gone into my favorite clothing store to buy a new pair of jeans, and went into the dressing room to try them on. They were a size 24, the size I had worn before I got pregnant with my fourth child, and I figured they would fit. You can imagine my embarrassment when I couldn’t even pull them up. I literally sat down and started crying right there in the dressing room.
As I sat there crying, I realized I was out of every single excuse I had ever made. I no longer wanted to be over 300 pounds. I did not want to be the curvy wife, the chubby mom, and the fat friend anymore. I sat in that dressing room for a long while before I finally dried my tears, bought the size 26 jeans and left the store with a newfound determination I had never felt before.
I had tried WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) twice before, but this time I felt truly ready to commit.
I’d sign up but then not put in the effort. But I was absolutely ready this time. I followed a whole bunch of WW Instagram accounts and felt so inspired by these women who were just like me.
I love the versatility of WW. I love that it’s not a diet. I love that I haven’t had to give up anything that I love to lose weight. I love that it’s a lifestyle that’s sustainable and that I can easily do for the rest of my life. I also love the community and the friendships I’ve made. It truly is an incredible program that inspires and empowers.
Here’s what I eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: Mostly fruit, like a banana or a bowl of strawberries.
- Lunch: Mediterranean bowls with brown rice, grilled chicken, homemade tzatziki sauce, and reduced-fat feta cheese. I also slice up some Mediterranean pickles to add to it. I love to make two-ingredient dough pretzels and cheesy stuffed peppers as well.
- Snacks: Popcorn, string cheese, unsweetened applesauce, pickles, celery with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge, pretzels, deviled eggs, and cucumbers.
- Dinner: Chickpea pasta with marinara sauce and a vegetable is easy. Stuffed bakedpotatoes and taco salads or burrito bowls are also some of my favorites.
- Dessert: Sugar-free JELLO with whipped cream or sugar-free fudge popsicles.
I actually lost my first 75 pounds without any exercise. But I reached a point when I actually wanted to be active.
I first started by going on long walks through my neighborhood.Then I started doing The Fitness Marshall dance workout videos on YouTube at home several days a week.After several months of that, I had a friend introduce me to High Fitness dance workouts, and I fell in love with them.The classes are so much fun!
I’ve also discovered a love for running, which is something I never thought I’d say. Going from not having the energy to do anything, to having the energy to run three miles without stopping is one of the best feelings in the world.
These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss.
- Change one: I made this a lifestyle change. Choosing to make my health and wellness a priority every single day has completely changed my life. I wake up every morning with a plan and a purpose. I don’t always stay on track, but even when I fall off for a couple days or weeks…because I’ve made the lifestyle change, it’s *so* much easier to get right back on track again.
- Change two: I made self-care a priority.Whether it’s taking the time to go for a run, or sitting down to read a book…when I put in the effort to care for myself, it helps me to be more present for my family. When I take care of my physical and emotional needs, I’m happier, healthier, and am a much better version of myself for those I love the most.
- Change three: I started making goals and celebrating every single victory. Making goals helped keep me accountable, and watching myself crush each goal made me more determined. And even if it was just a pound, I celebrated the loss of that pound.
My original goal was to lose 123 pounds. I was able to achieve that after 22 months.
Since then, I’ve lost an additional 15 pounds, making my total almost 140 pounds lost. I had started and stopped my weight-loss journey so many times before, but it wasn’t until I realized that I was worth the amount of effort and struggle it was going to take that I really became determined.
I’m just your everyday, average wife and mom of four that finally made myself a priority. And by doing that, I ended up giving my family the best gift I could have ever given them, and that gift was a healthier, happier, and more present version of myself. I allowed myself mistakes. I allowed myself to have bad days. But, I did not allow myself to give up.
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