Alexandra Perozo, L.V.N. Page ContentMay 2015 What motivated you to change your habits?In May I found out my hemoglobin was high. As a nurse, you know how it can escalate. I had already been losing weight, but realized I needed to step it up. What did you do differently?I started by changing what I ate for lunch to salads. I kept breakfast and dinner the same. I also walked for 40 minutes during my lunch hour until it got too hot out. Then I switched to walking after work. I lost about 20 poundsAfter getting my hemoglobin results, I made further changes. For breakfast, I now have a Carnation shake. For lunch, I have a salad with water and fruit and a protein bar for a snack. For dinner, I have another protein shake. I also upped my exercise to five days a week and started working out for an hour and a half at the gym.From June to August 2014, I lost 30 more pounds.Do you feel healthier?I feel so much better. I’m able to run. A year ago if you’d ask to me run I’d have been out of breath after just a couple of steps. Now I can jog and run for 30 minutes and breathe fine. My energy level just feels so much better! My 5-year-old now says, “Look, mommy, I can put my arms around you.” I’m happy. I did it for me but I also did it for him. I want to be there for him.Besides being healthier, how else has losing weight affected your life?I hated shopping before. I’d have to go to plus-size stores and, unfortunately, most designers aren’t making clothes for the young, overweight woman. Now I can wear cute clothes, which is exciting!What’s your advice for others?I’ve learned that weight loss isn’t just about diet. You have to change your entire lifestyle. If you revert back to the same behavior that got you there, you’re going to gain it all back. My advice is once you decide to make a change, be aware that it’s got to be a lifetime change not just a short-term fix. You have to continue to eat healthy foods and work out – it’s completely worth it.Start small. A lot of people try to lose everything all at once and get discouraged.Also, you can still enjoy the things that you like. Just do it in moderation. I’ve found when you deny yourself, then you end up cheating.Do you have inspiring words that might help someone who’s struggling to stay motivated?I’ve been overweight all my life. I can proudly say I’ve lost all this weight without any medication – so it can be done. You have to have the will to do it. Change is going to come little by little, but it’s going to start adding up.What’s your overall goal?My ultimate goal is to lose another 50 pounds over the next year. I’m not going to stop. Whatever it takes, I’m going to keep doing it.