Alisia McKennon admitted that she “was always kind of curvy” but after having her first child in 2013, her weight went up even further.
The 31-year-old McKennon told PEOPLE for its 2019 “How I Lost 100 Lbs.!” feature: “With my son, actually I only gained about 20 lbs. during my pregnancy. But after, I gained 60 lbs. I never stopped eating like I was pregnant. I just couldn’t get out of it.”
Even just keeping up with her son through his toddler years was already a struggle.
“I would be so out of breath trying to run around and catch him,” said the Fayetteville, North Carolina-native. “He’s very spunky, like most little boys, and I felt really bad that I couldn’t keep up with him. I would tell him, ‘Oh, it’s too hot outside, let’s go back inside,’ just because I was tired. Sometimes I would cry about it and wonder, why did I do this to myself? Why did I get this big?”
But that wasn’t the only problem her weight was giving her as it prevented her from joining the military which was a lifelong dream.
“I’ve always wanted to join the Army, and for my height, you have to be 158 lbs. to start basic training,” she says.
But even that dream wasn’t enough to motivate her to lose weight. But a doctor’s visit in December 2016 did.
“I started to realize that my neck was getting darker, almost black,” she says. “At my annual checkup, my doctor told me I now had high cholesterol, I’m possibly pre-diabetic and the black stuff that was growing on my neck was an early sign of diabetes. That woke me up.”
McKennon then joined WW (Weight Watchers) because she “didn’t have to do a diet.”
“I’m a Southern girl, so I love my biscuits and rice, and with WW I can have that, but in moderation,” she says. “It was great because I had some good weeks, some bad weeks, but they always met in the middle, and I met my goal.”
There were difficult moments but it only spurred McKennon further toward her goal.
“One time I literally cried in my car because I wanted a cupcake so bad,” she says. “I was already about to go over my WW points, and I was sitting outside of my favorite bakery. And I literally sat in my car and cried, and I drove off. I said I’m not going to get it, I’m going to do good. And I felt extremely proud of myself because I finally didn’t give in.”
McKennon’s weight steadily dropped and she started incorporating exercise, too. At first, it was 30 minutes on an inclined treadmill then she graduated to interval training and solid mileage.
“I knew I was going to have to run in the military, so I built up my training to the point where now, I can run four or five miles a day and it’s nothing,” she says. “I treated working out like a part-time job — my actual work schedule was from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by 6 I had to be in the gym.”
By March 2018, which was a little more than a year since she started her weight loss regimen, McKennon finally reached 158 lbs.
“That’s when I joined the military,” she says. “I weighed in and got processed through, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I did it.”
After two-and-a-half months of basic training, McKennon gained some serious muscle that put her at 169 lbs. She’s proud to say that “now I’m a real soldier,” as a paralegal specialist in the Army.
“I feel so good, better than I could’ve imagined,” she says. “If you asked me before, I would have never guessed that I would be at this point. I had some really, really dark times, and thought that this would just be my life.”
“Now I’m happy. I can keep up with my son, he’s six years old now and we run together — it’s a really good feeling to be here.”
“Woman Who Once Weighed Over 650 Pounds Is Now Unrecognizable After 400-lb Weight Loss”