When Desiree Richards first stepped into TITLE Boxing Club at almost 400 pounds, she could barely finish a class. Now she's an inspiration to everyone in her hometown — her local paper even covered her amazing weight-loss journey! Read on for her incredible transformation, how she started, and what's different now that she's down 200-plus pounds.
POPSUGAR Fitness: What made you decide to start?
Desiree Richards A trip to the ER due to my heart racing. The doctors had to restart my heart. At that moment, I knew I had to change something. I had tried losing weight before, lost 80 pounds, and gained it back and more. I knew that I had to make a lifestyle change in order to lose the weight for good.
PS: What's your favorite way to work out?
DR: Boxing. I have been taking boxing classes at TITLE Boxing Club in Arlington, TX. Boxing has influenced my life in more ways than one. It has been a large tool in my weight loss, a stress reliever, and a confidence booster. I encourage other people to find a form of exercise that is enjoyable for them. And when you find it, stick with it.
PS: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
DR: I started out about four times a week at TITLE, and at first, I was barely able to finish a class. Now I work out six days a week: four times at TITLE and two weight resistance workouts. I also have started using a weighted vest and weighted gloves. I am always looking for ways to improve and become better than I was yesterday.
PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?
DR: I work out with friends. I also enjoy working out at TITLE Boxing Club because some of the instructors have experience in martial arts. Every instructor brings a different feel to the class, which helps keep it exciting.
PS: How much weight have you lost?
DR: Two hundred and ten pounds in about a year and a half.
PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
DR: I would say the things I started to be able to do that I could not at almost 400 pounds. Some of those things include:
- Being able to sit in a classroom chair and be comfortable and being able to use any stall and not just the handicap stall in public places.
- Being able to wear a seat belt without it being uncomfortable anymore and being cold instead of hot all the time.
- Feeling more confident in myself.
- Being able to ride roller coasters.
- Being able to shop at any store instead of only places with plus sizes.
- Sit in a theater seat comfortably.
The life of someone severely overweight is hard physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of that changed as I lost weight.
PS: How do you track your weight loss?
DR: I weigh myself once a week on the same day and at same time. I have also recently been keeping track of my BMI and body fat. My BMI use to be in the 60s and is now in the 20s. Every once in a while, I will take my measurements, but unfortunately do not have my original measurements from when I started.
PS: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
DR: I tend to have Ezekiel bread and hummus for breakfast. My first snack is usually a smoothie or another kind of fruit. Lunch is normally tofu with seasoning and mushrooms. Second snack is either a protein bar or mixed nuts. I normally eat a bowl of baked veggies with vegan cheese for dinner. I also enjoy snap peas because they are healthier than normal chips. Zevia is a natural soda I enjoy. I love eating pickles because the ones I eat do not have calories and are a good snack to grab if I have already eaten my calories for the day.
PS: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
DR: I started at about 1,200 to 1,300 calories a day. At that time, I ate 40 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent carbs. Now I eat about 1,400 calories per day. I use to keep track of the calories with an app on my phone, but now I have a general understanding of healthy foods and nutritional information. I usually eat three 300-calorie meals and two 200-calorie snacks. I also eat about every three hours.
PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
DR: Apples, oranges, raisins, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, juice, carrots, vegan cheese, flaxseed, protein powder, almond milk, tofu, salsa, brown rice, quinoa, frozen mixed veggies, sweet potatoes, frozen vegan pizza, Bragg's soy sauce amino acids, mustard, almond milk coffee creamer, frozen mixed berries.
PS: How do you strategize for meals out?
DR: I have enjoyed finding vegan restaurants because the food is lighter and healthier. When not at a vegan restaurant, I like to find somewhere that has veggie burger or a salad. I usually have one cheat meal a week when I eat out or eat my frozen pizza at home. I have also had to learn to be OK with going out with friends and not eating. It was hard at first, but if you want to be healthy, you have to place your own health above what others may think when you don't eat with them. I love spending time with friends, and oftentimes we do eat out. Sometimes I will join them and eat if I can find a healthy option, and other times, I won't.
PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey?
DR: The first couple of weeks are the hardest, but once you get past the sore muscles of those first few workouts, just keep moving forward. Find what works for you. My journey to health and fitness will look different than yours. It is never too late to never give up. Consistency is key, and it must be a lifestyle change. Diets or pills may work for a while but will not be sufficient. Celebrate the success and keep moving forward even if you may not see the results you were expecting. Sometimes we just need to trust the process. Find people who are also on a journey of health. It's important to have support and accountability. I have lost a lot of weight and I am proud of who I am. But I am even more proud of the person who walked into the gym at almost 400 pounds and continued to come back again and again. Others say that I am inspiring, and I am grateful. But I am also inspired by those who I see come back to TITLE again and again as well — the moms, dads, students, teachers, brothers, sisters, and many more.