After years of unsuccessfully battling the bulge, Allyssa decided she no longer wanted to be typecast as "the heavy one" when discussion turned to her family and friends.
Surrounded by a thin mother and two slender sisters, the 27-year-old attorney always felt like the odd woman out. Although her self-esteem didn't suffer, a part of her felt pressured to lose the extra weight... especially as her weight passed the 200-pound mark. It was the heaviest the tortured Texan had ever been and she knew from experience that no fly-by-night fad diet was going to help her shed the weight.
Allyssa turned up her nose at kooky crazes like the cabbage soup diet and made a beeline for a weight loss plan proven to work. Her slimming solution was none other than eDiets.com, the leading online weight-loss program. Since becoming a member, Allyssa has dropped an incredible 56 pounds from her 5-foot-6 frame and now weighs a super 139 pounds.
Allyssa says she never could have come this far without eDiets.com, which proved to be much more than a mere meal plan. With the ultimate diet depot, she had over 20 different diets to choose from, as well as round-the-clock support from both eDiets nutrition experts and fellow eDiets members going through the same struggles.
"Nutrition support helped whenever I hit a plateau or had to change my calories," she tells eDiets. "They were always very nice. The same thing with the support board threads. Everybody had so much experience with losing weight. It has helped having people give me different advice.
"I've taken so many pieces of advice. I've added in toning when I would never have thought of buying a set of dumbbells. I also use the articles from one of the newsletters like "Three Steps to a Better Butt". I follow those exercises. There's basically years of weight loss in all different people on eDiets. There's so much wisdom."
Allyssa, who went on to serve as a mentor to new members, stuck around for the support. She considers some of her fellow eDiets members as her best friends. Through thick and thin, she's participated in many of the popular eDiets challenges. She says the Survivor Challenge was instrumental in helping her shed the last 20 pounds.
Whenever she needed a pep talk, Allyssa was always able to find an ear online. Unlike the weekly meetings she had to travel to at the so-called brick-and-mortar sites, the friendly eDiets community was within arms reach any time of the day or night. Whether she needs a shoulder to lean on in the morning before a big breakfast or in the evening before she goes to bed, support remains a few key clicks away.
"You have accountability," explains Allyssa. "You have people telling you you're going to do well. You know they want you to succeed. That's been the most important aspect. The people around you have seen you get bigger and they'll be there no matter what. With the support groups it's a different relationship. We all have the same goal and the same issues we have to deal with plus our outside lives and our eDiets way of life. Everybody understands."
Despite her dieting success, Allyssa cannot forget her fat era. She can vividly remember receiving a pair of XL pajamas for Christmas. Realizing that other people had noticed her weight gain made her uncomfortable enough to do something about her unhealthy eating habits. She points out that it wasn't uncommon for her and hubby Arty to dine out as many as five times a week. Allyssa admits she would overeat simply because she loved food, not because she was hungry.
Following the eDiets meal plan proved a great new way of life. Once she started enjoying the personalized eDiets menus, she found her hubby and she cut way back on their nights out. She also found that her way of eating underwent a total makeover. Out with the mega portions served at restaurants, in with the balanced meals.
"It was kind of hard at first," she admits. "I didn't know how much six ounces of chicken was. I had to get a food scale. I had never had frozen meals before. I had to start buying those. I liked the variety. My husband loves to cook with the wok, so we had stir-fry a lot. It also taught us how to cook better... healthier."
As the pounds started to roll away, Allyssa introduced regular exercise into her schedule. She started out doing Tae Bo videos. She also experimented with a yoga class at the local community center. After she was 20 pounds down, she invested in an elliptical trainer. It's become her exercise of choice. Allyssa uses it four times a week and does toning exercises most other days.
The changes for Allyssa have been dramatic. She's gone from a size 18 to a size 8. She can literally breathe easier. She says she's physically and mentally prepared for whatever lies ahead.
"I'm getting to the point where there are children in my future," she notes. "I wanted to lose weight before I had children. Now I feel like I'm more prepared for the next step in my life."