My name is Micia Lopez (@_mdeneise), and I am 24 years old. I am from San Diego, California, where I’m a gym manager. I lost over 100 pounds when I committed to my weight-loss journey, using a high-protein, fasting diet and weightlifting.
My weight issues started after high school. I was a competitive athlete, and by the time I got to college I was spending time on the road playing basketball. But I was plagued with injuries, and after my second knee surgery, I fell deep into a depression.
I began to eat uncontrollably and used food as my escape from the pain. In 2016, I realized my weight was an issue when I couldn’t play or keep up with my baby brother, who was about to be 4 years old. I would often breathe heavily and get extremely winded or tired from simple activities.
One day, I ate an entire large pizza by myself. I went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and broke down.
I didn’t cry because I was overweight, but because I felt like I had given up on myself and lost who I was. That day (I was 20 years old at this point), I decided to order Tupperware and get a gym membership, and I told myself that no matter how hard it would get, I would not look back.
Food-wise, I started with the basics: chicken, broccoli, and rice. I *hated* every bit of that. So I started playing around with different vegetables and carbs and realized there isn’t necessarily one way to eat in order to be healthy.
I started to fall in love with the idea of intermittent fasting and realized that this, combined with a high-protein diet, was the most beneficial way for me to eat, paired with the way I was working out. I realized that following my macros versus trying to stick to a specific caloric amount helped me see way more progress.
I started cooking pretty much everything. Preparing my food on my own helped me better understand what I was putting into my body. It is 100 percent true when people say, “abs are made in the kitchen.” When I changed my diet and went more homemade with my meals, I started to see major body changes.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries and almond milk.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken (with mustard or BBQ sauce) with roasted zucchini and brown rice.
- Snacks: Rice cakes with almond butter or Greek yogurt with berries and honey.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken, kale, and spinach salad with balsamic vinegar.
- Dessert: Banana slices with almond butter or a smoothie bowl.
I started out doing cardio every day and noticed my body wasn’t responsive to it. So I looked into weight lifting.
When I discovered bodybuilding workouts, I *loved* it. Once I started to incorporate weight lifting I dropped 30 pounds in about two months and started to get my shape back. I realized that I was in love with the concept of being strong, and that there is nothing wrong with a woman embracing her muscles and strength.
Now, I typically lift bodybuilding-style, with hopes of competing in my first competition in 2020. I work out five days a week and have a super-regimented workout schedule that looks something like this:
- Monday: Legs/quads
- Tuesday: Back and biceps
- Wednesday: Shoulders and triceps
- Thursday: Chest
- Friday: Legs (hamstrings-focused)
The most important thing during my journey? Telling myself that I could do this.
With the pessimistic mindset that I had previously, there was no way that I would’ve been able to reach success. I already counted myself out before I started. This time around, I committed and believed in myself. And now? I have lost 105 pounds, and it only took me a year.
I want other women to know that they are not alone in this process. I was always ashamed to post my before-and-afters, assuming no one would understand and people would just talk badly about me. I never knew how many other women were dealing with the same things and were also in need of someone to relate to.
My weight gain started because I lost myself in food and depression, but once I started working out and eating healthy, I started to find myself again. No weight-loss journey is the same, but we all have one common goal and that is to better ourselves.