Weight has been a lifelong struggle for Ashley McClellan who fell into a pattern of yo-yo dieting at a young age. Despite committing to change time and again, she always found herself heavier than she was before. Then, one evening she came across a TV ad for a workout program called Turbo Jam and felt compelled to buy it. Though she loved it initially, she eventually grew bored with working out and eating healthy again and put it back on the shelf.
Then in the summer of 2010 Ashley, now 24, knew she needed to make a serious change. Her health was failing and she was on multiple medications for severe depression, pre-diabetic conditions and heart disease, which runs on both sides of her family.
A common doctor’s visit served as a big wake up call when she was confronted about her weight. “That was the first time somebody had ever told me out loud I should lose weight,” she said. “I was nearly 300 pounds at 22 years old. After that I decided I needed to do something different.”
Ashley feared she’d end up with heart disease or worse if she didn’t lose weight. She also had very low self esteem and felt horrible about herself, which began to take a toll on her marriage.
Around that time Ashley’s sister had caught the Turbo Jam bug and became a certified instructor after first being introduced to it by Ashley. Knowing she was struggling to get healthy, she convinced Ashley to pick it back up along with her at the gym she was teaching at. This is where small change began to happen.
Between July 2010 and January 2012 Ashley lost 40 pounds, but her eyes were opened again when her doctor began to hint that she might face infertility problems if she didn’t lose more weight. All of the sudden it became less about herself and more about her future family.
To get her diet on track Ashley began counting her calories using the smart phone app Track Bites, and her efforts began to pay off. Weight started trickling off week by week and to speed things up she incorporated more fitness into her routine with Turbo Fire – the second, more challenging installment of the Turbo Jam DVDs. That was what propelled everything.
“I started eating really good, working out five days a week and had one splurge meal a week – usually ice cream,” she said. Ashley’s weekly treat became something she was willing to work really hard for during the week that she could truly enjoy once she reached her goal.
Some of the diet tricks she’s found most successful are eating every 2.5 hours, staying full on protein, and having breakfast every day, which typically includes egg whites. Though she doesn’t consider any foods off limits, Ashley cut out crackers, chips and refined carbs unless it was for a cheat meal.
By December 2012 her hard work had paid off as she’d lost another 85 pounds, bringing her total weight loss to 135 pounds. Since then Ashely has only continued to make progress and even became a certified Turbo Jam instructor this month. Another perk? Ashley and her husband are getting along much better now, which she attributes to being more in tune with her body.
In addition to the support she’s received from her husband and sister, Ashley has also found encouragement through social media. She receives constant feedback on her weight loss via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her blog, Life as a McClellan. “People are looking at me to find out how I’ve gotten these results,” she said. “But having so many people follow what I do helps keep me on track. These people are rooting for me and that keeps me inspired.”
In addition to losing another 15 pounds to reach her goal weight of 150 pounds in the next couple months, Ashley also plans to start training for the half marathon she’ll be running in June. She hopes all of these small goals will not only keep her health-minded, but also help her make that final push to be ready to have kids – a leap she and her husband hope to make next year.
For those who may be struggling with their weight Ashley recommends finding someone who motivates you and start watching everything they do, whether it’s a Biggest Loser contestant, workout DVD instructor, or someone who already has those healthy habits in place. Then, mirror them. “Make a list of the healthy habits they have that you don’t and try and work on them one at a time. Once you feel like you’ve mastered one, move onto another. Also, don’t rule anything out that you can’t give up for the rest of your life.”
We congratulate Ashley on her amazing transformation and wish her continued success in her goals. We also invite you to check out our slideshow featuring snapshots of Ashley’s and dozens of other weight loss success stories we’ve featured on Diets In Review. And as always, if you have a weight loss story of your own you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it! Check out the first slide for details.