You Lose You Win: My Women’s Health Magazine Feature

My brother received his copy of Men’s Health this past weekend, so I knew a very special issue of Women’s Health was on the way. What was so special about the October 2010 issue? I WAS IN IT.

On Monday, when I first saw myself in a magazine glossy, I was stunned.

So I did what any social media obsessed twenty-something would do: I took a photo and posted it to Facebook. My network of friends responded immediately:

facebook comments

On Tuesday, the phone calls started:

…from my awesome aunts, whom picked up copies on their way home from work & wanted me to autograph them(!!!)

…from my event committee members, whom received their copies in the mail the day before and couldn’t believe my story

…from other relatives, wanting my weight loss tips and guides to eating right

On Wednesday, it reached a new level of ridiculousness (even for me).

A male friend asked if the magazine posted the article on their website since he didn’t get a subscription to Women’s Health. (I can’t see why not!) I clicked on over to the magazine’s website and saw MY NAME on the main page. I clicked on the link to find this headline: Weight Loss Success Story: Alicia Hansen: Get weight loss tips from one reader who lost 115 pounds to become the healthiest–and happiest–she’s ever been

I couldn’t help myself again. This time, I got my Twitter on. I was quickly overwhelmed again with kind words from my tweeps:


But something hit me when I got a good look at the article and accompanying picture on the website:

…was that really MY NAME on the first line?

…what that MY STORY they told?

…were those really MY ARMS looking THAT toned?!

That glorious June morning that I spent doing sun salutations, warriors and tree poses seems so long ago. I only got a quick glance at the photos that Greg Ruffling took that day. From the small camera screen I could tell they looked pretty cool. Now online and in print, I couldn’t believe THAT WAS ME.

I never expected to look so strong and so confident. Where had this girl been for the past few months – in the moments of self-doubt, fat talk, anxiety and depression? While I was busy inspiring others, I forgot to inspire myself. That changed when I saw this photo. Sometimes, you have to be the one to give yourself a good kick in the pants. This is an a-ha moment for me – a reminder that I CAN DO ANYTHING.

Today, I am so incredibly humbled by this entire experience.

My original goal was simple: to get healthy. Sure, I eventually set a goal to lose 100 pounds. I never expected to be featured in a national publication or to receive so much attention for something that just seemed like the right thing to do. I just wanted to ensure that I would be able to lead a long, vibrant life.

I am living proof that REAL weight loss is possible, but it was hard work. Please don’t let that statement scare you. We learn more and gain more when something is harder to accomplish. It makes the ultimate goal oh so much more worthwhile and gratifying.

I hope my story inspires you to make just ONE healthy change in your life.  Talk a walk. Eat a salad. Quit smoking. Whatever. I never knew what a wonderful path it would lead me down.  It wasn’t about losing weight: it was about changing my life for the better. I want the same for you.

To each and every Poise in Parma reader: THANK YOU. Know all of your kind words, your love and your enthusiasm for healthy living inspires me to reach for my new health and fitness goals:

…I am going to maintain this weight loss.

….I am going to run a half-marathon in January.

…I am going to live my mantra – be happy, be healthy, just be – to the fullest.

And I’m going to DO IT NOW.

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  1. Kat says:

    Gah, I’m choking up over here – THIS IS AMAZING! YOU’RE AMAZING!! I might just run out and buy a copy! Congrats, girl – you deserve this! 🙂

  2. Mom says:

    I always knew anything was possible with you…now you know it!

    I am so happy to read this post….here’s to your first steps on the rest of your path of life! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!….and you are much loved!

  3. Tina says:

    I’ve been waiting for this issue to come out, stalking the magazine racks, then the flu took me out! I will run right out as soon as I can though! You are so amazing! I am SO happy for you! I can’t wait to pass along your story too!

  4. Jess says:

    Ahhh!! My friend!! I love this, as you know based on my enthusiastic tweeting to that effect. 😉 I am SO PROUD of you, and so honored to be your friend – both blogger friend and otherwise. You are SUCH an inspiration that it can be done – and you WILL rock that half in January, I am SURE of it!!!

  5. Katie @ Healthy Heddleston says:

    Alicia I can’t even express to you how happy I am for you and how proud I am of you! This is so amazing and you really can do anything if you set you’re mind to it 🙂 Can’t wait to get my own copy (and maybe have you autograph it too) 😛

  6. Ashley says:

    Ahh I remember when you tweeted about this! I’m going to have to go pick up a copy (do you hear that, Women’s Health circ dept? this lady is increasing your single copy sales)! I sooo want to submit my story to a magazine but I’m so nervous to do it (if you can believe that)!

  7. Maren says:

    WOW, congratulations! Your story is so inspiring I cant imagine why they would choose anyone else for this segment. I have womens health and I didn’t know that that was you!!! Congratulations again, keep up everything you do because it’s wonderful.

  8. Caitlin says:

    I haven’t received my October issue yet, what the heck?!?

    Regardless, I can’t wait to actually SEE this in person and tell whoever’s nearby “I KNOW HER!!” You are such an inspiration and YES those are YOUR toned arms looking strong and beautiful! Soak it all up – you deserve it!

  9. Carly says:

    You look fabulous 🙂 I really need to go check my mailbox… I haven’t in like a week and this issue should be hangin’ out in there waiting for me. I can’t wait to read all about your story in print!!!!

  10. Liz Lewis says:

    Awesome! Congrats on both the magazine feature and your weight loss success! We’ve chatted a bit via Twitter, but I don’t think I ever mentioned that I, too, have lost a bit over 100 lbs. through diet and exercise and started my weight loss in college. I love reading your blog because it helps keep me motivated. It’s always comforting knowing there’s another person out there that’s going through similar challenges. Thank you for being such an inspiration and sharing your amazing story!

  11. Bess says:

    You know I’ve already told you this but I am beyond proud of this amazing feature and you look so poised, serene and strong!!!!!!

    You are an inspiration to women everywhere 🙂

  12. Robyn says:

    Oh my gosh, Alicia, how EXCITING!! I subscribe to Women’s Health and just received my October issue in the mail a few days ago. I hadn’t even opened this, but when I was checking out your blog just now, I read this post and squealed and had to run to my couch to flip the pages and find your feature. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I can’t tell you how inspiring those articles are — I know I personally have been especially motivated from profiles, so to actually know (okay, ‘online know’ — but still, kind of the same) someone in one?? Incredibly motivating — you are an INSPIRATION!!!!! 😀 Let that sink in a minute . . . an INSPIRATION. Congratulations, m’dear! What an awesome mark of your success in reaching a healthy life!

  13. Shelli says:

    from one west-sider to another….CONGRATS GIRL! i know EXACTLY what its like. i have lost almost half of my weight as well… (and was featured in two active magazine…but not for weight loss. but still! would i be there if it HADNT lost the weight?? i think not! and oh yah, i too took pics and posted em on FB. haha)

    anyhow…..way to go! and keep inspiring yourself! we are amazing women!
    although my latest pics arent up on that site…a little blog back atcha 🙂

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