Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
In 2012, Alicia Samaan had just finished filming her television debut for the reality show Bad Girls Club: Atlanta. When beginning the series, she anticipated fame, stardom and success — but instead, she was quickly labeled “the fat girl” by both castmates and viewers. When the show aired, she was a victim of cyberbullying and widespread fat shaming and Samaan coped by smoking, drinking and eating cheap fast food. “I hated how I looked, I hated my body, I hated my life,” she recalls. Within eight months, she had gained 40 pounds.
Samaan left New York City and moved back home to Chicago to be closer to family, but she was very closed off and unaccepting of support. “I didn’t know how to communicate what was going on inside, and I was over trying to explain it,” she says. That May, she attempted suicide. Luckily, in that very moment, she was interrupted by a phone call from a friend who happened to be a nutrition coach. He talked her down and promised he could help her get back on track. “He told me all he needed was 21 days, and I thought, What do I really have to lose?” she says.
Rocky Road Back
Samaan got to work right away with the intention of losing 40 pounds and abstaining from smoking and drinking. She also decided to go to the gym and tackle the exercise component on her own, but on the very first day, Samaan was harassed by a patron who recognized her from TV. Undeterred, Samaan changed tack and began training at home. She fell in love with the Insanity workout program and picked up running.
However, Samaan still struggled with nutrition and was finding it a challenge to give up high-calorie, nutritionally void foods. To ease into things, Samaan vowed to eat as well as she could six days per week, then allowed herself a cheat day. “It made me feel like I had something to look forward to,” she says. With nutrition and exercise working in harmony, Samaan went from a size 18 to a size 12 in 21 days.
Love and Lightness
Seven years later, Samaan is 60 pounds lighter and has — as she says — gotten her sexy back. She lives an overall healthy, active lifestyle that includes running, a variety of workouts, yoga and dancing. She believes in everything in moderation and is adamant that her weight-loss journey is much more than pounds lost — it’s also about confidence gained. “I had no idea how much I hated myself, how badly I treated myself or how much I needed to heal on the inside,” she says. “This journey taught me how to love myself.”
Dress/Clothing Size Before: 18
Dress/Clothing Size After: 3-5
Weight Before/After: 219/153
Occupation: Extras casting director
What is your favorite bodypart to train?
Glutes! I love squats and lower-body resistance-band training.
What advice would you give someone who has a lot of weight to lose?
Don’t think about how much you have to lose or how long it might take you. Just focus on being 1 percent better than you were yesterday.
What is your morning routine?
I begin my morning with meditation and daily affirmations. I read off a list of 10 to 12 as I look into a handheld mirror. My favorites are:
- I am fearless.
- I am beautiful.
- I am relentless.
- I can do this.