About 12 years ago, Donna Elle kicked off the journey of a lifetime. Weighing in at almost 300 pounds, she was tired of being overweight and not being able to fully be there for her son. So she started to slowly change her habits, and even though it took her a long time to lose the weight, she did it in a way that was sustainable and effective. Now she’s a fitness trainer and a motivational speaker, and she’s helping many other women get healthy and lose weight. We’re amazed by her story! Read on for more.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey?
Donna Elle: I began my weight-loss journey 12 years ago. My goal was not only to lose the weight but to keep it off as well. I was introduced to D1 Training 10 years ago. At that point, I had already lost 40 pounds, and I was looking for something to keep me motivated. My D1 Training family helped me get to my fitness goal of losing 100 pounds.
PS: What made you decide to?
DE: I was a woman with a big personality, and I was tired of being overweight. Throughout my life, food was my addiction, like alcohol or drugs are to some. I used to ‘smoke a pack of cookies’ every night. I believed there was more for me and other women out there. Especially as a mom of a young son at the time, I believed my son Brandon deserved the best me possible. The main thing that sparked my decision to share my journey and strive to motivate others was at the time my aunt passed from colon cancer. She gave me advice before she died that I needed to make women feel important during my classes and help them find their strength.
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
DE: In the past, I had lost weight and gained it back soon after. I have lost 100 pounds and kept it off for 12 years by taking D1 Training classes, doing half-marathons and marathons, and working out with my family. My biggest motivator is my mom!
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
DE: I began doing Weight Watchers. I initially needed someone to hold me accountable. I don’t deprive myself of the foods I like. My motto is moderation NOT elimination. I eat what I love and treat myself with a meal and dessert once a week. I mostly focus on keeping my diet within calories and find apps like MyFitnessPal extremely helpful.
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
DE: Of course! I work out at D1 Training twice a week, teach my bootcamp class called Donna’s D.I.V.A.S. twice a week at D1 Training, train for half-marathons and full marathons, do Zumba, and complete my own workouts at the gym. I work out no less than five to six times a week.
PS: What are some nonscale victories you’ve experienced?
DE: I have run 10 half-marathons, one marathon, and an unrecorded number of 5Ks and 10Ks, and I have motivated thousands of women nationwide. I share my story and journey as a public speaker.
PS: How do you stay motivated?
DE: I move for those who can’t! I move for people that might be handicapped, people going through difficult life circumstances, or people who are just not living their best lives. I have been there. I do this to feel my best and create the best life for myself and my family. My mom is my motivation. She has always encouraged me to move, and now that I love it and can help others, I stay motivated.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
DE: I’m an active career woman on the move, so, yes, I do eat out, but I try to make the best choices.
Breakfast: Boiled egg and oatmeal
Snack: Belita bar and fruit
Lunch: Salad or turkey sandwich and chips
Snack: Soup and salad
Dinner: Meat and vegetable
Treats on one day of the weekend
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journeys?
DE: Being healthy is a lifestyle. Everything you did to lose the weight you must continue to keep off the weight. For example, if you begin working out five days a week and eating in moderation, you have to KEEP that lifestyle. If you fall off, don’t be too hard on yourself! Find a workout routine that you LOVE. If you find a workout you enjoy, working out will be something you look forward to instead of dreading it. Don’t rush. If you lose it fast, you can’t maintain it. To keep it off, do it slow and steady. Have a team or accountability partners that will keep you motivated. I found this within my D1 Training family and my biological family as well. Focus on doing this for yourself. This is your new lifestyle, and you should have your family embrace it as well.
PS: Anything else you want to share?
DE: I have been successful because I love helping and motivating people to feel their best, and in order for you to have a win in life, you have to be your best, then help others around you! I believe in surrounding yourself with positive people who will allow you to be your best.