#fitspiration: Allison Feikes

When I started S&L, my goal was to track progress and connect with those that were also wanting to lose weight. I wanted, needed a place to vent, ask questions, stay motivated. One of my friends from college has been a supporter of S&L from the very beginning and has been an excellent example of women empowerment. She is one of the first people to congratulate me on a small win, ask about my progress, and she even signed up for my dietbet! Through-out my journey, she has been an inspiration and motivator to KEEP GOING. She recently sent me a before and after photo of herself that made me gasp. GIRL LOOKS GOOD. She has made some serious changes and substitutions and looks absolutely fabulous (always has).

Allison- Thanks for your support and willingness to let me share you story. You have been such a fitspiration!


  • Starting weight : 165+ lbs
  • Starting date: June 2014
  • Starting dress size: 8/10
  • Ending weight: 120 lbs
  • Ending dress size: 0/2
  • Workout type?
    I go on 3 mile runs. Then when I get home, I do an ab video with dumbbells.
    I also go to Soul Cycle. I try to go to Soul Cycle as often as possible (3-4 times a week). I hear Michelle Obama goes twice a day! One time Malia went to the same studio I go to. Unfortunately, I’ve never ridden with either of them. When I first started working out I would only do 1 mile, and I worked my way up to 3. Then I added in the weights in the past month.
  • How often do you work out?
  • 5 times a week
  • How do you spend your ‘rest days’?
    Recently, I’ve been paddle boarding on the Potomac with my neighbor and hanging at the pool in my free time. However, my rest days are often the 2 days a week I just don’t have time to work out. That’s a big thing, I think. Your rest days don’t have to be on the weekends. Those can be the days you go way harder because you have the time. Take two days off during the week instead if you have a busy schedule.
  • What does a daily food day look like for you?
    Breakfast- Sadly, it’s usually a granola bar. On good days, I’ll make myself a smoothie with Greek yogurt and frozen fruit.
    Lunch- My favorite is fast casual salad. Right now, I’m in love with the Mexican Corn Elote Bowl at Sweet Green. Fortunately, I live in a large city, which gives me a lot of fast casual healthy options: Chop’t, Protein Bar, The Little Beet, The Little Sesame, etc.
    Dinner- Is more of the same as lunch. I also tend to make myself a simple turkey sandwich. I’m also obsessed with vegetarian sushi. As someone who hates seafood, I love avocado and cucumber rolls with some spicy mayo!
  • Do you count calories/carbs/protein?
    I used to write down everything I ate in a journal, which is extremely helpful. However, I think eating healthy is all about establishing habits rather than sticking to a strict diet.
    For instance, the first thing I did in this weight loss journey is give up soda and fast food. I haven’t eaten or drank that stuff in 2 years! I replaced a lot of things- instead of sour cream, use Greek yogurt. Salty snack- I eat edamame instead of chips. I eat Halo Top instead of ice cream. I use almond milk instead of milk.
  • What is your favorite health app?
    I use it with my friend Brady who lives in my hometown. We get notifications every time the other person goes for a run. Say you haven’t gone for a run in a while, and then Brady goes for a run 3 days in a row! You are extremely motivated to get out there!
  • Favorite cheat meal?
    Burger and fries!
  • What do you do/think on the days where you don’t want to be healthy?
    I think the biggest motivator is yourself. If you work out to feel better, stronger- that’s definitely great motivation. I’m all about reminding myself how amazing I FEEL now!
    Also, my guilty pleasure is going through my closet, trying on clothes, looking in the mirror, and thinking about how great I look. Same with going shopping after you’ve slimmed down. It’s a huge boost, and it makes you want to keep going on your fitness routine. It also helps your confidence, and I think having confidence is a huge part of being healthy.
    Also, once your body is healthy, it’s hard to return to your old lifestyle. I have cheated before. I felt SO sick afterwards. My body has gotten used to being healthy, and it doesn’t react well to cheating. It’s easy to stay on track when you know you are going to be miserable after putting something like that in your body. Also, processed foods start seeming less appealing.
  • What are some songs on your workout playlist?
    Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers
    Hey Ya – Outkast
  • What has been your biggest struggle?
    When I moved back to the United States from Turkey, I was so worried I was going to gain back the weight I had lost. I started eating even healthier and running. I ended up losing even more weight.
  • What has been your biggest victory?
    After initially losing most of the wait, I maintained for a long time. I was unsure where to go from there. Then I started concentrating on getting stronger rather than smaller. For instance, my goal in soul cycle isn’t to get skinnier, it’s to move from the 2 pound weights to the 3 pound weights.
  • How often do you weigh yourself?
    Almost never. I didn’t even know in pounds how much weight I had lost until I had to get a physical. I concentrate so much more on how my clothes fit and how I look in the mirror.
  • Why do you think small victories are important?
    It’s all a one step at a time kind of a journey. Many small victories add up to one big victory.
  • Do you use any products/services (advocare, IT works wraps, weight watchers…)?
  • What’s your advice for someone starting a weight loss journey?
    I don’t really buy into “lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks” or something like that. It took me 2 years to lose so much weight. It’s a lifestyle change and a long commitment. However, if you don’t start now, you’ll never get there.
    Also, invest in yourself. Eating healthy can be expensive. Work out classes can be expensive. However, the way I look at it, I’d rather cut back on spending elsewhere to make sure that I’m healthy. Health is more important to me than new clothes, vacation, new technology, etc.
  • What motivated you to make a change?
    Not looking like my friends. Being a lot bigger than them. Feeling unattractive. But mostly, I had friends who motivated me too. I would say I’m going to do x, y, and z. They would encourage me, and for some reason I thought people would laugh or think I was silly. That really wasn’t the case at all.
  • What’s next for your fitness goals?
    I want to return to my high school weight but have 10 times the confidence I had back then!
  • How do you balance social life and healthy life?
    I loved your advice about ordering soda and lime at the bar! I’ve started doing that all the time now!
    Also, if you go out to eat a lot, get a salad (or a healthier option on the menu) from time to time! Restaurant salads are usually the best anyways because they have culinary geniuses coming up with them!

 Allison M. Feikes

M.A. Candidate, European and Eurasian Studies, Class of 2017
School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Johns Hopkins University





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