(originally written by Antonia)
Allyson Grabish-Paniccia is a proud woman, and for good reason.
She once tipped the scales at 240 pounds, but in just one short year, she dropped 80 of them. In that same time frame, she lost 100 inches, 12 sizes, 34 percent body fat and her problems with acid reflux. Even her migraines and arthritis flare-ups greatly diminished.
“I was the heaviest I had ever been,” she says referring to her size 22 pants. Grabish-Paniccia explains that her pregnancies contributed to her weight gain.
After her first son was born in 2005, she gained weight. While weight gain is expected from pregnancy, she says she never had the opportunity to get back in shape before her and her husband learned that she was pregnant again. Her second child was born the following year.
The Health and Emotional Problems of Carrying an Extra 80 Pounds
She explains that she was basically bed-ridden about three times a week due to arthritic flare-ups, something she developed at 19, but made worse by her weight. Additionally, she had acid reflux.
A study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that overweight people are 50 percent more likely to have GERD than people of a normal weight range, while it was more than twice as likely for the obese.
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Not only was her health in jeopardy, but her personal relationships as well as self-confidence suffered. She recalls going to Las Vegas and while most people would want their pictures taken at such a fun destination, she was too embarrassed to step in front of the camera. “But I just wasn’t ready to make changes.”
That is, until she landed in the ER for chest pains. Her pains turned out to be stress-related, but while she was hospitalized, she used the time to reflect on her health. The severity of the situation kick-started her urge to get healthy once again. And did she ever.
Losing Weight and Getting Healthy Again
She remembers the moment well: It was 2012 when she was watching television. Tony Horton, fitness guru and trainer, was on and in an instant, she knew it was time. “I was ready,” Grabish-Paniccia recalls.
In January she began Horton’s at-home fitness regimen, Power90, which consisted of intense workouts and nutrition plans. In just 90 days, she weighed 28 pounds less. Already in better shape, she moved on to his P90X and intensified her routine.
She lost 80 pounds and 100 total inches from her body. Her arthritis and migraines hardly occur and her acid reflux is completely gone. In September 2013, Grabish-Paniccia ran her first race. “My only goal was to finish,” she says. “I did.” She beams in post-race photos with her husband, both of them holding medals around their necks.
In addition to Horton’s fitness plan, she also assessed foods in her house and got rid of all things that were processed. Her family became part of the process, often exercising with her and eating healthfully.
“I think you really have to be conscious of what it is that you’re putting into your body,” she says. “Part of my mindset is also trying to teach my children healthy choices by example.”