At first, she was confident being herself. But when her weight started affecting other aspects of her life, like her job, she knew it had to change.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 12, 2019. It has since been updated.
Growing up, Randi Vasquez was “always pretty chubby”. However, she never let it affect her confidence about herself and her body. “I was always feeling myself,” the 27-year-old told 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.” And for a long time, she was happy being herself.
However, after she graduated, Randi was in “a post-grad slump.” “I couldn’t find the job that I wanted, and I had trouble adapting,” she said.
She mentioned that every weekend, she and her friends would go for long, mimosa-filled brunches and gorge on fried chicken and waffles. Her other meals were no easier on the calories. Randi was a fast food junkie. She recalled one incident when she and her roommate ate at the southern burger joint Krystal’s three times.
Worst of all, it was also affecting her job as a wedding photographer. “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.” It was then that she knew her reality had to change.
“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.”
So she made the decision to lose weight but she knew that she would have to do it by making small changes. In the fall of 2014, she joined a local YMCA where she discovered 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 said.
Then a few months later, in March 2015, a friend introduced her to a weight-loss program by Kayla Itsines, co-creator of the Bikini Body Guides. Later that year, she got a Fitbit Surge to monitor her heart rate so that she could find out how to push herself during workouts. And then she saw the changes. “Within a few weeks my body started to change and that helped me stay motivated,” she says.
But it wasn't just a good workout plan that she adopted. Randi also began cooking healthier meals and stuck to a low-carb diet as much as she could. However, she didn't completely cut out fast food from her life. “I didn’t want to restrict too many things,” she explained.
One of the biggest and special moments in her transformation journey was when Kayla Itsines shared one of Randi'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 it was worth it because steadily, she was dropping off the pounds. “Year after year, month after month, I made small little goals and just kept going,” she said. “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.”
One and a half years later, Randi has worked on maintaining her weight loss. She did admit that there have been a few ups and downs. In January, she revealed to her 72,800 Instagram followers that her weight was “constantly yo-yo-ing” during 2018 and was looking for a way to find a better balance. Since then, she has even checked off one more item from her bucket list - running a half marathon.
“Before I even started losing weight, it was just something I really wanted to do,” she said. “I wanted to prove to myself that I can do something hard. Crossing that off my list was so awesome. It was such a good feeling knowing that the past few years have really changed me as I crossed that finish line.”
Today, Randi just feels “much better.” “I’m more motivated,” she says. “Losing weight makes you feel more motivated in all areas of your life. And I’m able to run around everywhere. Just this weekend I had a wedding and I was all over the place. I don’t feel like my weight can hold me back anymore. I was happy before but there was so much I was held back from that I didn’t even realize.”