Transformation of the Day: Lydia lost 75 pounds by changing her lifestyle and embracing healthy habits. While traveling overseas to teach, she learned to create more of a work/life balance. She also discovered the mix of nutrition and outdoor fitness that works for her.
Instagram and Threads: @live_love_lydia
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
My reason was solidified once I left the US to teach overseas in 2017. It is something crazy when you are traveling in other countries and see that you are usually the biggest one in the crowd. I started looking at people from different cultures and the work/life balance they created for themselves when I moved to Qatar in 2019.
My school is huge on well-being. I was like, “How can you teach this to kids if you aren’t practicing it yourself?” What keeps me going is that my primary focus is improving my overall quality of life, not weight loss. So in everything I do, I’m focused on how this will improve my quality of life (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually).
How did you change your eating habits?
In January 2021, I had Covid. While in quarantine, I started listening to audiobooks. I went down a nutrition rabbit hole, and it finally all made sense. I stopped eating out a lot when I left Kuwait (2017-2019) and started cooking my meals. I don’t believe in eliminating items unless there is a medical reason.
I started focusing on whole foods. I don’t care for meat like that, so if I have something, it’s seafood (maybe chicken here or there). I did cut out dairy due to inflammation in my body.
I was in chronic pain due to an injury to my left foot during the fall of 2018. I started physiotherapy in 2020, and medication I didn’t want to take forever for inflammation. I noticed an immediate improvement when I stopped dairy and was able to stop taking the anti-inflammatory meds. (2022 was physiotherapy and shockwave therapy from the end of January until I finally had surgery on 12.19.2022 …9 days after my 50th birthday)
What is your workout routine?
I’m not a fan of gyms. Qatar is all about physical activity. Sports Day is a national holiday. They encourage everyone to be active. So I bought a bike. I cycle, do stairs at the amphitheater, walk, and now jog (since fully recovering from surgery. I also jump rope. In June, I started doing Muay Thai training (martial arts), which includes HIIT circuit training during the last half of the class.
How often did you work out?
I’m an everyday person as I believe in being active. However, my intensity is never the same day after day. Active rest days are brisk walks or easy bike rides just to be and unwind from my work day.
What is your height?
5’3″ and a strong half
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
In 2010, I reached my highest weight: 304 pounds. In August 2019, when arriving in Qatar to teach, I weighed 270 pounds. This is when I started truly focusing on myself and my health. It was slow due to physical challenges. Then, throw in Covid. So, from August 2019 to July 2023- I’ve released 70–75 pounds.
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
No surgery here other than the one that was on my foot that gave me a new lease on life.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
In all things regarding your health and well-being, be intentional. This lifestyle does not happen by accident.
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
1) Learn to set aside time for you daily for your physical/mental well-being. Start with 30 uninterrupted minutes. We give so much of ourselves to our families, jobs, cats, and dogs …but we seem to go last. Stop that! It doesn’t mean going hard for 30 mins. It may be a 15 min walk and 15 mins meditation.
2) be intentional about what you need to do. Work on discipline. Motivation is a fleeting emotion. Discipline gets it done. If we are disciplined enough to show up for work when we don’t feel like it, we can be disciplined enough to show up for ourselves.
3) Take time to find food and activities that you enjoy. There are no quick fixes. Think sustainability. You aren’t going to continue anything you do not enjoy.