HEALTHY LIVING
12/12/2012 08:22 am ET Updated Dec 12, 2012

I Lost Weight: Aja Williams Cut Out White Starches And Sweets And Lost 61 Pounds

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Name: Aja Williams
Age: 28
Height: 5'5"
Before Weight: 221 pounds

How I Gained It: I was never really a "normal" sized girl. I hit puberty at age nine, so by 11 I looked like a fully-grown adult. As I got older, I was going through a lot. I was constantly depressed and the more depressed I became, the more I ate. I ate muffins or bagels for breakfast, burgers and fries or pizza for lunch and lots of butter and heavy cream and cheese at dinner. When I cooked at home, I always had to include potatoes, bread, pasta or white rice. I would make sure to have a vegetable with every meal, but it was a scoop compared to the carbs and meat portions. My real weakness was sweets: cupcakes, Oreos, ice cream, pastries, sugary drinks.

Breaking Point: I can remember the days of crying because I couldn't find anything that fit. I could not make it up the stairs to my apartment without feeling winded and about to pass out. I was so, so depressed, I could not stand to look at myself most times. I knew deep down I was pretty, I just couldn't see it. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. I found this leather jacket I really wanted, but it didn't fit comfortably. I knew then I had to make a change. I bought the jacket and used it as my determination.

How I Lost It: I started eating healthier, leaving all the bad starches and junk food alone. Breakfast now is oatmeal, or a smoothie with juiced fruit and vegetables, or hard-boiled eggs, whole-wheat toast and some tea. Lunch is a side salad, a side of vegetables, fish or chicken, or a larger salad with tuna, or a yogurt and fruit. Dinner is two sides of vegetables with either fish, chicken or sometimes beef. I snack on fruit, cheese, olives, nuts, carrots, celery and whole-wheat bread with peanut butter and bananas. Once in a while I allow myself a cupcake or pastry, but other than that, when I walk bast the snack aisle in the market, I tell myself no, turn my head and keep walking.

Within about three months I noticed a difference. Then I started to walk more. I'd park far from my destination, take the dog on longer walks -- I even bought a stationary bike and elliptical. It felt great to start exercising. I started off slow, doing jumping jacks, push ups and using my bike and elliptical. I also joined a workout class held by trainer Anowa Adjah, and now I am featured in her new DVD. I work out for about two hours a day, three to four times a week, with at least 30 minutes of cardio. But the great thing that everyone is shocked to hear is that I never set foot in a gym. Everything was achieved at home!

The last time I weighed 160 I was in junior high school. I look back at my heavier times and wonder how I got that big. I feel like I have been born again. Never have I felt so alive and ready to take on the world. I would like to share with all those who are trying to lose weight, and tell them that they can definitely do it. They just have to be determined and give it all they have. After all, this is your life you are trying to reclaim. It's one of the most amazing feelings in the world, and if I can do it someone else certainly can.

After Weight: 160 pounds
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