Transformation Tuesday: Rahma

Welcome to the next installment in our Transformation Tuesday series! We’re so happy Rahma was willing to share her story with us! Check out her interview.

RS before rahma_after pic

Q: When did you realize that you had a weight problem?
A: I’ve been overweight my whole life. For as long as I can remember, I was called any number of euphemisms for fat by my family and relatives. It became even more prominent once my sister lost weight in middle school and I was still heavy.

Q: What made you decide to do something about it?
A: I had tried many different diets over the years, some of them yielding temporary weight loss that would eventually gain back with a few extra pounds. This last time, I got fed up with my body. I was tired of constantly fighting against my body and never really living with it. I hated that I felt I had to wear a sweatshirt in the summer. I researched my options and started with Jenny Craig.

Q: When did you start?
A: June 15, 2009

Q: How much weight have you lost?
A: 70 pounds

Q: What is/was your goal?
A: I’m at my goal of 125-128 pounds.

Q: What weight loss program or eating modifications do you follow?
A: I initially lost 35 pounds with Jenny Craig. But as I got smaller, I noticed I was developing more and more health issues that I never had when I was heavier. I had acid reflux, migraine headaches 15 times a month, my joints were achy and painful, and I generally felt icky. Combined with the low calorie level I was using to lose weight (I ate 1200-1300 calories a day), I wasn’t feeling as good as I thought I should. It didn’t make sense to me that I would have these issues at a smaller size and presumably healthier diet. I went back to doing some research and found that certain foods can cause the symptoms I was having because my body wasn’t able to digest them. I stumbled upon Whole30 one day and read what the program was about. I found that it was something that could help with my new symptoms so I gave it a try. After the initial 30 days, I felt amazing. I had none of the symptoms I had developed, along with no more seasonal allergies. I got leaner quicker while feeling satisfied with my food for the first time since I started losing weight 2 years earlier

Q: Can you explain your basic program?
A: Jenny Craig was a calorie-reduced diet (1200 calories) with prepackaged meals. This offered me the convenience that I needed at the time, since I didn’t have the time or inclination to plan my own food. Whole30 is a super strict version of the paleo diet – no grains, sugar, legumes, dairy or food additives. Whole30/Paleo centers around high quality protein (grassfed/pastured), veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds. I follow the Paleo diet now with some splurges periodically, but those have lessened as I experience uncomfortable side effects when I have wheat or dairy.

Q: Do you exercise?
A: Yes

Q: How often and how much?
A: 5-6 days a week for 30-40 minutes.

Q: Where and when do you exercise?
A: I exercise at home in the morning before work (around 6:30-7 a.m.).

Q: What exercises work for you?
A: I do mostly bodyweight exercises, with flexibility training (Pilates/Yoga) and some light weights (max 10 pounds).

Q: What are your trigger foods?
A: Sugar, wheat, sugar, dairy, sugar.

Q. How do you cope with temptation?
A: I make sure to eat properly at meal times and also to sleep adequately. I’ve also found healthier alternatives – for example, around my menstrual cycle, I crave sweet carbs like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve found that sweet plantains fried in coconut oil and cinnamon work really well, and for the crazy sugar dragon, dates (limited quantities as I can devour these too) help immensely.

Q: Have you ever gotten discouraged? What do you do about it?
A: All the time. Now that I’ve lost the weight, I’m focusing on body composition. This process is just as frustrating as the weeks when I didn’t lose weight during my weight loss phase. I have fallen off the wagon for months at a time but I don’t allow myself to gain more than 5-7 pounds. I try to make sure I don’t eat my emotions, I maintain my morning routine and try to be active, even if it’s not with an actual workout. I also use a reward system to get back on track if I’ve been off for a while. For example, I’ll treat myself to a mani/pedi if I work out 4 times in a week after not doing so for 3 months.

Q: How did you feel about looking at photos of yourself? Has that changed?
A: I didn’t like looking at pictures of me and I still don’t like to. That’s mostly vanity. When I do look back, I try to remember the girl in those pictures and how uncomfortable she felt in that body. I like to think that I gave that girl something she had always wanted but didn’t know how to get. I’m a little better now with looking at pictures, but still not comfortable.

Q: What is the best benefit of losing weight for you?
A: Confidence. I have more confidence now in my body than I ever have. I know I can push it harder, when to pull back, and am generally amazed by the things it can do.

Q: Do people ask you for advice? What do you tell them?
A: If someone hasn’t seen me in a while or finds out about my weight loss, they do ask me for advice. The best (and quickest) thing I tell them is not to eat anything that comes in a box. If the food needs a label, then it’s not food. Whatever diet you follow (paleo, vegan, etc.), just make sure your food is real food.

Q: What have you been able to do that you couldn’t have done before?
A: I can do pushups! I can only do 5 full pushups but I’m getting better and my goal is 20. Also I’m working on an unassisted handstand. Also, I don’t graze all day. I used to have massive anxiety if I didn’t pack enough food for an army because I was always hungry (especially while on Jenny Craig), but when I changed to a more Whole30-style of eating, my hunger is radically reduced and I only eat at mealtimes now.


Thank you, Rahma, for being a part of our Transformation Tuesdays and continuing to inspire others! Just like us, now you’re another person who’s been there. 🙂

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