Four years ago, Paige couldn't stand to look at photos of herself. Now, since losing over 110lbs, she feels confident and proud.
Paige Gandra-Valderas, from Texas, has struggled with weight her entire life. At her heaviest, she weighed over 300lbs. Since 2017, Paige has lost 110lbs and feels better than ever.
She told our sibling YouTube channel Truly (opens in new tab): “I was ashamed of who I was and had really low self-confidence, I was hidden in the shadows.”
Watch Paige's inspiring story here:
Paige, who says her weight gain really increased during college, used to hate seeing herself in photos and videos due to her size. Even during a travelling trip with her brother, she was devastated to see herself in the photos. She said: “I have such beautiful memories but the photos made me cringe.”
In 2017, her father fell ill from complications with diabetes; in the hospital he warned her against ending up like him. “That conversation really sunk in,” she said. “I really needed to change”.
Paige now says she "looks forward to her protein shakes every day" – using the best protein powder for weight loss of course – and said her weight loss came more from understanding nutrition than working out. However, she loves fitness, finding joy in moving her body whether that's a workout with the best kettlebell, or a run.
If you're looking to start running for the first time, it's not easy to keep up for an extended period. The walk-run technique is a great way to get going, as you can treat light jogging with regular active recovery intervals. It may seem like a small start, but as Paige said: "your small efforts will pay off with time".
Paige’s father passed away in the summer of 2020, the same week she was recovering from her tummy tuck surgery. “It was a really hard moment, he was my best friend.” Paige knows her father would be proud of her weight loss journey, which has seen her go from 303lbs to 189lbs. “If he were here he would continue to be proud and support me,” she said.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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