'I Lost 150 Pounds And Gained it Back. Here's What I Did *Differently* The Second Time'
Women's Health 2hrs ago

My name is Aillia Milsun (@aillia.sophia), and I'm 28 years old. I live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and I'm a registered nurse at Forsyth Medical Center. Focusing on portion control and hiring a personal trainer helped me lose 150 pounds and discover my best self.

a woman posing for a photo: After losing and regaining weight, Aillia Milsun committed to eating smaller portions and working out with a personal trainer to lose 150 lbs. © Courtesy After losing and regaining weight, Aillia Milsun committed to eating smaller portions and working out with a personal trainer to lose 150 lbs.

I was overweight for most of my life. In sixth grade, I was 227 pounds (more than what I currently weigh at 28). I lived a sedentary life as a child, eating mainly junk food, rice, and noodles. I was picked on in school, and by family as well. Because of bullying, most of my life I tried to stay in the shadows to avoid being teased. At 21, I weighed 340 pounds.

I was tired and out of breath all the time. I was also placed on blood pressure medications at 19. I was too embarrassed to even tell my family. I also had really bad knee problems and foot pain from my body having to support my weight for so long. My mom is a type 2 diabetic, so I was worried that my lifestyle would eventually lead to me having the disease. I saw the toll it took on her, and I knew at my weight I was putting myself at risk for health issues.

In 2012, I lost 150 pounds by changing my diet and activity, but I gained it back after a traumatic experience.

I had been living healthier for a while and eventually met the love of my life. In 2016, he tragically passed away unexpectedly. It was the hardest experience I have ever endured. It was so difficult to cope, and with the stress of starting nursing school combined with grief, my weight went back up to 280 pounds by 2017.

I was eating anything and everything because I didn't care about life anymore. I was going through a really dark period and was not happy with my life or who I had become. I realized, even though I couldn't control death, my weight and how I feel about myself were things I could control. I had lost the weight before and I knew I could do it again.

That was the start of not only my weight-loss journey, but a journey of self-love as well.

I knew I needed to find a way to still enjoy the foods I like but while paying attention to portions. When choosing a diet plan, you have to do what's realistic for you. I know keto is a big deal right now, but it was an unrealistic diet for me. I'm Asian and I enjoy rice and noodles. I couldn't say no to carbs, but I couldn't eat them in large portions like I used to. No more binge eating.

I realized it wasn't necessarily what I was eating, but how much I was eating in combination with a non-active lifestyle. Learning to measure out and control my portions was definitely difficult and hard to learn. I am also a night-shift nurse, but I have figured out an eating schedule that works for me.

Here’s what I typically eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Green smoothie consisting of spinach or kale, frozen fruit, and some yogurt. I add a couple of eggs, boiled or scrambled, if I feel like I need more protein.
  • Lunch: Chicken or seafood with whatever vegetables I have on hand. For me, it's usually green beans, asparagus, or spinach.
  • Snacks: Avocado on multigrain toast, boiled eggs, pretzels, or yogurt.
  • Dinner: If I'm at work, I'll have a salad with some baked chips. If I'm at home, I'll either make another green smoothie or have some leftovers from lunch, depending on how hungry I feel or my activity level for the day.
  • Dessert: I don't have much of a sweet tooth. But when I do, I usually have some frozen yogurt or high-protein ice cream in my freezer that I can enjoy in moderation.

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At my heaviest, even the most basic activities like walking were exhausting. I remember in my high-school gym class, I couldn't even finish the mile! When I first started working out at 340 pounds, I admit it was only because I was forced to take a fitness class for a school requirement in college.

So, I started out with basic cardio like the stationary bike, but it was still a jump from doing no exercise at all.

I began to explore different machines and increase my time and intensity. As the pounds started to come off, I got more motivation. In 2018, when I decided to gain control of my life again, I wasn't at my optimal fitness level, but I jumped right back in and learned to rebuild my strength.

I also got a trainer, who is amazing! Currently I work out, on average, five days a week and see my trainer about two to three times a week. The gym has been very therapeutic for me and, aside from weight loss, has been a stress reducer and has helped with my anxiety.

These three small changes have made a huge impact on my overall weight loss.

  • I mentally committed to my goals. My first major change was altering my mindset. Whether for weight loss or any other change you want, if you aren't emotionally committed, the change isn't going to happen. I had to realize that if I didn't want to be this person anymore, I was the only one who had the power to change the situation.
  • I got a trainer. My second big change was getting a trainer that I was comfortable with. My trainer pushes me and teaches me new fitness exercises that keep my routine different. I used to do only cardio in the gym because that's all I knew how to do, but he has pushed me to do strength training that has made me stronger than ever. Having a trainer isn't necessary in weight loss, but it sure is helpful to have someone motivate you and hold you accountable to your goals.
  • I learned about and committed to self-love. Learning to love myself throughout this process has been a major change during this weight-loss journey. This part might be harder than the weight loss itself, but it’s essential in the journey. You have to love yourself and believe in yourself to know that you are worthy and that you can do it.

In total, I have lost 150 pounds.

This has been an up-and-down battle for seven years. Recently (since 2018), I have lost about 90 pounds. I'm still a work in progress but I'm enjoying the journey.

I want women to know if you're not happy with your current situation, it's never too late. There is always a chance for change for those who are willing to put in the effort. It's okay for the journey to be imperfect too. Life happens, but we have to get up and keep pushing.

I had a friend say if she gained the weight back like I had, she would've just stopped. I told her the second time around was actually easier because I already knew I could do it. I lost weight once before, and I could do it again. This time, I'm loving myself throughout the process. Weight loss is only half the process—the other half is learning to love yourself and your body throughout the journey.

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