How This Woman Lost 80 Lbs. with Small Changes

Randi Vasquez was “always pretty chubby” growing up, but it never affected her confidence.

“I was always feeling myself,” the 27-year-old tells PEOPLE. “I wasn’t scared to wear a two-piece bathing suit or trendy outfits. I wasn’t always the happiest about my image, but I didn’t let that hold me back.”

But after she graduated from college, Vasquez found herself in “a post-grad slump.”

“I couldn’t find the job that I wanted, and I had trouble adapting,” she says.

Living in Chattanooga, Tenn., she and her friends would go for hours-long, mimosa-filled brunches every weekend and dine on fried chicken and waffles. And her other meals were just as caloric — Vasquez relied on fast food and remembers one day when she and her roommate ate at the southern burger joint Krystal’s three times.

“I was getting heavier and heavier,” she says. “I started to notice that my confidence was going down, and I wasn’t motivated to do anything. It started to click that if I didn’t change my life that it would just get worse and worse.”

“I remember one proposal session on a mountain and I had to run up and down this trail,” she says. “I couldn’t keep up with the couple and I remember that day was a big moment because I felt so out of shape. I was so embarrassed because I was so exhausted.”

Vasquez decided to start trying to lose weight, but with small changes. She joined her local YMCA in the fall of 2014 and found a body pump class that she loved.

“I went twice a week — I became obsessed with it. Within five or six months I lost 18 to 20 lbs. just by going to the gym,” she says.

In March 2015, a friend introduced her to Kayla Itsines’ popular BBG plan, and she got a Fitbit Surge later that year to monitor her heart rate and figure out how to push herself during workouts.

“Within a few weeks my body started to change and that helped me stay motivated,” she says.

Vasquez also started cooking more of her meals and going for healthier options. She stuck to a low-carb diet as much as possible, but didn’t cut out fast food completely — “I didn’t want to restrict too many things,” she says. One of the biggest moments in her weight loss journey came when Itsines shared one of Vasquez’s progress photos on Instagram.

“That was one of the best moments for me, because it helped me break down a wall I had up,” she says. “Before I was heavy and I didn’t want anyone to know that I had gained weight after college and that I was struggling, but having that out in the world tore that wall down. It helped me share my story and meet other people like me who were tackling their weight problems.”

And slowly but surely, the weight started coming off.

“Year after year, month after month, I made small little goals and just kept going,” she says. “I hit 80 lbs. down in fall 2017. That was such a big moment for me. That was my original weight loss goal. I had these jars with marbles in them, and every time I lost a pound I would move a marble to the other jar. When I hit 80 lbs. down and moved that last marble it was such an amazing moment.”

In the year-and-a-half since, Vasquez has worked on maintaining her weight loss with a few ups and downs — she opened up to her now-72,800 Instagram followers in January that she was “constantly yo-yoing” in weight during 2018 and wanted to find a better balance. And in the months since, she accomplished one of her bucket list goals: running a half marathon.

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Because She Lost 350 Lbs

Getting Skin Removal Surgery on Her Legs

Because She  Lost 350 Lbs

After losing 350 lbs., the first thing Jacqueline Adan wanted gone were the layers of loose skin now covering her legs.

“They’re my biggest insecurity,” the 32-year-old tells PEOPLE. “I always struggled with loving my legs, and the size of them.”

And they were also a source of bullying — Adan, a Montessori preschool teacher — went viral in 2017 after she shared a photo of herself on the beach, post-weight loss, and said that a couple nearby started pointing and laughing at her legs.

But when she started the long and painful process of skin removal surgery in 2016, her doctor said that she would have to be patient.

“He said that we’re putting my body back together like a puzzle, and we can’t start with the legs,” Adan explains. “We started with my stomach, because it was the largest area, and then we did the upper part of my stomach and my arms.”

The surgeries and the lengthy, difficult recoveries that followed took three years, and during that time her legs struggled to hold up the excess skin around them.

“The pain in my legs from the loose skin keeps getting worse, because they’re just so heavy,” she says. “I was going to physical therapy because my knees and my hips couldn’t keep carrying that weight, and there’s nothing I can do until I get the skin removed. They started putting me in compression garments to hold the skin, but then all the loose skin got pulled to the top. All the leg skin is sitting at the top of my hips. I just need it removed.”

On March 21, Adan is finally getting her wish. After a consult with her doctor last week, they determined that she’s ready for skin removal surgery on her legs. Over the 7-hour surgery, Adan’s doctor will cut from the groin area down to the backs of her knees to take off pounds of excess skin.

But as excited as she is for the surgery to finally happen, Adan struggled with her mindset after their consult.

“I started getting really hard on myself and angry because I have to get this surgery, and asking myself why I let myself get to 500 lbs., and all that negative talk started coming in,” she says. “I started getting annoyed with myself that I have to go through another intense surgery that I could have avoided if I didn’t get myself to 500 lbs. But I can’t change the past. I have to focus on right now and getting mentally prepared so I can deal with it in the best way possible. Going into these surgeries with a positive mindset is so important because it helps you heal faster.”

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