This Picture Motivated Her to Lose 46 Pounds


Erica, at the event that provoked her lifestyle change (left). After her weightloss (right). (Photos courtesy of Erica Stigliano)

We’ve all experienced that moment of realization in life when a powerful emotion spurs you to make a change. Here, we profile Erica Stigliano, 32, on the instant she decided to get serious about losing weight, and what motivated her to do it. 

Name: Erica Stigliano
Age: 32
Location: Robbinsville, NJ
Height: 5’2’’
Before:196 lbs.
After: 150 lbs.

What was the turning point that prompted you to lose weight?
I was out to eat for a girlfriend’s birthday and people were taking pictures and posting them on Facebook. The next day, I looked at these pictures and couldn’t believe the person I was looking at. It didn’t even look like me —or at least not how I felt. I was so devastated by those pictures and how it looked like I was wearing a fat suit.

When did you start trying to lose weight?
The summer of 2012.

How did you get started?
Honestly, I started trying every fad diet out there. I even paid lots of money to different products and programs. It wasn’t until the end of 2013 that I started eating clean and exercising more. I took the word “diet” out of my vocabulary.


Stigliano, looking confident and proud post weightloss. (Photo courtesy of Erica Stigliano)

What was your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was balancing my healthy lifestyle with my weekend lifestyle. I found the weekends to be the biggest challenge to staying on track with my clean eating and exercising—I still find them challenging.

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Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
Every now and then the fat girl inside me whispers in my ear to just give up; that it’s easier to be lazy and eat. But I just look at that picture and how unhappy I was and that gives me the motivation to continue.

If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?
I added HIIT workouts and cut carbs. I still do this for a week straight at least once a month in order to keep my weight down.

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What’s your current exercise routine?
I run 3 to 4 times a week. Every Saturday I will do a long run (10-plus miles). I do strength training 1 to 2 times a week and see a personal trainer every Friday.

What’s your daily diet look like?
I start the day off with a breakfast consisting of protein, whole grains, and fruit. I’ll do a snack mid-morning; usually vegetables and hummus. Lunch is protein and vegetables. My mid-afternoon snack is something like goat cheese on a whole grain cracker. Dinner is protein, a vegetable, and a complex carb. I don’t usually snack past dinner time. I eat about five meals a day to keep my metabolism going. I try to avoid dairy, white bread, and white sugar. I eat about 80 percent clean and read all the labels very closely.

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What’s your favorite healthy snack and meal?
I could write an entire book on my favorite snacks, but my easy go-to is avocado with tomato, baby carrots, and hummus. I also love banana with peanut butter.

How has losing weight changed your life?
I love to shop and it has allowed me to shop for clothes that I couldn’t fit into before. I feel more desirable, and even though I am married and love my husband, I love the stares I get from the opposite sex! I just love the way my body feels. I no longer feel like I’m wearing a fat suit.

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Do you have any advice for those trying to lose weight?
It’s a process — and it’s a lifelong one. There will be slip-ups. There will be days when you are bloated or have gained a couple of pounds, but nothing is permanent and you can always get right back into clean eating. I don’t avoid temptations. If I have a craving for something or I am in a room with a food that I know is not good for me, I will allow myself a taste. It usually works for me. And on the days where I couldn’t stop at just a taste, I hit the gym harder or run an extra mile. I’m a believer in not depriving yourself; that is usually what leads to failure.


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This article originally appeared on 46 Pounds Lost: A Picture on Facebook Motivated Erica to Get in Shape