lchc_blog_20161116In 2013, Alegra celebrated two momentous occasions. She turned 50 years young and earned a Master’s degree. A few months later, she was interviewed by WJLA, Washington DC, and when she watched the footage she was shocked by what she saw. It was an “a-ha” moment for her. She was unhappy with how she looked at 290 pounds, and at the same time she was dealing with knee problems and a strained foot due to the excessive weight. She decided right then, to make a change. After Thanksgiving, she found a weight management coach who helped her jump start her journey to where she is today.

Life’s Simple 7 are seven simple changes that any person can make to help them live a heart healthy life. The seven steps are: Manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sure, get active, eat better, lose weight, and stop smoking. By paying close attention to these seven simple steps, Alegra has been able to drastically change her life. Alegra’s main weakness had always been her weight. Her coach started her off slow. The first thing she did was set her up with a meal plan, so she could begin to eat healthier. Motivated by her desire to feel better, she was moving along well until she reached a standstill. She realized she needed something to propel her forward. She wanted to become a body builder, but before that she decided to work towards competing in a pageant. This was the motivation she needed to achieve the rest of her weight loss goal. A fitness professional helped her with weight training and in the process she developed stamina, energy, and muscle mass. She trained for months, and the handwork paid off when she was crowned Mrs. DC International 2015. As a survivor of cervical cancer as well, she uses her platform to educate people about all aspects of health. The International Pageants partnership with Go Red for Women connected her with the American Heart Association and she is an active volunteer and spokesperson today.

When Alegra began her journey, she was 290 pounds. Three years later, she is proud to announce she has lost 110 pounds and is only 26 pounds away from her final goal. Today she trains to compete in a body builder competition in 2017. She trains 3 days a week with her coach and three days a week on her own. It has been a discovery process requiring her to rethink how she eats and how she exercises. She has learned how to read labels in order to find low sugar options and about other healthy alternatives for foods such as using lemon and lime instead of dressing. Most importantly, she has mastered how to eat at restaurants. She does not limit herself from eating out, but instead makes her options healthier by requesting no salt or that her meal is steamed instead of fried. She feels empowered by the control she has over her life, and shares this message of positivity and hope with others whenever she can.

This story and more can be found at the Greater Washington Region American Heart Association.