Radio DJ and personality Alexa “Lexy” Smith was walking around the Louvre during a vacation in Paris last October when she realized she didn’t want to take any full-body photos of herself in her cute striped dress because she didn’t like the way she looked or felt.
“I was not happy,” Smith recalls. “I didn’t want to wait until New Year’s to make the change. I started before Christmas. When you’re ready to get serious is when you commit.”
Upon her return from vacation, Smith overhauled her diet and lost a significant amount of weight in the process. But a simple shift in her mindset around food and eating has helped keep the weight off.
“I was an emotional eater,” she says. “I wasn’t 400 pounds, but if I was mad or sad, I would eat.”
She hasn’t given up her indulgences, like chocolate, completely. Instead, Smith has upgraded her treats to be healthier and portioned. Smith knows she doesn’t need food to deal with her problems anymore.
“I still have my dark chocolate bars in the fridge, but instead, I’ll break off a little square rather than eat a bag of Dove chocolates or get a chocolate shake,” she says.
But Smith understands that diet alone isn’t what maintains health.
“For me, movement is super important. I lost the weight, now I really want to tone and have even more energy,” she says. “I’m a little bit older, so strengthening my bones is also important.”
As a teenager, Smith worked in a gym behind the juice bar, so she’s very familiar with the gym environment. She also worked out regularly and did various styles of dancing, including ballet.
“It is important to me, being healthy mentally and physically,” she says.
Today, Smith works with a trainer a few days a week because she knows that it not only will motivate her to get to the gym, but a trainer also will hold her accountable. She also loves the variety that 24 Hour Fitness offers—from cardio equipment to group fitness to personal training—and the convenience of accessible locations all over her city of San Francisco.
Smith says she has been pleasantly surprised by how easy this journey has been for her. “I thought it would be a lot harder because I’ve tried ‘diets,’ and since this is more of a complete lifestyle change, it works better for me,” she says. “I’m eating for my life.”
So how does she stay motivated? Smith says how she feels is a major factor.
“Old me was tired all the time,” she says. “And when I look at myself in the mirror, maybe I haven’t lost a pound this week, but I’ve come so far and I’m not giving up.”
At the end of the day, Smith says, making time for her health is about living her life to the fullest.
“There’s a point where you’re just living and existing,” she explains. “You’re just going to pay the bills, and sit in traffic, and get your job done, when the whole point is to live life. And if you don’t put that first, nothing else is going to work out.”
Below, Smith shares her steps to success.
Two years ago, Smith moved back to the Bay Area, her home, to take a position at Alice @ 97.3 in San Francisco. But the last two years, she says, have been busy.
“I’ve been running around crazy and not taking care of myself. And now it’s time for me to take care of me,” Smith says. “It’s all about planning, because if I can see it, I know I can achieve it.”
Smith plans out her schedule to include her weekly workouts with her trainer and at any of the various 24 Hour Fitness locations across San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.
Smith says preparation is key—she makes sure she has healthy food in her home so that she doesn’t end up walking to Starbucks and buying things she shouldn’t be eating. “I even get up earlier so that I can make sure I’m eating healthier,” she says.
Smith is also realistic about her expectations—both when she started this journey and now. Her original goal was to lose 50 pounds. “I’ve got plenty more to lose, but I also wanted to be realistic,” she says.
She also keeps her day to day rooted in realistic goals.
“Nobody is perfect,” Smith says. “I’m going to a wedding this weekend. I’m going to have a slice of chocolate cake. You have to realize that at some point, you’re not going to be completely on task, and then you just get back on the horse.”
The tactic of visualization is an extremely helpful one for Smith, who knows that in order to be successful, she has to see what goals she is working toward.
“My trainer asked me to either grab an old photo of myself that I liked or find someone online that’s an inspiration of what I’d like my final outcome to look like,” Smith says. “I really appreciate the visualization because that is going to help me succeed for sure.”
Be kind to yourself
Most important, Smith says, learn to be gentle with yourself.
“It’s not going to happen overnight—baby steps will get you to your goals,” she advises. One of Smith’s next goals? The former dancer wants to have the stamina to do a dance routine, perform in a parade or something next level—something she hasn’t done in years.
Photo credit: Hector Arellano; Trina Casey; Marc Fong