Monday, May 9, 2011


Soraya is a good friend and coworker who has amazing will power and determination. She sets her mind on something and does it.. She's also very organized with calendars, agendas and lists.. So when she decided to lose weight, she did it! With a decision and determination she reached her health goal, and has maintained it for a couple of years now. Soraya is someone who anyone with a weight loss goal I think can completely relate to...check out our interview
Gigi: How much weight would you say you lost until you reached your goal?Soraya: I’m not sure exactly what it was in terms of weight but I know I went from a size 12 to a size 4, which I've maintained for the passed 5 years.
Gigi:What made you decide to change your life around?Soraya: I was always a chubby kid and then a chubby teen and I was on my way to becoming a chubby adult. One day when I was about 19, I was sitting in a diner with some girlfriends talking about the summer and it occurred to me that I had never worn a bikini. That led to my thinking about how unhappy my weight made me feel and how my insecurity about it prevented me from doing “normal” things. Something about that thought made me so sad and it’s like something clicked in my brain. I couldn’t stand the idea of another summer going by and me being the same unhappy, overweight person. I made the resolution then and there that I had to lose the weight.
Gigi: What did you find most challenging about your process?Soraya: The most challenging aspect for me was becoming an active person. I had asthma so running was a huge struggle for me. I also hated sports so I had to find another way to become active. I just began doing any exercise I could find. I bought workout dvds…I tried dancing around my room…anything that got me burning calories, I would try. This worked for me and it kept me from getting bored. Eventually I did build a workout routine.
Gigi: How do you continue to maintain your weight loss?Soraya: I had to learn to be willing to adapt to new phases in my life. When I got married I started gaining some weight because I was eating with my hubby all the time, but then I adjusted my eating habits and it stabilized. When I started working at a desk job, I automatically became less active throughout the day, so I learned how to move around a bit more. It’s all about adaptation. This isn’t a diet. Just because you get to your weight goal, doesn’t mean it’s over. I've fluctuated at times but this is life from now on. I will always have to monitor my habits and I’ve embraced that concept.
Gigi: Do you see a difference in how you feel now and how you did before the weight loss?Soraya: Definitely, not just physically either but especially in terms of emotions. There is nothing like feeling good about yourself. I have a confidence now that I never knew growing up. 
Gigi:What are some of your health goals?Soraya: My main goal is to become a completely balanced person. There is so much I still want to learn about nutrition. I also want to keep pushing myself physically because although I’m at a healthy weight I could always become more physically fit. Those are two very different things.
Gigi: What is the most important thing to you when it comes to a healthy lifestyle?Soraya: Balance is the most important thing. This is about taking care of yourself. This is the one body I’m ever going to have and if I don’t take care of it, no one will. It’s about eating foods that will keep me strong. It’s about working the muscles I have so that they don’t lose their function. Perserverance is also really important. You might mess up and gain a few pounds again at some point but don't fall apart. Keep moving forward.

Gigi: What advice do you have for someone who is unhappy with how they look?Soraya: If you are unhappy with how you look really think about whether this is the feeling you want to have for the rest of your life. Then, think about what it would be like to reach your goal. I speak as someone who has been there and is still working on it. Making this change in my life was one of the best things I ever did for myself. All it takes is a decision. It needs to come from inside you. Just make that choice and then try things out. What works for me, may not work for you but find what does. You might have to test out different workouts or activities before you find what you like but don’t stop. It won’t be overnight, but it will happen.
Gigi: Do you believe in diets?Soraya: I believe you can lose weight on a diet but I don’t believe you keep it off or become a healthy person on them. Being healthy means having knowledge. It means learning what’s good and what’s not and then doing it. The main difference between people who lose weight and gain it back as opposed to those who keep it off is attitude. 
Gigi: How do you stay motivated?Soraya: I just think about the alternative. The unhappiness I felt when I was overweight is not something that is easily forgotten. Once I got a taste of this "new life", I couldn't fathom ever going back. Life is too short to be unhappy.
Any motivational quotes?“When friends tell you how awesome you look, drop the "I still have more to go" crap.  You worked hard and you deserve the compliment!”  ~Jillian Michaels

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." - Unknown

Check out Soraya's awesome blog: http://insearchofsutopia.blogspot.com/2011/05/day-129.html