The 'free exercise' routine this mom learned on Youtube to lose 97 pounds

Photo: Courtesy Alyssa Anderson

Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Alyssa Anderson is 26, 5’4″ tall, and currently weighs 133 pounds. In 2016, after suffering a serious injury because of her weight, she decided to to get healthier and rediscover her love of pilates. This is her weight-loss story.

The turning point

After I had my first child, I was definitely overweight but thought nothing of it and gradually gained weight over the next seven years. I lost all self-esteem, ate emotionally, and treated my body like trash. I eventually became OK with how heavy I was and maintained my highest weight of 230 pounds for two years.

My son had a school event at an amusement center, and I played alongside him. Unfortunately, I went on the child zip-line right after him, but being unable to hold up my own body weight, my foot got caught in a net and it broke. After being in a boot for four months, I was miserable being waited on hand and foot and upset that if I hadn’t been overweight, I probably wouldn’t have broken my foot. During those four months I started watching what I ate because I promised myself that I was going to lose weight and be healthier for myself and my children.

The changes

I started with those four months of watching what I ate, eating the same kinds of foods, just less of them. I lost 30 pounds doing that and got myself down to 200 pounds.

After that, I wanted quicker results so I started asking friends for fun exercise routines. My sister told me about a YouTuber named Cassey Ho who makes free pilates videos. I decided to try it because I loved pilates when I was in high school and thought, “If I loved it then, I could love it again.” Her calendar has a daily routine with six days of hard work and one rest day/stretch day. I also learned to eat better from her Youtube channel and blog.

I started eating more lean foods like chicken instead of beef, Greek yogurt instead of cereal, homemade oatmeal instead of instant oatmeal and, of course, more vegetables and fruit. I also completely cut soda out. Now, I don’t eat out as much as I used to because I know cooking at home will always be a healthier option. I follow the calendar exclusively, and still do to this day, but I have also added running two miles four to five times a week.

Photo: Courtesy Alyssa Anderson

During the weight-loss process, I felt like a million dollars. I was gaining so much energy from my workouts and so much confidence. I felt so strong! I learned to not compare myself to others and only compare my hard work to myself. I strived to do more and more every day. When I first started I couldn’t even do a full pushup and now I can do 20.

I stayed motivated by setting goals for myself in a ton of different ways, like trying to run a mile faster than I did yesterday, or holding a plank longer than I did last week. I found joy in the small things and knew that improving was enough for me. I also used pictures to help me compare my new strong body to my old body, and that felt good.

The after

Physically, I feel so much better — I no longer have pain in my lower back or my knees. Emotionally, I think I am a nicer person. I don’t feel as grumpy or mean. I’m more excited about doing things I used to dread like buying clothing, going swimming, and even letting family take my pictures. I think my life changed for the better since I have gained confidence, which in turn makes me a better mother and wife. Through this journey, I’ve learned to cook, which also comes from not being lazy!

There were a few surprises from weight loss. For one, my husband can carry me! That was something I never imagined would happen. I love the fact that my husband can pick me up now. I’m also surprised how well the skin can actually bounce back. Everyone told me I would end up dreading my skin because it would be so loose. Yes I do have loose skin in some places, but honestly I don’t even notice it. And I would much rather have loose skin and be strong and healthy than have tight skin and be overweight with a sore back and sore knees. Also, I’m surprised at how much easier daily tasks can be when you’re not carrying around all that weight. I can get my house clean so much faster these days.

The maintenance

My eating routine these days is usually a cup of coffee in the mornings with some Greek yogurt or homemade oatmeal. For lunch, I love to make protein smoothies or chicken salads, and for dinner I like grilling chicken with a side of steamed veggies and rice.

I have kids and can’t always have grilled chicken for dinner since they would get bored of that. Sometimes I make more kid-friendly foods like pizza or spaghetti. When I do, I just watch portion sizes and don’t let myself overeat. As long as I’m having at least 80 ounces of water a day, I’m happy.

My exercise still consists of following Cassey Ho’s Blogilates calendar and running two miles four to five times a week.

My children inspire me, and being able to easily keep up with them keeps me motivated. I know I’m strong, and I have the willpower to never go back to my old habits. I am glad to teach them that anything is possible if you work hard.

Photo: Courtesy Alyssa Anderson

The struggles

I do sometimes struggle with sweets. I have a weak spot for them, and in the old days I would often binge on them. Now I just try to look at the serving size and if I really want it, I’ll eat it, but only that one serving.


Do it for you, and not for anyone else. Enjoy the journey because it takes time, so enjoy it every step of the way at every size. That will help keep you going. Also, don’t compare your success with anyone else’s success because it will take the joy out of your triumph. And don’t forget we are mostly made up of water, so make sure you drink your water and find a water bottle you can carry with you everywhere you go!

Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!

Weight-Loss Win is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

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