Alexis Gomez Interview
Alexis was featured in the documentary Sugar Coated. You may view the entire film on Netflix.
ROB – Thanks for being so willing to share your personal story and transformation. Please share the story about how you came to my clinic and the health issues you were having
ALEXIS – My weight had gotten so out of control, 220lbs out of control, that my pediatrician at the time, Dr. Amita Jain, could not help me achieve weight loss. Dr. Jain referred me to you, a specialist in childhood obesity, in 2006. For a couple years, I consulted with you about my weight and poor diet. Each year however, I was not losing weight but rather gaining it. Some of the health issues I struggled with was fatty liver disease, high insulin levels, rapid weight gain, poor eating habits, low self-esteem, the inability to comprehend the severity of my problem, and pre-diabetic.
ROB – I don’t think many people really understand how challenging being overweight as a child is, and how much this affects your emotional well-being. Was there a particular moment or experience you had where you felt there was a turning point – or perhaps wherein you entertained the prospect of living a healthier, happier life?
ALEXIS – Being overweight as a child is extremely difficult due to the fact that children can be unable to comprehend the severity of obesity. Overweight children cannot eat the same foods as their skinnier peers, and they are constantly made fun of by society and sometimes even family members. I recall being frustrated with being bullied and wanting to “fit in” to society’s ideal model of a woman, plus I was at the point were I wanted boys to find me attractive. Basically, puberty happened and I wanted to be like my fellow girlfriends, skinny and attractive. My mom supported me by first signing us both up at 24hr fitness gym. I enjoyed going to the gym alongside my mother, it benefitted us both.
ROB – I wasn’t exactly your favorite person to see as a child. Was there anything I did in my clinical practice that was helpful to you? Many doctors struggle to understand their patients better, but often don’t have the time needed to really. What could I have done better? Please be completely honest. It is vital that Doctors understand what is really going on.
ALEXIS – It was very scary and sad to come visit you. I am not sure if your scary tactics helped me to make a change. Perhaps in a way it did. I only heard bad news and more so, how badly I was doing as a person. But it was very difficult to make those changes as a child, especially without some helpful nutrition tips or healthy alternatives for my sweet tooth. One part that was really helpful was the hands on nutrition classes I went to about two times. I believe more of those are needed and more so focusing on healthy alternatives for sweets. They are lots of ways to make healthy pastries at home that would have been super helpful to transition to healthy ways of living. I also believe doing some cooking classes with parents and children would be a good way to bond and connect both to eating healthier as a family.
ROB – Your life today, and your achievements are documented in the documentary “Sugar Coated.” What gave you the courage and conviction to go so public with your story? Obviously, you are an inspiration. Is your current career goal related at all to the challenges in your childhood?
ALEXIS – I went public with my healthy living transformation because I wanted to reach out to those who were and are in the same position of struggling with their weight and healthy eating. It is a very challenging concept to grasp and change. I had gained so much self-esteem by losing weight and changing my life style that I was confident enough to go on the documentary and also talk at the Swedish medical convention this past year. I am currently working as a boxing and kickboxing instructor at UFC gym located in San Bruno, California. I am very loved and appreciated as the only women instructor who goes and gives intense workouts, as well as, practicing and competing in boxing competitions. Even though, I have no certification in nutrition, I give my clients useful tips for their diet. For example, eating leaner met, more vegetables, substitutions for milk, portion control, and much more. Things that I have learned from a nutrition class I took at Skyline College, and my own research. Once I try it out and it works for me, I suggest so for my clients. I hope in the future to gain a credential or degree in nutrition to help my clients more. I have noticed that diet is 80% of the questions that I receive at the gym. My life has gone a complete 180 flip and I am grateful to be able to share with the public and hopefully change the lives of those around me.
ROB – In January of 2017, you spoke at a Metabolic Health and Nutrition Summit at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. A couple of hundred doctors and health professionals were in attendance. Your willingness to be a patient advocate is very much appreciated. What is your current diet like and how do you maintain your health? We are constantly surrounded by processed foods, sugary beverages, etc. How do you stay focused on eating well when the food environment is so toxic?
ALEXIS – Well in all honestly, no one is perfect. Sometimes I have days were I eat a whole chocolate bar or eat pizza at 12am. But that all comes with self-discipline and making sure you treat yourself. One cannot go cold turkey on a diet, like elimination carbs or sugar for good. Our bodies need a little bit of junk food here and there. What I have done is try to give myself four cheat meals a week, but of course trying to control portion sizes. Instead of eating a bag of chips everyday, I might decide to buy some healthier chips at Trader Joes or whole foods and pack a bit for lunch three times a week or so. Rather than binging on corner-store pastries, I’ll go about and buy ingredients to make my own at home with healthier ingredients. Maybe instead of an ice cream, making frozen yogurt out of fruit at home. Also, meal prepping is super helpful! I can’t stress that enough. If you have prepped food every three days or so, you are more willing to eat your prepped food instead of quick meals at the fast food joint or corner stores. If meal prepping is too hard try for a couple days and mix in days were you go out to eat, but choosing healthy choices. Like a salad or spaghetti squash, a sandwich made out of wholegrain bread with lots of veggies. There are so many ways to stay on top of eating well, all one needs to do is be given the resources and tips to do so. Eating from all the food categories is necessary as well. Sometimes people think that eliminating carbs and fat for protein will give one results. Indeed, it will, but only short term results and low energy. Our bodies need carbs, fats, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy. Eliminating one of the categories completely is dangerous as a diet, like doing no carbs or not eating fruit because of its sugar content. However, eating more vegetables is always recommended and substituting sugary drinks for fruits is the way to go. Instead eat healthier carbs, like brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread and pasta. But remember that eating white gains is okay, once in awhile. Maybe for special occasions, like the weekends or a celebration, eat what you want! Just watch those portions.
ROB – Looking at your “Before and After” photos is pretty impressive. What can you tell young people today who might be thinking their health situation is hopeless or overwhelming? How do you inspire hope and positive thinking in others?
ALEXIS – Weight loss cannot be achieved in 1 hour, or 1 day, or 1 week. It takes time. There will be days you will want to give up and eat that 1200 calorie pizza. But you can’t let your mind bring you down. You must stay positive and hopeful that your goal will be met. Like I said it is okay to eat junk food, just watch how much and how often. Start making slow changes each day or each week. Anything you change will be okay, even as simple as drinking one less can of soda a week. Make yourself goals and give yourself rewards. Positive reinforcement is a great trick to keep our minds and hearts healthy. I hope to continue with my work at the gym, training people in classes and one-on-one. In addition to becoming more knowledgeable in nutrition to keep giving my clients tips and goals to achieve each week. Only by doing this have my clients noticed significant changes. I really believe that one day, I will be what I dream off. A well-rounded trainer, coach, mentor, and nutritionist. I only wish the best for those aiming to lose weight and eat healthier.
ROB – Any other comments or thoughts you would like to share? Thanks again for being so willing to help others by sharing your experience.
ALEXIS – There is no diet that will do what healthy eating does. Skip the diet. Just eat healthy. Be good to yourself and be good to your children.