My name is Irma Paulina Alaniz, I’m 28 years old, I was born in Mexico, but I currently live in California. I was fairly skinny when I was young because there wasn’t enough food at my house. My mother was single and worked all the time, while I took care of my two younger sisters. A good meal was hard to come by, and when it did, I’d rather feed my younger siblings than myself.
My name is Yanet Valdez, I’m a 26 year old Mexican and I live in San Francisco, California. I came to this country to join my husband when I was 2 months pregnant. He worked all day long while I sat at home alone with no family. I couldn't even talk to my neighbors because I didn’t speak English. My only company was the food I ate. After giving birth, I became 189 pounds heavy.
My name is Ana Velásquez; I’m 36 years old and I came to this country from Mexico 20 years ago. I work cleaning houses and I have a beautiful family for whom I love to cook. But that is when I started gaining weight; I would try one plate after another. All of them were accompanied by rice, beans and fried tortillas. I became 199 pounds heavy and I was a size 2XL.
My name is Nidia Gamez, I’m 26 years old and I’m an American with Mexican parents. We would always celebrate everything with food at my house. I was very skinny, so my mother gave me vitamins when I was 7 years old to boost my appetite and gain weight. They worked like a charm because I started gaining weight without stopping.
My name is Juliana Fernandez, I’m 39 years old, I’m from Colombia, married and a proud mother. I’ve been working as the manager of a Mexican restaurant for the past 11 years. I was thin when I first started working there, but then I started gaining little by little with no concern. I felt hungry all day, so I wouldn’t stop eating tacos, burritos, chips and salsa at work. That is how the days went by until I realized I weigh 171 pounds and was a size 16.
My name is Dania Hernandez, I’m 30 years old, I’m from Guatemala, but I currently live in Rhode Island. I was abandoned by my parents when I was little, so I was raised by my grandparents. It was a very difficult experience because they suffered from alcoholism. This lead me to suffer from constant abuse and rejection from my family for many years.
My name is Milagro Luna, I’m from Colombia, but I live in Dallas, Texas. At 40 years old and with two children, I lived traumatized by my 195 lb body. I only focused on eating sweets all day. I also suffered from colon irritation, heartburn and constipation.
My name is María Hernández, I’m 27 years old and I’m from Ecuador, but I live in New Jersey. My weight got out of control when I was pregnant with twins. I’d wake up at night and go to the refrigerator to satisfy my hunger, becoming a size XL.
I'm a proud Salvadorian named Mildred Castillo, I’m 31 years old, and I live in Los Angeles, California. After I gave birth to my children, I stopped working and became a homemaker, wanting to take care of them and spend more time with them. I began to gain weight without even realizing it and in a very short period of time I went from a size 3 to a size 11. I got really depressed when I climbed onto the scale and saw that my weight had gone up to 165 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. Seeing that number there really made me sad, and to want to eat more. I thought to myself “well, whatever…if my husband really loves me, he’ll love me no matter what!” I had no meal routine and had no clue what was right and what was wrong; I had fruit for dinner, cereal all day while I was watching my novelas and to me coffee without sweet bread was not really coffee.
One day, my son came back from school crying because another kid told him “your mom is as big as an elephant” and that made him feel terrible. I remember that while he was still crying he asked me: “You’re not fat mom, right? Only a little bit?” It broke my heart to see that my weight was no longer just my problem but it was also affecting my family. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t really aware of the gravity of the situation. That’s when I decided to do something about it but I got ahead of myself and tried a ton of extreme dietswith no success. All of these failures drove my self-esteem into the ground and I lost all faith. I would stay at home all the time and avoided family reunions because every time I would hear comments such as, “Look at your cousin, she’s so skinny!”, it would make me even more sad and angry about my situation.
When I was young, I had an average weight for my height; I’m 5’5” and I weighed 135 lbs. As is the case with many women, after getting married and having my first daughter, I gained 25 lbs. I managed to lose those 25 lbs. with a lot of effort. With my second pregnancy, I gained weight again and also manage to lose it. But something unexpected happened that changed my life: when my youngest daughter turned 2, she was diagnosed with leukemia – cancer of the blood. I didn’t know what to do – It had such an impact on mine and my family’s life that I developed anxiety and it drove me to find comfort in food. I felt very depressed, and didn’t want to do anything.
2 years and many treatments later, the doctors managed to control my daughter’s disease and, though she remained under close observation, she was out of the danger zone. At that point, as I tried to take the appropriate measures to lose the weight I’d gained; my dieting “agony” began. The diets I was trying were not healthy; I remember the time I did the “Chinese pill” diet and this diet consisted of barely eating and once I would decide to quit it, I would gain it back two fold! I was wearing a pant sized 16, and a short size XXL. I felt ugly. I couldn’t go shopping because I’d suffer seeing that everything I tried on looked awful on me. Several years went by this way, and I couldn’t lose the weight even though I tried, with no positive results.
One of the hardest things about being overweight is that it made me look older than I really am. People though I was 10-15 years older and that was very frustrating for me.
I suffered a lot as a kid and my weight made everyday a constant battle with myself. Simple things like running, walking, getting dressed and having fun with my friends were hard task, which is why I decided to transform my life forever. I’m a proud Colombian and I overcame obesity. I changed completely changed my diet and I opted for a much more active lifestyle. Most importantly, I saw myself with a more positive attitude and I left all my negative thoughts behind, thanks to my the inspiration of Alejandro Chabán. With patience and dedication, I focused day in and day out, meal by meal and thought by thought to reach my goal.
After having a baby, I was able to lose all the weight I gained from my pregnancy, but got stuck at 165 pounds. There was nothing that could help me lose that weight, and the frustration led to a very sedentary lifestyle and I lost all motivation. The fact that my sisters and friends were in amazing shape and were able to wear anything they wanted made it even more frustrating. I went up to a size 10 and I hated having to buy new clothes all the time. They all made me look older and bigger.
Growing up in a Middle Eastern family meant that everything we did was centered around food, and my mom loved to cook. Every single day she cooked a whole banquet for us. She would even get mad if we didn’t clean our plates. I remember that my cousin, Alejandro Chabán, and I were always the chubby ones in the family. We used to have competitions to see who ate more while the whole family cheered us on and even gave us prizes. We took a lot of family trips and Ale and I would eat anything we could find, even though inside I felt terrible, but I knew I'd always have him by my side as my accomplice.
After a few years, this became my whole life. I didn’t know anything else and food was my answer to happiness, sadness, anxiety, stress and anger. Deep down, I knew that this wasn’t the life I wanted for myself - I wanted to be a lot more active and enjoy playing baseball with my friends, going to parties and experiencing all those moments that I missed out on because of my weight. As a kid, I never worried about my health or the way I looked, but as the years went by I noticed the physical and emotional damage that had been done.
My struggle with weight started in my teenage years. I was never extremely obese but I was always chubby and couldn’t control it. Little by little I saw my weight increasing and without even knowing it, I’d gained 20 pounds. This made me feel uncomfortable and very unattractive, besides the fact that everyone told me I looked a lot older than I actually was.
I was stuck at that weight and there was nothing I could do to lose it. I tried a million different things to solve the problem but whatever weight I lost, I would gain right back. It became very frustrating because I really felt like there was no way in the world I could lose those 20 pounds. I remember just like it was yesterday… One Christmas I was looking at family pictures and instead of being happy, I couldn’t stop thinking about how big I looked. I hated that person in the pictures and knew it wasn’t me. This was the point when I said, “I’ve had enough!” and decided to leave that person in the past.
My story began after I found out that my daughter was sick. I have two children and they mean the world to me. Wendy, the oldest, was diagnosed with a disease that forced us to go to the hospital every day in order for her to receive strong treatments to combat the disease.
I was always a sedentary person. I never liked or tried to get involved in physical activities. I always signed up for the gym but never ended up going. I didn’t even do any outdoor activities like jogging or biking. I was just stuck in a routine of terrible eating habits and no exercise at all.
The truth is that it was awful to get to that point and not even notice it. In the blink of an eye, I’d gained over 100 pounds. It’s amazing how fast you can become obese without even realizing how much harm you’re doing to your body and self-esteem.
I was a small-framed person growing up, always around 139 pounds, but as the years went by and after 5 children, all of that changed. I was only 24 years old, but my last pregnancy was triplets so my body had to go through a lot and it completely changed me as a woman. Raising 5 children at such a young age caused a lot of stress and problems with my partner, and naturally all of my focus was on the children, so I neglected him and most importantly, I forgot about myself. The only thing that would help me deal with the stress was food; it became my friend and my escape from all the chaos. This situation spiraled out of control and I came to weigh a frightening 206 pounds.
I had a very normal childhood - I was always very happy, and surrounded by a loving family and friends. Even though I was happy, as the years went by I started to gain weight without even noticing. In my home, everything we ate was unhealthy, and my parents never encouraged me to execise, so I became 20 pounds overweight at just 19 years of age.
At this point in my life, especially because I’m a girl, it was very hard to deal with all the changes that came with adolescence. You start to feel attracted to boys and worry about the way you look. It was really frustrating to me that I couldn’t go shopping with my friends because I had to limit myself to buy “chubby” clothes, and I didn’t feel pretty or attractive. It was also very hard to deal with the cruelty of others that had no consideration for my feelings. They bullied me so much that I started to believe what they were saying. My self-esteem was shattered, and every time I looked at myself in the mirror I hated what I was seeing. I also felt tired all the time and I never wanted to do anything. It took me twice as long to get things done as it would everyone else. I could never run, jog or even walk a long distance. My least favorite time of the week was P.E. class - it was frustrating and embarrassing.
Seven years ago I got married, and at that point quit my job to dedicate all of my time to my home. I spent all my time at home watching TV and surfing the web. I did no physical activity whatsoever and because I was bored I just kept eating and eating all the time. My life became an endless routine of sedentary and terrible eating habits, which ultimately caused me to gain more than 100 pounds in less than 2 years. I was desperate because my body changed and I wasn’t comfortable with that. I also started to feel dizzy all the time and really tired because of the excess cholesterol and the heart problems that I started experiencing due to my obesity.
I was extremely depressed, had no energy, and didn’t know what to do or where to get help. One Tuesday morning, I was sitting on my couch feeling depressed, watching TV as usual, and I saw an episode of Despierta America in which Alejandro Chaban was talking about doing a mental diet and every single word he said just stuck with me. I felt like he was talking directly to me, so I started following him everywhere. I opened a Twitter account and added him to Facebook, and every single day I was more interested and identified with his approach to dieting. Ever since that day, I began to follow his advice and making all the recipes I saw on www.YesYouCanDietPlan.com. Their blog was my favorite part - they gave me amazing tips that got me motivated and gave me all the knowledge I needed to achieve my goals. I put into practice every single piece of information they gave and the change was amazing and immediate.
Ever since I was a little kid, I had problems with my weight. I remember that other kids in school and in my neighborhood always gave me nicknames, and the bullying was constant. I remember being called “piggy” and all the kids making fun of my weight with no regard for my feelings. I felt like a total loser! When I became a teenager, I stopped paying attention to the other kids, but I had another problem: I was interested in what the girls would think of me, I was unfortunately rejected many times. They all told me that they loved my personality and liked me as a friend but that they were really not attracted to me. Having to be in the “friend zone” with every girl I knew was my day to day nightmare and this caused me a lot of suffering.
I’d never really talked about this before Alejandro proposed the great Yes You Can!™ Diet Plan challenge to me. It felt really great to talk about it, especially with someone who had lived through everything that I had. I went through a very hard struggle with bulimia when I was 14. I used to throw up everything I ate and this made me really sick at one point. All the loneliness that I felt led me to eat compulsively and then I felt bad and had to throw up everything I ate. My parents were really concerned and the doctors could not figure out what was going on. I was too ashamed to tell them what I was doing.
One of the main disadvantages of being overweight is how it affected my self-esteem. My personal appearance was a disaster; I couldn’t find any pretty clothes that fit me, my arms didn’t fit in the shirts and my pants ripped because my thighs were rubbing against each other all the time. I couldn’t even find shoes that fit because my feet were too swollen, so I had to wear sandals every day. I gave up on going shopping because I knew that I wasn’t going to find anything that would make me feel pretty. Because of this, I always wore the same clothes, not wanting to change my appearance. Food became a comfort for me; I ate non-stop. I used to have pizza and soda for breakfast - in fact, I once ordered two large hamburger combos with sodas and fries with extra nuggets! It was a vicious cycle, and the more I ate, the more insecure I felt about myself, and my self-esteem was on the floor.
I didn’t even know there was a disease called Morbid Obesity until my routine check up with the doctor. Due to my high blood pressure, my doctor did blood work. When I went to pick up the results the bill was for $700, so I called my insurance to ask why the bill was so high and they told me that they couldn’t cover it because the diagnosis was Morbid Obesity. Naturally, I told the person in the lab that it was a mistake and that that was not what I had. The next day, I went to the doctor’s office to ask for an explanation and one of the nurses told me that in fact I was suffering from that disease. I was shocked. The worst part was when he said to me, “I don’t understand why you are scared - nowadays everybody has it”.
Thanks to my husband’s job, we had the pleasure of living in Italy for 3 years. It was an amazing experience that gave us a lot of satisfaction but it also made me pack on a lot of pounds…I was seduced by the pizza, the pasta and the wine. I can’t deny that like every good Mexican, I was used to succulent and greasy foods but the time we spent in Italy definitely took a major toll on my weight.
For years, I had to battle with my weight and I was tired and depressed. I hated what I saw in the mirror and I avoided going out because I was ashamed of myself. Honestly, I wanted to be invisible to people so that no one could see how sad and depressed I really was. I was getting tired of putting on that “mask” of the jolly chubby girl, and I was tired of pretending to be someone I wasn’t.
My whole life I considered myself a little chubby but never overweight. I assumed that it was how my body was build, and that a few extra pounds weren't a problem for me. I never thought about eating right or doing exercise. After my second pregnancy I started to gain weight, and ended up weighing 145 pounds. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t chubby anymore - I was overweight.
I was always tired, couldn’t enjoy my kids, and my energy levels were at an all-time low, and I felt distressed and without perspective. I was also very frustrated because of the way I looked. I wasn’t able to find pretty clothes that fit me and I didn’t feel attractive. My depression was horrible.
My life was horrible due to my overweight. I constantly felt sad, depressed, and I ate a lot of sweets (especially chocolate) to make myself feel better, which in the end made me feel worse. I was constantly stressed out; I preferred to stay home because my clothes did not fit me, and the boys didn’t even notice me. I stopped going to the beach or the pool because I didn’t want anyone to see me in swimsuit. One of the many experiences that I had being obese was when I traveled to one of the beaches in Venezuela, where I noticed that people have no compassion and they looked at you like you're from another planet when you’re overweight. Another time, we went to a restaurant and the waiter said, "We are going to give a double portion to this fat girl because one portion will not satisfy her.” He laughed and said, “This is good for us because we will charge her double.”
My friends always asked me why I was getting fatter. I had countless bad and sad memories at that time. The reasons that influenced my obesity were: stress, college, work, a sedentary life, not having stable and planned meals, lack of motivation, my divorce and two car accidents. While I was recovering from one of my accidents, I saw a morning television program in which Alejandro Chabán had a segment where he gives advice. I saw how he managed to change the lives of others, and I said, “One day he will help me." Now I am accomplishing my dreams and my goals! Alejandro Chabán has been my inspiration, my blessing and my motivation. I have seen how he managed to overcome obstacles and became a role model for the Latino community. In his book he speaks of being teased, not being accepted, not having many friends and many other things that I myself have experienced most of my life, and with every word I read, I said, “That was me!”
When you start to gain weight gradually you realize it, but hope that people don’t notice. For me, it was the other way around because I started to gain weight so rapidly that all of the people around me would notice and make comments to me every time they would see me. For a long time, the only question people would ask me was, “What happened? Why are you so fat?” and every time this would happen, my self-esteem would decrease and my weight would increase because depression would lead me straight to seeking comfort in food.
I had been thin my entire life, but at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with a condition called Endometriosis, which is exacerbated by menstrual problems, and in my case, it developed in my pelvis. My real struggles began when cancerous cells began to grow. During the treatment, I had to start taking a lot of medications that prevented me from doing a lot of activity and that caused my body to retain fat as a defense mechanism. During the time I was undergoing treatment, I was in a very dark place, none of the clothes that I had fit me, and I was ashamed of people seeing me. I stopped going out because I didn’t want people to keep asking me about my weight and having to explain my health condition a million times. I was so depressed that I even stopped working for a while. My weight was affecting all aspects of my life.
For as long as I can remember, I have been on a diet. I have been worried about my weight my entire life. After I turned 15, my eating habits got worse, so much so that I ended up becoming anorexic. This situation that I’d placed myself in seriously affected my life, as well as affecting my health and my surrounding environment. I was tired, sick and tormented by my eating disorder.
With a lot of help and support from my family, I managed to overcome my battle with anorexia, but no sooner had I conquered this disorder that I got pregnant and I began to put on weight again. I have to admit that I had a very sedentary life and I wasn’t eating properly. I attempted to shed the pounds whichever way served that purpose, even if I was risking my health. I'd do lots of crazy diets that would help for a few days, but then I would bounce back and gain twice the amount of pounds I had lost. Thanks to the rebound effect that these diets produce, which end up being dangerous and dysfunctional, my remedy for weight loss ended up being a worse alternative that led to prolonged sickness and my weight increased to 230 lbs.
When I was around 7 years old, I started to gain weight, and became the “fattie”. I had very happy toddler and preschool years, surrounded by friends and family, but also by comments and jokes about my weight.
My parents are originally from El Salvador, and that is where I grew up for the first 10 years of my life. At 13, my family and I came back to the United States and thus a trying and difficult time in my life ensued. I began my teenage years in a new and unknown country, and it was a complete culture shock. The social pressure was intense, and it affected and had a great impact on me. Here, the jokes are quite a bit harsher and more offensive than in my home country. My girlfriends at school looked like dolls, worried about looking pretty, always looking their best, dieting, boys, and fashion. I felt invisible, and when I wasn’t invisible, I was viewed in a negative light.
When I was overweight, I craved everything I saw. Every 5 minutes, I would see a different commercial on TV promoting “the best diet in the world” and everyone in my family would give me different advice. The first diet that I tried was the pineapple diet, which my cousin recommended to me. I lasted about 3 days eating only pineapple and lost 3 pounds of pure water, however at the end, I got terribly sick due to lack of nutrients. My doctor told me that I had almost become anemic.
In addition to this diet, I also tried hot and cold girdles, wrapped myself in plastic, stopped eating for 3 days straight and even injected myself with artichoke. Nothing worked for me and that caused me to grow more frustrated and caused my self-esteem to drop. During this time, the hardest thing was that no one wanted to see or be around me because I turned into a very negative person who was always bitter and in a bad mood. These changes in my mood created problems, even in my marriage and it hurt me because I love my husband like crazy and he continued to support me and the only thing he would receive from me was a bad attitude and very little affection.
I've never had a lot of problems with my weight, on the contrary! They used to call me names because I was so skinny. I first started gaining weight right after I had my first baby; in the blink of an eye I'd gained 70 pounds. During the months of pregnancy I never cared about my weight, I just thought I would lose the extra pounds as soon as I gave birth, but that didn’t actually happen. When my son was born, I tried every single type of diet but I never followed through. Since I’d never been overweight I really didn’t know how to deal with it. I felt like everyone’s eyes were always on me, and it really affected me psychologically. I only found comfort in food and that started a vicious circle that didn’t seem to end. I remember eating whole boxes of cereal and entire bags of bread without even realizing it.
Everything got worse when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and thyroid cancer. I was in treatment for 5 consecutive years. This led to many radiation therapies and low sodium diets that really affected my weight. Months went by and I was still stuck at the weight; I was unhappy, and I felt frustrated because there was nothing I could do about it. When I look back, I realize that I was doing a lot of things that were wrong. I was being negative and not really trying. I just gave up and forgot about myself, and never made an effort to eat better or even look better which affected my self-esteem even more.
Like many women, I’ve always had to be very careful of my weight and with what I eat so I don’t gain weight. I came to a point in my life, where the sadness and depression I felt from being away from my family, that was living in Guatemala, caused me to gain weight.
After two consecutive pregnancies, in which I gained a total of 68 lbs., I becaume 178 lbs. heavy and I didn’t know how to lose it. I didn’t want to be in photographs, I never wanted to go out, and I didn’t even want to visit my family in my home country because I didn’t want them to see how heavy I had become. I didn’t put makeup on or make myself look nice because I felt like nothing looked good on me and I hated shopping for clothes because I never found anything I liked. My husband was very understanding and very patient, but I didn’t feel like I was attractive to him and this was even more frustrating.
What made me want to lose weight was that I no longer wanted to be depressed due to my overweight, and I could no longer handle my severe back pain. I have a condition in my lower back called Spinal Stenosis, as well as arthritis and hernias. All of this makes me so uncomfortable and being as overweight as I was, the discomfort was tripled. I could not exercise, and it was even hard to get up sometimes. During one of my doctor’s visits, my doctor was honest with me and said, “If you want to be cured of all your pain, it is imperative that you lose all of the extra weight your body is carrying.” I wanted to seek another opinion about my sickness, so I visited a surgeon that told me, “I have officially broken the record with you. You are the youngest patient I’ve treated with this condition, and if you want to get better without an operation, you need to lose weight. If you don’t, you will need an operation, physical therapy, and you will need to get an epidural injection every 6 months.”
I started looking for new ways to lose the weight, because I had already tried everything, without any luck. I was pretty much hopeless. I would look at myself in the mirror and see the cellulite in my thighs, and I looked worn out even though I was only 35 years old. Soon afterwards, I turned on the TV and saw Alejandro Chabán with Cristina Álvarez, who lost weight using the Yes You Can!™ Diet Plan, and I got excited. The supplements helped me feel in control, and sometimes relieved my anxiety. The plan lets me eat a lot of the foods I really like, including the Latin dishes with which I grew up, and it’s not a diet where I have to feel starved. I also love the protein shakes- especially the ones that are vanilla flavored.
When you’re overweight, there are so many things that make your life difficult. What bothered me the most was feeling sick every single day. Due to my weight, I suffered everyday with massive headaches that would not go away, no matter how much pain medication I took. Along with that, I was always tired. I didn’t want to move, and even if I wanted to, I didn’t have the energy to have fun and play with my daughter. I always tried to do extreme diets and stop eating, but what would actually happen in the end was that I would be in more pain and have less motivation.
I had been thin my entire life. In fact, people always called me “skinny girl” or “skinny little thing”, which drew the attention away from the way I ate. I thought that my body was naturally that way, and that I would always have that type of body.
At 15, I was able to make my dream come true with the help of the Yes You Can! Diet Plan from Alejandro Chabán. My family owns a restaurant, so I was constantly surrounded by food, and ate even when I wasn't hungry. Eating out of habit and exceeding on sweets and sugar caused my weight to spiral out of control and affected my self esteem.
I was always chubby as a kid, but when I turned 16, my weight gain began to spiral out of control. What affected me the most was that at this point my parents decided to come to the US and I started to miss my native Honduras very much. I had left all of my friends and family back home and this created a huge gap in my life. I hid all of my anxiety and sadness with food, and at 17 my weight was 217 lb. My teenage years were full of exhaustion, excessive sleeping, low self-esteem and staying at home all the time to hide from the rest of the people my age. My weight even affected my age because at 17, I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and hormonal issues that lead to very irregular menstrual cycles.
One of the things that affected me when I was fat was having to go to the adults section and buy the most boring styles ever!
Food had always been a refuge for me and my greatest weakness, but it made me feel like I was in heaven for a few moments, and then dragged me into hell for the rest of the time. Recounting my experience of being overweight is painful for me, and just thinking about it puts a knot in my throat.
On December 31st, I couldn’t stop thinking or feeling frustrated over how horrible I looked with my XL size clothes; I was forced to buy it because nothing else could fit me. Meanwhile, my cousin is looking spectacular and is the life of the party in her size S dress.
The worst moment of my life was when I heard my doctor tell me that I was at risk for hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol if I didn’t do something about my overweight.
The reasons for which I decided to lose weight were my two children, who are my everything and I want to be full of life for them.
As a kid, I was thin, but when I turned 14, I began gaining weight uncontrollably. My weight gain was due ot a drastic change in my eating habits, since my family had just moved to the United States from Venezuela at the time. Here, everything was different; it was rushed and I became addicted to fast food and microwaveable foods, like pizza and empanadas. I also began to substitute water for juice and soda, and sometimes I could even consume up to 2 liters of soda in one day. At the beginning of my weight gain I wasn’t worried, but I became concerned once people started looking at me differently, as if they felt sorry for me; also, my clothes wouldn't fit me comfortably. Once I decided to take action, I was 250 lbs., and wearing a size 17.
At that moment, I felt like the “ugly duckling” because my friends were all beautiful. My partner at the time wasn’t supportive in any of it, and even asked me, “Who is going to look at a fat girl like you?”. This hurt me very deeply and I became depressed, but I kept eating because I was trying to forget about what I was going through. But even when I was full, I’d continue eating. My parents were hurting seeing me this way, and had no idea what to do to help. I don’t think one day went by in which my mom didn’t see me crying, and she would tell me, “One day you will get where you want to be.”
The most traumatic moment of my life while I was obese was when I went up a flight of stairs and fainted because my body couldn’t take the pressure. From that moment on, I knew I had to change my life forever. I stopped eating junk food and I understood that having little or no time to eat at school is not an excuse to have a malnutrition.
My problems began when I arrived to the United States from Colombia. I started to try all different types of foods. I went crazy trying all sorts of foods that I had never had before. Fast food was my weakness; it was easy, cheap and tasty. I started to gain weight but I never really noticed it. I had my first child during this time and my weight reached 220 pounds. I was aware that I was at an unhealthy weight but I kept eating, even though I always felt guilty afterwards. Everything started to change when my weight started to affect my mood, my self-esteem and my desire to live. I never left my house so I had hardly any friends and every day was more frustrating because nothing I wanted to wear would fit me. I would turn to food for comfort and I got stuck in a vicious cycle.
I’ve always had problems with my weight, ever since I was a little girl; I was the “chubby” one in the house. For a long time I accepted this fact and let it control my life. Once I became a teenager, I started feeling even more uncomfortable in my weight, along with all the health problems it was causing me.
When I first met my mentor, friend and idol, Alejandro Chabán, I had decided to read his book. He states that he was just like me, having gone through the same things that I had, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel and it was at that moment that I realized that changing my life was a real possibility
I started gaining weight when I was 18 years old. Between school and work, I had no time to really cook or plan my meals. I usually just had some chocolate cereal or I skipped breakfast altogether. That’s when all my bad eating habits started and over that year I gained my first 10 extra pounds. My eternal battle with the scale started then… Because I was always running from work to school, I went for the fastest and cheapest options so I ate a lot of fast food. After my first child was born, it really got out of control and my weight increased to 210 pounds. I lost a little bit of weight post pregnancy, but my second child came and I gained even more weight. My physical and emotional health was really affected by this point. I was terrified because I’d tried every diet I could and saw no results. I had lost all confidence and faith in myself. I really thought there was something wrong with me, even though I was going to school for health administration and was taking a lot of health-related classes but I still thought I had a problem.
My obesity affected me in many different aspects. I became totally antisocial; I never wanted to spend time with friends or family or even leave my house. My family life was very affected because my husband and my children were seeing a sad, depressed Jane they had never seen before. The most painful day was when my sister-in- law saw me after two years and said, “You’re always going to be chubby, but when are you going to take care of yourself? You’re very sick.” Her comment made me realize that it was only up to me to get my life together. I couldn’t continue having all this pain in my body - the headaches, irregular menstrual cycles and the anemia. Soon thereafter, I called my mom and cried my eyes out. I had to vent because I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her that I was gathering the money to get my Yes You Can!™ Diet Plan products and she offered to get me my first kit because she knew that I was in a very difficult financial situation. Luisa Velasquez, who was in Despierta America with Alejandro, was the one who inspired me and helped me throughout my process. It was very hard to get into the habit of planning my meals but I followed the guide and got the hang of it. The supplements and the shakes helped me so much, and from the first days I was able to see amazing results and the best part was that I was able to keep eating all the delicious foods that I love, and especially all my traditional Colombian dishes. I just had to adjust the recipes to the guide and keep living a normal life. Activity also became an important part of my life, and not a day goes by where I don’t do something for my body or my mind. I keep preparing myself for everything that’s coming and I feel better every single day.
I’ve always remembered being the chubby girl, the little fatty, the pretty face with a little extra weight. Being puerto rican, I lived surrounded by food, celebrations and Latin customs that didn’t help me have a healthy lifestyle. Apart from that, I always had a very sedentary life. Fortunately, this is around the time that Alejandro Chabán came into my life and gave me the tools I needed to reach my goal.
I remember my childhood in Uruguay being very uneventful. I was always mom’s little princess but in my adolescence she passed away and her loss affected me profoundly. A few years later, I came to live with my sister in New Jersey and this made me have to grow up very quickly. I met my husband here, and started a family. I was always chubby, but after my second pregnancy I began gaining weight uncontrollably. I weighed 205 lbs., I was a size 16 and hated being in pictures. I was very depressed and constantly in a bad mood.
I was always irritable around my husband and my kids and was snacking all day and my kids were following my poor example and imitating my eating habits. I love baked goods and I was always baking cupcakes and pancakes. I would make excuses, saying the kids were hungry and that way I could make a big breakfast and eat 4-6 pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage. I cooked throughout the day and ate double portions at each meal. My insecurity and depression were so bad that I ended up in the hospital almost every week because of the anxiety I felt when I left my house.
My story is a lot like many others about mothers, who after giving birth, dedicate their lives to taking care of their families and forget about themselves and their health- soon realize that they are overweight. I was lucky enough to have my brothers support, the guru of Diets, Alejandro Chabán. I still had to go through a complicated process that in the end helped me lose over 30 pounds and have the body I always dreamed of.
Ever since I lost weight, I feel like I was born again. Life gave me a second chance and I’m a different person. For the first time in 15 years I’m enjoying my life 100%.
My name is Angie Perez, I’m 29 years old, and I weighed 200 lbs. After my first pregnancy, my body and eating habits were out of control and I began to gain weight. It didn’t seem to me like I was that overweight because I’d always been chubby. I was frustrated because no matter how hard I tried to lose weight doing all types of different diets, they didn’t help me lose weight and I ended up gaining even more. People I knew referred to me as the sweet, chubby girl and that made me feel depressed. I felt bad, and I wore black clothing all the time. I wouldn’t dare wear a skirt or a dress because I hated how people looked at me.
After my second pregnancy, since I was breastfeeding I felt like I needed to eat more so the baby would be healthy. I am a Lactation Consultant and I always thought I would be able to diet while breastfeeding.
I started having problems with my weight when I was 5 years of age. I had always been the chubby kid of the class and this always made me feel different. The root of my obesity was at my home. Like many Latin homes, being chubby is equal to being healthy, so I learned a lot of unhealthy eating habits. I even considered myself a bread addict. I tried to lose weight by incorporating an exercise routine, but it didn’t work because I didn’t change the way I ate. After trying many extreme diets that my friends recommended, I was fortunate enough to meet Alejandro Chabán and to work with him and his team of specialist in order to achieve my goal.
I always felt like I was less than everybody else, like everything I said or did didn’t matter because of my weight. It was hard to look at myself in the mirror because it made me feel depressed that I couldn’t look like my friends; I did anything to avoid it.
The death of my 5-year-old daughter caused me to have great amount of anxiety and depression in my life, and the only thing I wanted to do was to eat uncontrollably. I felt like this was the only way I was going to be able to feel any better, so I binged on anything I found: bread, burgers, pizza, soda and all kinds of greasy snacks. I was experiencing an extreme levels of fluid retention, and my whole body was bloated. Simple things, like tying my own shoes, became a mission.
Just like a lot of Latinos, my problems with obesity started right at home. My mother cooked the most delicious meals every day without knowing that these were affecting my health and self esteem. The excess of fried foods, white flour, creamy sauces and lots of desserts caused me to developed a very unhealthy appetite, to the point where I suffered from gastritis. With malnutrition and a very sedentary lifestyle, that caused my weight to go up, I also developed a serious emotional problem that kept me from feeling truly happy.
My name is Lorena Gasga, I’m 28 years old and I’m Mexican. When I first moved to the United States, I was completely overwhelmed by everything around me, and the last thing I was thinking about at this point was my nutritional habits. With this thought NOT in mind, I reached up to 200 pounds after my second baby.
Another obstacle I had to overcome was that I work as a cook in a fast food restaurant, so even if I didn’t eat anything at the restaurant, I would get home and binge on anything I could find. Being surrounded by food all day made me very anxious. Because I saw fast food all day, I lost the notion of what a balanced and healthy meal was. I went through a lot of emotional changes; the mood swings I was having caused a lot of problems at work and with my family. During my work hours, my weight was always a problem since I have to stand all day long; my legs would hurt because of the weight and my varicose veins.
I love the Yes You Can! ™ Diet Plan because I can eat the things I like the most and I’m no longer starving. I don’t feel like I’m dieting because this has become a lifestyle for me. I am obsessed with the protein shakes - I love them! They are my salvation for school, the drives home and even for my trips back home to Ecuador. I lost 53 pounds and went from a size 14 to a size 2. I feel amazing, thanks to Alejandro Chabán and his Yes You Can! ™ Diet Plan!"
A fashion, makeup, and accessories lover, Cristina Alvarez was never able to enjoy the pleasures of her age group, and whenever she went to the mall with her friends, she had to go straight to the plus-size section because young and hip clothes didn’t fit her. Consistently frustrated and annoyed, she opted to avoid shopping altogether because she always ended up sad and discouraged. Cristina, or “Titi”, as everyone knows her, loved to dress up to feel beautiful but even her own father made her feel inadequate, making comments such as, “Why do you wear so much make up with a body like that?” This was very hurtful, and not only did she have to live with loneliness, taunts, and insecurity in school, but she also had to put up with discouraging words at home. This 19 year-old Ecuadorian was able to change her life completely and has been able to lose 53 pounds saying YES YOU CAN.
My name is Monserrath León, and I’m 21 years old. I have to confess that my teenage years were very painful because I was never happy with myself. I always felt sad and angry and kept dreaming that I would one day close my eyes and when I opened them, my nightmare would be over. At school, I was treated differently because of my weight, which totally wrecked my self-esteem. I remember that I couldn't do simple things like sit properly and cross my legs; it made me feel like an outsider. Everyone around me was thin except me so I always felt alienated.
I always had conflicting thoughts regarding my meals because I thought that it was too late for me so I might as well eat whatever I wanted. When I found out about the Yes You Can!™ Diet Plan by Alejandro Chabán, I knew it wasn’t like all the other diets I tried before. I could feel that this was different, so I gave it a try and started changing my life.
“A difficult moment that I recall from my obesity period was when it was time to look for my high school prom dress. That moment I realized that a size 21 was way too tight for me and I didn’t have a lot to choose from…”
This is a small reflection of how Karla’s life was when she was overweight. This was a very harsh moment for a teenage girl and Karla had to live through it. While all her friends enjoyed their lives and could wear whatever they wanted, she had to settle for whatever she could find that fit her.
Being overweight affects everything in your life. Since I was a little girl, I had to deal with obesity and I had a very hard time with it. I always wanted to do regular things, like playing soccer, but my brother would say, “Be careful because they’re going to confuse you with the ball and they might kick you instead.” They use to call me “the ball”… I never went to parties because I had nothing to wear, and I’d try on 10 dresses and none of them would fit me, so instead of going out and having fun, I would stay at home crying and feeling depressed. Then as an adult, and after I gave birth, my weight increased to 175 pounds, and I was ready to give up because I had lost all hope.
One day soon thereafter, I was watching TV and saw the Yes You Can!™ Diet Plan. Thanks to God and Alejandro Chabán, (who I feel is a part of my family), I’ve lost 55 pounds in only a few months. I feel more active, I get to wear what I really want, I'm wearing makeup again, heels and do a lot to take care of my appearance that I didn’t do before. I went from a size 12 to a size 6 and my self-esteem went through the roof.
My name is Daniela Chapa, I'm 34 years old, and I’m originally from Matamoros, Mexico and now live in Virginia. Years ago, I never worried about my weight; I thought I was a healthy woman because I kept active by working every day. I saw overweight people as outsiders who had nothing to do with me. After my last pregnancy, I quit my job and dedicated to my home. I devoted myself to my children, and all I did when I finished my chores was to eat and sleep. I dealt with monotony, boredom and my solitude by eating and everything became a challenge for me.
Even picking things up from the floor was extremely difficult for me; I could not get up and had to yell for help. It was very humiliating because I felt like an old lady, and being alone at home caused so much anxiety. I even had a few anxiety episodes that put me in a bad mood and drove me to eat as if it were the last day of my life. I would eat anything and everything - even my nails! My weight went up to 149 pounds, and though it seemed small in number, my whole body would hurt because of the excess fat. My relationship with my teenage daughter was a battle because of my mood and depression.
We all know that a lot of people who are overweight take a long time to realize that they have a problem and that it is necessary to do something about it. Fortunately, Miguel Cote realized this even as a teenager, and decided to make a transformation in his life. With plenty of discipline and motivation from Alejandro Chabán, he was able to lose more than 50 pounds to regain control of his life, his health, and now, he isn’t only thin but has also turned into a hottie.
Miguel had to go through many difficult moments in his life because of his obesity. Like many other people that struggle with their weight, he hid behind a mask, pretending that everything was fine and that he was happy. The reality of the situation was that every day he felt sadder and lonelier. Humor and laughter would be Miguel’s defense mechanism to hide all of his insecurity and hang-ups he carried.
eing obese as a teenager is one of the most traumatizing experiences that anyone can go through, and José Luis had this experience firsthand. This young Venezuelan lived in what most people would consider “hell” for many years until he finally decided to make a transformation, say Yes You Can!, and lose more than 120 pounds!
It was always hard for this triumphant young kid to feel different from the rest of his friends. He couldn’t run and have fun with like them because it would cause him a lot of pain and this would destroy his self-esteem. One of the most vivid memories José Luis has of his obesity is when he had to start wearing adult clothes. At this point he not only felt different, but started looking different, and all of the jokes said about his weight multiplied.
My name is Odalis Rodríguez, I’m 43 years old, I’m Cuban and I currently live in Alexandria, Virginia. My weight problems started when I first got to America from my home country; the culture shock affected me quite a bit. When I got here, I had back to back pregnancies and I started to eat with absolutely no control. I would get into fights with my (now) ex husband constantly because he just criticized me every single day due to my obesity. One day, he told me I looked horrible because I was way too heavy, and that he was no longer in love with me and had no desire for me as a woman; that really crushed me. Obesity ultimately led to my divorce and into a deep depression.
My obesity led to me to quit the thing I love to do the most in life, to sing. I was too sad to do it and I was always out of breath. Because of my obesity, I became asthmatic and son after, I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. Looking back, I’m not surprised, because I kept eating fried foods, beans, rice, tostones and everything I could get my hands on. All of these terrible habits drove my weight up to 210 pounds! One day I saw a picture that I took next to my mother and I couldn’t believe how old and overweight I looked. That’s when I told myself that I had to stop. Coincidentally, that was the same week I saw Alejandro Chabán on Despierta América with one of his success stories; I burst into tears because I saw myself reflected in that person. From then on, he became my guide and every single day I thank God for the Yes You Can!™ Diet Plan.
This story is proof that nothing, no matter how difficult it may seem, is impossible. With the proper dedication, discipline, and motivation, anyone can reach incredible goals. Cristian was able to transform his life completely thanks to his great efforts and the support given by Alejandro Chabán. Cristian took on the challenge, said Yes You Can! and in only six months he was able to lose 110 pounds and begin a new life.
Cristian struggled with overweight all of his life and because of this, he suffered tremendously. His health, his body, his social life and even his relationships were severely affected by his obesity. Due to hardships he faced in his life, Cristian gained a tremendous amount of weight. His eating habits and anxiety led him to take refuge in food and ignore his health. Fortunately, this young Guatemalan was able to find the strength he needed in Alejandro Chabán’s story, and he finally stopped hurting himself and began showing himself love.
My name is Lismeth Pesce, I’m 40 years old, live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and am Venezuelan/Italian. My struggle with weight began at a very early age. When I was approximately 6 years old my grandparents forced me to eat, worried about my lack of appetite, and that added to the cultural pressure of never wasting food. To them, rejecting a plate of food was considered offensive. This obviously led to different eating disorders that later caused a constant increase and decrease in my weight. I would do strict and dangerous diets - those “miracle” methods that cause a lot of irreparable damage like stretch marks in several parts of my body.
My biggest problem began when my family and I decided to leave our home and start a dream life in America. I had gained an alarming amount of weight over the years and being overweight had quickly turned into being obese. That’s when all my major health issues started. By 2012, I went up to 250 pounds and my health worsened. It wasn’t only the hypertension, though; I was also diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition called Endometrial Hyperplasia with atypical cells. Toward the middle of the year, a hysterectomy was performed and I started to reflect on the need to regain control over my life. A new Lismeth had to be born!
It was around that time that I saw Alejandro Chabán on Despierta América and I was really drawn to the idea of the “traffic light” diet. I realized that everything I ate regularly was part of the red column, and this was a huge eye-opener that led me to change my way of eating with all the tools Alejandro Chabán gave me to accomplish this. Alejandro is my angel and he was more supportive than my own family. I remember talking to him on the phone and him saying, “I’m rooting for you”… those simple words made me believe in myself and in everything that I could accomplish: leaving behind more than 20 years of failure and changing once and for all the way I ate and took care of myself.
If you’re seeking inspiration to change your life, read on to Beatriz Montoya´s amazing story. This Colombian woman is a fighter that overcame many obstacles in her life, including a difficult battle against overweight. Luckily, and thanks to the inspiration brought by Alejandro Chabán, she lost 50 pounds and regained control over her weight.
She started to gain weight when she left Colombia and arrived in the United States, due to the change in food and her irregular schedule. As she started gaining weight, her self-esteem began to suffer seriously. Her health was also at risk; she had high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, and her thyroid condition was out of control.
Rubén’s story is another wonderful success story and further proof that the Yes You Can ™ Diet Plan is for everyone, including young people who suffer from overweight. This Cuban youngster suffered a lot during his teens because of his obesity and at only 17 years of age, decided to change his life forever. With the help of Alejandro Chabán, he was able to lose over 30 pounds and leave behind all of the unhealthy habits and food consumption and transform his body, his health and his life.
When Rubén arrived in the United States from Cuba, he failed to take care of his health and lost control of his weight. The cultural shock and the fact that he was apart from his father led him to look for refuge in food products, reaching 200 pounds. Rubén felt very lonely and kept eating chips, pizza, chocolate and every type of candy he encountered. Because of his obesity, he was rejected and taunted in school, didn’t have a lot of friends and the girls that he liked acted like he didn’t exist. Due to the rejection, he stayed at home most of his free time watching TV and playing video games while eating hot dogs, frozen foods and sugary sodas.