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Biggest Loser Shares Inspirational Story

Keana Bertoccci had been known as “the big girl” her whole life. Then, she entered last year’s Wesleyan’s Biggest Loser competition.

At just 19-years-old, she’s already lost 55 pounds, adopted a healthy lifestyle, and changed her life forever.

Last spring, she participated in Wesleyan’s Biggest Loser, a campus-wide test of weight loss, fitness, and healthy eating. It was, in fact, that athletic competition element which drew her to sign up, and finally make a lifestyle change.

“When I saw the advertisements, I knew that if I signed up, I wouldn’t let myself lose,” Bertocci says. “I am way too competitive.”

After a childhood of being “the big girl”,Bertocci wanted to find a way to lose weight, but refused to use unhealthy methods like starvation or supplements. Now, after this jumpstart, weight loss and fitness have become major aspects of Keana Bertocci’s daily life. Between her daily track practices with the Wesleyan track team, she adds at least another 30 minutes of cardio to keep moving. With this busy schedule, and classes, she has created a routine to make healthy eating easier.

“Although I am very busy, I still manage to grab a granola bar or banana running out the door to eat for breakfast on my way to class,” Bertocci says. “I always eat breakfast, because it boosts my metabolism to start the day.”

She usually eats a fruit-packed lunch, and a dinner consisting of healthy choices like salad, rice, and egg whites.

According to Bertocci, however, the diet aspect can be frustrating. While others have full freedom of diet without much consequence, she says she has to be more watchful.

“To start, avoiding fried food was my biggest struggle,” Bertocci says. “Now, after almost a year of being anti-fried food, the smell of it makes me sick to my stomach.”

Luckily, Bertocci says her Wesleyan track teammates and coaches have been extremely supportive and motivational through this sometimes trying experience.

“I love walking into practice and hearing ‘Keana, how much weight have you lost now? You look great,’” Bertocci says. “Plus, attending daily practice also gives me two workouts!”

She also credits her father as a source of inspiration during this transformational process. After losing her first 20 pounds, Bertocci says her dad joined in on the healthy lifestyle, and the two are sharing the journey together.

“Every Tuesday morning we text each other the number of current pounds lost, to date,” Bertocci says. “He is currently down 29 pounds and I am at 55!” Bertocci says maintaining her healthy lifestyle change is not a challenge, because she has such motivation. “When I look back at pictures of myself from my senior year of high school, I am honestly disgusted that I ever let myself get to the size I was,” Bertocci said. “The before and after pictures help me to continue to push to my 70 pound weight loss goal.”

Wellness Center director and Wesleyans Biggest Loser organizer, Nakita O’Connor, says with Bertocci’s positive and realistic outlook, she is sure to reach that goal.

“When Keana sets out to achieve a goal she is focused, committed, and dedicated,” O’Connor says. “Her strong willpower and desire to succeed is impressive.”

Bertocci is open and excited to share her experience with others, especially others who want to make a lifestyle change. Along with advising to stay away from all fried foods and to fight through fatigue for a daily workout, she has one important piece of advice.

“Never give up,” Bertocci says. “There will be weeks when your body will hit a plateau – even when you’ve been giving it your all at the gym and did not even touch unhealthy food. It’s alright, just keep going.”

With weekly weigh-ins to keep on track, individually customized workouts with coaches and trainers, and competition with contestants, Bertocci highly recommends Wesleyan’s Biggest Loser to others looking to jumpstart their weight loss. While she admits starting a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, Bertocci assures it’s worth it in the end.

“If anyone has any other questions, feel free to contact me as I would be more than happy to share my story and give all of the tips that I can give.”

The newest group of contestants has been named, and the 2nd Annual Wesleyan’s Biggest Loser compeition is currently underway.

Who will be crowned the newest winner on April 4th? Stay tuned to find out!

A public relations major with a passion for social media, the arts, and all things Disney, writer Corinne Weaver hopes to bring some Her Campus flare to WVWC. Weaver performs with the WVWC Theatre and Dance department, is a sister of Alpha Delta Pi, and interned at the National Aquarium in the Summer of '14! This Co-Editor-In-Chief will always love her close-knit hometown of Oakland, Maryland, but looks forward to opportunities to branch out in the future. Follow her @CorinneWeaver4 on Twitter and Instagram!
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