Alicia's Incredible Journey

Originally Posted on March 13, 2013 

There are some people who start on a great journey and get discouraged, falling short of their goals.  That’s not true for Alicia.  Her story will touch you, may boggle your mind and will most likely inspire you.

In 2008, Alicia was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  She was overweight and the extra pounds were taking their toll on her joints, especially her legs.  She was walking at about 60% ability, but she didn’t know if she’d ever walk correctly again because she had suffered permanent damage to the joints and muscles in her legs.  

(The above photos are Alicia before and Alicia after her journey!)

It was essential that Alicia lose weight, so she joined Weight Watchers.  In the first 8 months she lost 50 pounds without being active, but when a large loss in her life occurred, she gained back almost all of the weight she’d lost.  She continued with Weight Watchers, but her knees were hurting, achy and swollen again.   

At a quarterly doctor’s visit, Alicia’s doctor told her about the Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (WARF) and instructed her to start with water classes to get her body moving and provide some help with her joints.  “When I joined the WARF in October 2010, I could barely walk.  It hurt every time I would just walk into the pool,” Alicia says.  “Next thing I know I find my body growing stronger, the weight was coming off and I was losing inches off my body.”

In February 2011, Alicia started working with personal trainer, Monica Fernandi, and the journey they’ve taken together has been remarkable.  Alicia’s health has improved dramatically.  She’s mobile and strong, she’s active, her cholesterol has dropped significantly and her RA is now in full remission!  Her doctors can’t believe the difference in her health.  

“Monica saved my life - physical trainer, dear friend and sister.”

Alicia states, “I have two disabilities - epilepsy and RA which Monica is very much aware of and she understands my needs and body’s limits.  She knows how to modify exercises to the level I can handle.  All the time people are telling me how slim and how great I look.  Thank you to Monica for pushing me, working me hard and making sure I track my workouts and everything I eat.”   

We all need support when we tackle things in life and Alicia says her husband, Tony, ”has been there for me from the very beginning.  He drops me off most days and picks me up most evenings even with his busy work schedule to get me to the WARF on time to my classes to make sure I get my workouts.”  

“In March 2012 I made my first major goal and lost 102 pounds.  Monica was there to help celebrate along with me at Weight Watchers.  I had lost over 30 inches!”  Those numbers continue to grow as time goes by and Alicia continues to work hard to reach that next goal.

In January 2013, Alicia started as a client of mine at Looking Glass Natural Health.  Since beginning with me and concentrating on better nutrition as well as the whole body and mind, she’s released 18 pounds.  She’s one of the hardest working people I know and gives 100% to whatever she does.  She’s seeing the results of that hard work as she is on my program and continues to maintain her workouts with Monica.

As of the end of February 2013, Alicia has released a total of 147 pounds and she’s gone from a size 34 to a size 12!

From Alicia:  “I will always tell anyone who is working out for the first time to never give up.  Set small goals for yourself.  Reach out to someone like Alice K. Maher, Holistic Health Counselor, CHHC AADP.  Yes it takes time to see results, but you will start seeing changes in your journey towards weight loss.  

Make exercise a regular part of your day at the WARF, and watch what you eat.  Reach out to the fitness instructors to get their input if you have any questions about your workouts and how can you take them to the next level.  Don't worry about what you look like in class.  What counts is that you are there for yourself and your health!  The result will show on your body.  Remember, you and your health come first.  

Monica shares ‘98% of what you put in your workout is all about your attitude.’  There are days my joints hurt, are achy and swollen, but I push myself because it's all in one's mind.  (I do let the instructor know if I’m in pain.)  All three of my doctors shared with me that the more you keep your body moving, the stronger and healthier you’ll be.  As a result, you’ll live longer.  I am stronger and my health is at its best it has ever been.  At 49 years old I feel the best I have in a long time.  My motto is:  ‘Keep it moving and keep your body moving at all times.’  I am pushing myself to be in my best shape and be at my goal weight when I turn 50.”  

I have NO doubt she’ll do just that and I know I can speak for Monica when I say we are eager to help you reach those goals and more!  Thank you for your trust in us to help you!

Congratulations, Alicia and well done!  I’m SO proud of you!  

Kudos to Monica for the incredible training you’ve given Alicia as well as being there for her every step of the way!


I thought you might like to read Monica’s words:

“Alicia put her mind to getting on the ‘wellness train’ and she has not looked back!  It has been a journey of determination and pure focus, notwithstanding difficulty with occasional knee pain form her RA. But she gave me her blessing over a year and a half ago to train her and push her toward her goals. She chose me to assist with both strength and flexibility training in the water and on land.  Although her RA was comforted by the water, I convinced her to graduate to the land and again, she has never looked back!  Just last August she lost 22 inches in 3 months of working with me.  An incredible inspiration to many others.  If we put our mind to it, we can make many wonderful things happen and this is just the beginning for this beautiful lady!!  I am proud of all her accomplishments toward health and wellness and know her story will lead others to such success!”  A favorite quote of Monica is “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”