Exercising at the Orthman Community YMCA provided the boost that Sandy Alva needed to shed the last 180 pounds of her 240-pound weight-loss journey.
Sandy, a 42-year-old Lexington mother of six, said four years ago her weight hit 400 pounds. She was sick, developed asthma and arthritis, and fell and broke her knee, an accident she attributed to excess weight.
She elected at that time to have bariatric surgery. The surgery helped her shed about 60 pounds.
After several years of being stuck at that weight, she decided to take action again. She started using her YMCA membership and started a low carb (keto) eating plan. She gave up soda and chocolates and energy drinks and realized she needed to get active.
“I had the YMCA membership for years, and I would always say next week I’ll start going to the Y,” she said.
She thought of her children and future grandchildren and decided to get moving so she could be around and healthy for them.
“I felt so good walking into the Y,” Sandy said. “I walked in with my head up and said I’m finally here. No one could see my big smile because I had a mask on. When I left all sweaty, I felt good.”
Her new routine resulted in another 180 pounds of weight loss as she is now down to 160 pounds.
Sandy started slowly when she first began exercising at the YMCA. Now, she walks the track three laps to warm up and then walks or jogs on the treadmill for an hour followed by toning exercises on the weight machines.
Her son told her to do squats one day, so she did 100 squats.
“I tell you what, I couldn’t walk the next day!” Sandy said.
Sandy said her low-carb eating plan combined with the exercise at the YMCA has made a big impact in her life.
The arthritis has disappeared in her back, she can run despite her asthma and she said she feels like she’s 14 again!
Her health journey has also inspired her family.
One of her sons now exercises regularly at the YMCA and has lost 20 pounds.
Sandy said she likes that the YMCA is family-oriented and she can take her kids with her on the weekends to walk with her or play games on their own.
“I really love the Y, especially now with the pandemic going on,” Sandy said. “It’s like a big family there. Everyone is so welcoming to each other. I recommend the Y to everybody, no matter what age they are.”