My name is Ana Ortiz, I am 47-years-old and from Dominican Republic. Currently, I live in Queens, New York.
My name is Martha Valtierra. I am 38 years old, I am Mexican, and I live in the city of Los Angeles, California.
Janett Tirado is 36 years old. She is a housewife and married to Jorge Valenzuela, 38 years old, who works installing appliances.
My name is Vilma Cristina Mendoza. I am 38 years old. I am from El Salvador, and I live in California.
My name is Amanda Morales. I am a 37-year-old woman living in Long Beach, California and born in Nicaragua.
My name is Denisse Martinez. I am a 28-years-old Puerto Rican woman who lives in the Sunshine State: Florida.
My name is Claudia Beltrán. I am 38 years old. I am Mexican, I have 4 daughters, and I live in Texas.
My name is Evelyn Sandoval. I am 32 years old. I am Mexican. When I was a teenager, I came to the United States to join my father in New York.
My name is Diana Urueña. I am 32 years old, and I'm from Colombia. I am married and have two children.
My name is Nereyda Cortéz. I’m 26 years old. I’m Mexican, I live in Texas and I am a mother of two children.
My name is Francisca Tejada. I Am 47 years old. I am from El Salvador and live in Des Moines, Iowa. I am proud to be one of the Yes You Can! weight loss Success Stories.
My name is Zenia Godoy, I am 40 years om. I'm from Guatemala, and I live in West Palm Beach. I am married and have 3 kids.
My name is Rita Alvarez. I’m 34 years old. I was born in Mexico, and I live in Los Angeles, California.
My name is Rosa Reyes. I am Dominican and 45 years old. I live in New York. I have been obese since I was a child, and I was always the chubbiest in my family. I was surrounded by people who were also overweight… and even then I was the chubbiest one! I didn’t fit in.
My name is Vanessa Naveda. I’m 31 years old. I'm Venezuelan, and I live in Texas with my husband and my daughters.
My name is Carol Feliciano. I’m 27 years old; I was born in Jupilco, Mexico; and I live in Miami, FL.
I’ve been overweight ever since I can remember. My parents thought that being chubby meant being healthy. In my house, we’d make all kinds of delicious Mexican food, like tacos, tortillas with lots of rice, beans, and fried carnitas filled with sauce and cheese. I couldn’t stop eating.
When I was I teenager, I was very jealous of my friends because they were very skinny and would wear beautiful clothes and all kinds of heels… I felt worthless next to them.
My weight got worse when I got married, reaching up to 140 pounds and a size L. I looked older than I was, especially next to my husband, who is the exact same age as me.
I tried to lose weight because I didn’t want to feel so big anymore, but it never worked. Until I saw a Success Story from Alejandro Chabán on Despierta América.
I started following the “Yes You Can! Diet Plan” on social media, and I realized that it was a diet plan that fit my lifestyle and is filled with delicious Latin food, so I decided to start my transformation.
The supplements are wonderful. Because they are made with 100% natural ingredients, I never had any side effects. The protein shakes made me realize my love for cooking delicious and healthy recipes.
Thanks to Alejandro Chabán’s guidance and support I fought for my dream of losing weight. Today I’ve lost 35 pounds, I love cooking healthy recipes, I’m a size XS, and I use all kinds of heels! I’ve reached my goal of having a happy, healthy life, and everybody is always looking at me, especially my husband. And now I look younger than he does!
My name is Sheila Beltran, I'm 37 years old, I'm from Puerto Rico and I currently live in the city of Columbus, Ohio. Ever since I was 10 I've lived traumatized by my weight. I remember that my mom used to put girdles on me to hide my body, but unfortunately that did not work because it gave me more food cravings.
I was always a victim of ridicule and rejection because of my weight. Also, I was constantly looking for love until I fell for the wrong person. This was a horrible experience that ended in domestic violence. He constantly humiliated me, beat me and the only words that came out of his mouth were fatty, bristle, cow and things like "nobody is going to notice you". I felt like nothing when I heard him say things like "you disgusting fatso, you're not sleeping on my bed, you get to sleep on the floor like an animal".
I decided not to leave my house because I had been transformed into 320 pounds of something that I didn't even recognize. I lived threatened by my ex-partner so I spent the whole day without eating and only ate when he got home. My diet was a total mess and my weight kept going up. I didn't want to leave my house because I was afraid that I was going to get mocked over my big belly, my arms or my huge big hips. I thought my nightmare was never going to end until the police came and took that bully away.
Eager for my life to take on a new direction, I tried many diets but I always gained the weight back until my angel , Alejandro Chabán, appeared and helped me move past both the abuse and humiliation. My favorite products are the protein shakes; the vanilla is the best way to enjoy a healthy and delicious snack that calms all my cravings. Also, I never thought that collagen was that effective! It really helped with my excess skin while I was losing weight.
Today, thanks to Yes You Can! Diet Plan, I'm half the person I was before. I've lost 168 pounds and regained my self-esteem. I feel liberated, I love myself, and I want to fight for my health and my dreams. Thank you Alejandro Chabán, you taught me to regain control of my life and to always say ... Yes You Can!
My name is Carlos Piantini, I'm Dominican, I’m 27 years old and live in the Bronx, New York where I moved with my family a few years ago in search of a better life.
My name is Patricia Salazar, I’m 23 years old and I live in Tennessee. My life changed when I gained over 60 pounds after my first pregnancy. That’s when my life as a “fatty” started. Because I had a big belly, people would constantly ask me if I was pregnant, and that was very painful and frustrating for me.
I would wear what little clothes would fit me in a size XL and people would think that I was twice as old as I really am; I would even go to my husband’s soccer games all dressed in black. It didn’t matter if it was a hot and sunny day, I’d still prefer to wear long pants than show my arms or my legs. I tried all sorts of diets where I’d stop eating, but my anemia would only get worse. I thought that by eating junk food I’d obtain nutrients.
I’d also kill myself working out at the gym, but I’d never lose weight. One day while browsing the internet, I read that in order to lose weight I had to start by changing my nourishment and that’s when I found the Yes You Can! Diet Plan. I learned how to eat my favorite mexican dishes, but in a healthier way. The protein shakes go with me everywhere because I receive all my nutrients in a healthy and effective way, without having side effects from anemia.
I’ve been on the Yes You Can! Diet Plan, which I now consider my new family and I’ve lost 54 lbs! One of my biggest triumphs if the fact that I don’t have a belly anymore. Today I’m a healthy and happy wife and mother. Because I Lost 54 lbs, I can now wear younger looking clothes that come in size XS and the best part is that I don’t have anemia anymore! THANK YOU ALEJANDRO CHABÁN!
My name is Yasmin Tejeda, I’m Dominican and I live in Boston, Massachusetts. After my 4th pregnancy I noticed a huge change in my metabolism and in my lifestyle…Every day it became harder for me to lose weight. I quit my job to take care of my kids and this change really affected me; I went from being very active and moving around all day to just staying home eating and putting on pound after pound until I got to 175! My oldest daughter used to tell me: "mom you need to go back to who you were, you look unhealthy!” Every day that went by it took longer for me to find clothes that fit. I felt asphyxiated, depressed and desperate… to the point that I actually called a doctor and scheduled a liposuction.
My name is María Fernanda Pico, I was born in Ecuador, but live in New York City. The bullying I lived because of my obesity started in my own home, as early as my teenage years. My family would tell me to lose weight, that I should have been ashamed of my big belly. But my mom would cook the most delicious and greasy food, I just couldn’t stop eating.
My name is Sheila Escudero. I’m 25 years old, I'm Mexican, and I live in Ohio.
I had always been slim until I started working as a kitchen assistant for a fast food restaurant.
I worked so much and for so many years that I became a general manager for the restaurant; however, I forgot about myself.
My name is Irlanda Benedit, I’m 30 years old and from Nicaragua. I live in the city of Bell Garden in California, where I found my prince charming. I always loved dressing up and going out for dinner with my husband; I believed love came through the kitchen.
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.
My name is Noelia Saez. I am 33-years-old and Puerto Rican.
For as long as I can remember, my mom, my aunt and I would get together and diet. But, dieting was just not my thing. I would start them on Monday, and by Wednesday I gave into my fried food cravings.
I weighed 242 pounds
No guy would ever look at me, which made me feel depressed. I also lived a sedentary life. Always sitting, never been able to participate in sports.
I got to a size 22
When I was 21-years-old, I met my first boyfriend. And once I had children, the pounds just kept coming. I hated my body, specially my hips.
I considered Bariatric Surgery
When I couldn’t take it anymore, I decided to sign up for Bariatric Surgery. Only for the doctor to tell me I needed five extra pounds.
Research changed my life
After realizing I needed to change my life, I decided to do research, and found the Yes You Can! Diet Plan. Reading Alejandro’s inspirational story saved my life.
I am a size 6
Now I am part of this family and one of the weight loss success stories I have learned to plan, and prepare delicious and healthy recipes. And the best thing is, that these are based on natural products that have helped me reached my goal.
My name is Maria Jose Escalante. I was born in El Salvador, but I currently live in California.
Obesity was not a new thing for me. I was overweight and had cholesterol problems at only 7-years-old.
I weighed 220 pounds
When I was a teenager, my weight became such a nightmare that I tried to commit suicide twice. My mom would try to comfort me by buying me ice cream. And, everyone would tell me I was too big bone to lose weight.
Then my life drastically changed
I decided to change my life using Alejandro Chaban’s Yes You Can! Diet Plan regardless of people’s remarks. And it has been my biggest blessing.
I have lost 60 pounds
The kit that better suited my lifestyle was the Transform Kit On The Go, which allowed me to balanced my busy school and work life with Meal Replacements. In order to combat lose skin, I decided to try the Collagen too. And it worked like magic.
Now I am a size M
My name is Cary Sánchez, and I’m from Mexico. I’m 43 years old, and I live in Miami, Florida.
I’m a wife and a mother of 4 children, and I work as a secretary. I wasn’t able to finish High School, so I devoted myself to my family.
I really don’t remember being thin in my younger years.
My most embarrassing moment happened when I was already married. On a date night, I went to the bathroom and overheard on of the wives saying to the other “that fat one looked so ridiculous with that blue dress”. They were talking about me!
I stayed in the stall crying because of the insult I had just heard.
My weight reached 225 lbs, and that’s why in 2011 I decided to get the gastric bypass, which was very painful.
After the surgery, I lost 100 lbs. But I failed.
I decided to get a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin. Then, a year later, I gained 120 lbs and lost $31,000 between both surgeries, which in the end had no lasting effects.
I wondered" "If others can lose weight with it, why can’t I?"
I was watching Despierta America and finally got inspired. I threw away four packs of cookies I was having for breakfast, and I went on the Yes You Can! Diet Plan website to order it.
I feel lucky to have found a plan that went along with my busy lifestyle: the Transform Kit On The Go. It’s my best option because the Meal Replacements go with me wherever I go and allow me to have my 5 meals wherever I am.
Thanks to the Collagen, which I take daily as part of the nutritional supplements, it’s no longer necessary to think of a tummy tuck because it helps my skin stick to my body naturally as I lose the weight.
I accomplished my goal.
Now I use the Maintain Kit On-The-Go. As a student, having a solution that fits my lifestyle made a tremendous change in my eating habits. Thanks to Yes You Can! Diet Plan, now I haven’t only accomplished my health goal, but I’m finishing school and working on getting my High School diploma.
It’s never too late to transform your life and become a Success Story. I did it thanks to Yes You Can! Diet Plan!
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.
My name is Thelma Bernal. For the first 10 years of my life, I lived in my parents’ native country, El Salvador.
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.