By Liana Jacob
MEET the stunning mum-of-three who lost a whopping TEN STONE in just a year after undergoing weight loss surgery, after suffering with depression for years and being bullied about her weight.
Real estate agent, Ali Lee (29), from Alabama, USA, started progressively gaining weight when she hit puberty in her third year of junior high school when she was just 13 years old due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hyperthyroidism.
These conditions caused her to carry a ‘spare tire’ on her midsection, which made it difficult to successfully lose weight. She reached her peak weight of 22st 5Ibs and a UK size 32 to 34.
She has battled depression throughout her life, her weight made things worse, and on top of that, she was picked on at school. With her two conditions, losing weight naturally was very tough for her, and giving birth to her three children became her motivation to have gastric sleeve surgery, a procedure where the stomach is shrunk to around 15 percent of its original size, which helps to reduce one’s appetite.
The surgery and Ali’s dedication to changing her lifestyle of working out three to five days a week and consuming low-carbohydrate-based food and a high protein diet, helped her reduced her figure to a slender 12st 5Ibs and UK size 12 to 14.
“Since I hit puberty about third grade I have started gaining weight around my midsection due to polycystic ovary syndrome and hyperthyroidism,” she said.
“Both of these factors caused me to carry my weight on my midsection almost like a spare tire. Making it near impossible to successfully lose weight.
“Always being heavy and the way I grew up learning to love myself like society expected, I was miserable and unhappy.
“The funny thing is when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see the big girl, but I saw the girl that I knew was inside this whole time.
“But no matter how much I told myself and others that I was beautiful and had a great personality, I still hated the person I looked and felt like.
“I’ve battled depression most all my life and my weight made it worse. Being the one person picked on in school, being bigger was always the norm for me.
“My kids were my ultimate motivation to get in shape. I must set an example of self-love and self-respect.
“As far as keeping a healthy mentally and physically, I feel showing them by example is far more important than just telling them.
“Due to my thyroid and PCOS I was unable to lose the weight on my own. The combo of the two basically made it impossible.”
PCOS is a common condition that affects the way a woman’s ovaries work. The three main features of PCOS are; irregular periods, excess androgen (high levels of ‘male hormones’ that can cause physical changes such as facial or body hair), and enlarged ovaries that contain many fluid-filled sacs.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs due to excessive production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.
“Then I learned about the gastric sleeve and how it is the only known ‘cure’ for these issues. However, the surgery was simply a tool and not an easy way out,” Ali said.
“I had to completely change my lifestyle and diet in order to make this weight-loss journey successful. I no longer eat bread and unhealthy carbohydrates.
“I no longer drink carbonated drinks. I try to retain as much protein as possible throughout the day ultimately hoping to get in between 100 and 160 milligrams per day.
“I focus on eating vegetables and protein before anything else. Sweets are a rare treat. I eat what my body needs to survive verses for boredom and emotions.
“I am now able to keep up with my family who have a very active lifestyle. I have no limitations for myself.
“The word ‘can’t’ is no longer part of my vocabulary. I’m healthier mentally and physically which, in turn, allows my family to have the best version of me always.
“I feel confident in my own skin and I no longer have anxiety attacks because I need to go to the grocery store or be in a crowd. I have no self-doubt because now I feel I can do anything I set my mind to.”
Her new lifestyle now includes changing her daily exercise routine; she now walks regularly, does yoga or a class at the gym and she tries to commit to 30 minutes of workout a day.
As well as having to cut out bread, Ali also says that believing herself was the hardest part of her journey.
“The hardest thing was getting through my own self-doubt; reminding myself daily that everyone starts somewhere and it did not take one night to become as big as I was, so it would take time to get the weight off,” she said.
“Most people do not even recognise me any more they say ‘you remind me of someone I know from Hartsell’ and I’m like it’s me, that’s me I’m just half my size.
“They’re so proud of what I’ve accomplished because no matter who you are is not easy making a life change.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. No matter who you are or which point in your journey you are at, you always have to start and getting through that will get you anywhere.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/alilee_realtor/