Ali’s weight loss story: ‘To be the person that I know is inside of me’ |

Ali’s weight loss story: ‘To be the person that I know is inside of me’

I’d like to share an inspiring weight loss story from one of our members at South Yuba Club. Her story is inspiring – not simply because she lost weight but rather how she lost it. How she lost the weight ultimately has very little to do her health club, her trainer, her workout or her diet. How she chose to approach her weight loss is the reason she was successful when so many people are not.

Unhappy memories and lack of confidence is where Ali’s journey began. Instead of focusing solely on weight loss, Ali started her process of change with a simple but deeper statement: “I want to be the person that I know is inside of me.” Her journey was about more than weight loss. From that position, her actions took on greater momentum because her change was about more than just weight, it was about her. She did not live or die by the number on the scale. In fact, she didn’t step on the scale for over a year.

Ali measured her success by how often she ate whole foods and exercised. She feels too many people have unrealistic expectations with regard to how fast they will lose weight. “If your weight loss doesn’t happen on time then it’s easy to feel like you’re failing and give up.” she said. Ali focused on the skills she wanted to develop; eating healthy foods and daily exercise. Her weight came off slowly over time with no set schedule and no feelings of failure.

Ali didn’t follow a special diet or count calories. However, she did use the book “Simple Food For Busy Families,” by Jeannette Bessinger and Tracee Yablon-Brenner, to help her develop a healthy diet based on unprocessed whole foods. This means she didn’t eat anything from a box or a can. Ali ate meat, nuts, vegetables and fruits but limited starches, grains and sugar. Skipping the “white foods” (sugar/starch) lowers the hormone insulin which decreases the body’s ability to store fat and allows more fat from the fat cells to be burned for energy. Since insulin is the body’s main fat storage hormone, many doctors and nutrition researches feel that eating this way is more effective than counting calories.

Ali found two activities she enjoyed, hiking with her dogs and the body combat class at South Yuba Club. Initially, she didn’t lose much weight. But that was OK since her goals were to eat healthy foods and exercise.

Going to a health club was a new experience for Ali. “I remember being nervous to go to class, but the atmosphere was supportive and most of the people there were just like me,” she said. “I realized that everyone in the room was striving to be the best that they could be, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. When I went to class I felt like I had a support system. That realization released the determination that had been hiding inside me all along.”

As Ali’s physical activity increased, she felt better and had more energy. Slowly she began taking more classes and longer hikes with her dogs. When she increased her activity to four to five days per week, “the weight just fell off.”

Then one chilly Thursday evening last winter, Ali was approached at the club by Sandy Soberg the body combat instructor. “After an amazing class, Sandy approached me as I was covered in sweat, and asked if I would be interested in becoming a combat Instructor,” Ali recalls. “To say the least, I was absolutely shocked and quite speechless. I have never been so happy and proud of myself in my entire life.”

Ali feels it’s not about the number on a scale. It’s about “why” you decide to make the change and “how you feel inside” that must be the reason for making a change. Once you find the reason, you’ll be able to get past the excuses and setbacks that are part of any life change process. No matter what your goals are, the changes you want to make are possible.

“If I can do it, you can too,” Ali said. “But remember, only you can do it.”

Mike Carville is a certified fitness trainer and co-owner of South Yuba Club in Nevada City ( and Monster Gym in Grass Valley ( He has worked in the fitness and sports industry for 15 years and specializes in programming for new exercisers, weight loss/toning and athletic training. He is available for questions and speaking engagements. Contact him at

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