Almetria Lost 177 Pounds: ‘I’m Happy Being Myself — Imperfections and All’

Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo Health series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have achieved healthy weight loss.

Almetria Turner is 41, 5′7″, and weighs 165 pounds. In 2010, she weighed 342 pounds — more than double her current weight. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.

The Turning Point

In 2010, I woke up one day feeling truly sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was 36 years old and felt like I had given up on life. I had to change my life. The year before, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. I spent a year in denial, devastated by that news. I wanted to live a long life and not be dependent upon medication. My doctor told me that if I could get under 200 pounds, more than likely I would be taken off of medication because my diabetes was caught early and hadn’t gotten to the point where insulin was needed — only pills. I was determined. I would not let these two chronic illnesses ruin my life.

The Changes

I didn’t know how I was going to actually lose the weight, but I knew I had to start somewhere. This had to be a lifestyle change because temporary diets had failed me one too many times. I did a 180-degree turnaround in how I ate and exercised. I ate three meals and two snacks a day. I read every label and went by serving sizes. I learned all about portion control and how to balance my meals in terms of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. I planned my meals by filling out my weekly meal plan calendar with the meals and recipes I wanted to prepare and I wrote out my grocery list with things to fulfill it. I planned on Friday, shopped on Saturday, and prepped and packaged my meals on Sunday.

My palate had changed to the point where I was eating things I said I never would. I switched out all of my white foods — such as sugar, flour, pasta, rice, and bread — for whole-grain options. In time, I started to learn about high- and low-glycemic foods, starchy versus non-starchy veggies, good and bad fats, limiting processed foods, how to grocery shop, and a lot of other things about eating healthy. Walking two to three miles daily turned into going to Zumba class, ab labs, boot camps, and eventually running. I was finally getting my life back and I was going full force with it. There was no turning back.

I looked up exercise videos on YouTube and used my body weight as resistance for strength training. I used free outdoor resources like walking through neighborhoods near my house, and local parks. I would no longer let work, life, lack of time, money, willingness, or emotional roller coasters deter me from reaching my goal of achieving good health. I had no more excuses.

When times got hard, I surrounded myself with positive affirmations. Most of the time I would rely on my faith and sometimes I would listen to sermons of Bishop Walker from Mt. Zion Baptist Church out of Nashville on my daily walks or runs to give me the inspiration and extra push that I needed to make it through the day. I’m very goal-driven and I have a pit bull’s grip when I want to; I won’t give up. I told myself that I wanted to be fit by 40, off of my medication. The tears, time, and sacrifice spent during this process would be worth it in the end. I wanted to move from just existing to actually living.

The After

Once I lost my weight, I felt so many emotions. Often, people think that after the weight is off, all of their problems will go away. But that is not true. You have to get to the root cause of why the weight was gained in the first place. You have to transform yourself from the inside out. I once used my weight as a wall of protection to mask the hurt and pain of being overweight and all of the negative connotations that came along with it. Losing the weight slowly allowed me to tear down those walls and allowed me to be OK with being me. I no longer had anything to hide behind. I’m happy being myself — imperfections and all.

Almetria at 342 pounds (left), and at 165 pounds (right). (Photos courtesy of Almetria Turner)

The most gratifying part about losing weight is that I am healthy and fit. I am no longer on medication and I live a healthy and active lifestyle. Once out of breath just from walking, now I am an avid runner having completed six 5Ks, one 15K, and five half marathons.

I’ve learned that no one can be successful in losing or maintaining their weight by eating 100 percent healthy 100 percent of the time. That is a set-up for automatic failure. I go by the 80/20 rule — eat 80 percent clean and 20 percent dirty, within reason. I don’t believe in what people have termed “cheat” meals. I don’t plan for higher calorie meals or even adjust the rest of my day or week for them. I try to eat healthy most of the time anyway, so if I want a richer meal — which isn’t too often — I just have it. Most of the time, I will ask for a to-go container and put half of my meal in the container before I start eating. But if I’m really hungry, I have no problem just eating all of it. I’ve learned how to practice self-control for the most part. I know when enough is enough.

I remain active by exercising and running several days a week and incorporating some rest days for my body to recover. Getting the proper amount of sleep, managing time wisely, handling stress better, drinking plenty of water, and practicing healthy eating (planning, prepping, packaging) are some of the healthy habits I believe in when it comes to living a fit and free life.

The Struggles

One thing that I struggle with today is maintaining a healthy body image. Even though you are the same person on the inside, it takes a while for your brain to catch up with your outside. I figured out what my trigger points were when I wanted to emotionally eat, feel sorry for myself, or didn’t like what I saw in the mirror or in my clothes. I then would use exercise and other positive activities instead to fill the void or combat the emotion. I would surround myself with positive affirmations and channeled my energy into creating a blog, Fit and Finally Free, which served both as an outlet for me and a way of helping others. This gave me the time to reflect on how far I’ve come, find gratefulness, and encourage those who are still in the struggle.

If I ever sense that I’m getting away from my goals, I try to remind myself of how hard it was to get where I am, and all of the work it took in getting the weight off. Even though I know I am not perfect, my perfectionist attitude will sometimes kick in. I don’t like doing anything over and over again — especially when I had the opportunity to get it right the first time. I don’t want to have to lose the same pounds over and over again, so that’s why I try to stay within my own personal healthy range where I can go up or down 5 to 7 pounds without having feelings of guilt or having to change clothing sizes. I also have people who rely on me and look to me for help, which in turn helps to keep me accountable.

I’m disciplined enough now to know when to put the brakes on my eating and emotions before I fall off the edge and get to the point of no return. That point of no return for me is when I have moved beyond my personal healthy weight range. In those times, I will revert back to watching what I eat more closely, do meal prep/planing, and remind myself to look at how far I have come. I am fit and finally free. Open up the cage door, spread your wings and fly girl. Never return back to your old ways because new adventures await you.


My advice to those who are just starting out or working on maintaining their weight loss is to first love who they are right now and look forward to what is to be revealed later. If you do not love yourself now, you will not love yourself once you shed the weight. Your desire for change has to be greater than your need for change. Once the motivation for trying to incorporate a healthy lifestyle is gone, so is seeing the need for it. You will have good days and bad days, days where you want to give up, and days where the scale will go up, down, or not change at all. We must celebrate the small, large, non-scale victories, and the things we’ve learned about ourselves along the way. It won’t be easy but it all will be worth it.

I created an acronym of V.I.S.I.O.N.A.R.Y goals to help me identify what is needed in order for me to achieve a well-balanced life, to be in good health, and to live life with intention. Once you transform the inside, the outside is sure to follow.

V: Vow to live on purpose and walk in your purpose.
I: Inspire others to be an inspiration.
S: Set realistic goals and not resolutions.
I: Imagine your future is bright and the possibilities are endless.
O: Observe the areas in your life where there’s a need for improvement.
N: Never give in to small-minded people or small-minded thinking.
A: Aspire to be a better version of you than the day before.
R: Realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your dreams or weight loss goals being met.
Y: Yesterday is gone … so move forward in seizing the day.

Weight-Loss Win is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative 135-pound weight loss of her own. Have a success story to share? We want to hear it. Tell us at

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