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Women's Fitness Personalities

How One Woman Beat Cancer and Resolved to Get Fit

She beat cancer — so why couldn’t April Capil nail down her nutrition? Here’s how she lost 60 pounds the right way.

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After her mastectomy in 2019, April Capil was at a weigh-in for reconstructive surgery. She watched in disbelief as she saw the nurse add more weight to the arm of the scale until it read 204.

“Here I was having major surgery to reduce my risk of a cancer recurrence, but it turned out that obesity was an even greater risk to my health,” she says.

Capil had been overweight most of her life because of poor dietary choices and inactivity. Now and then, she would work out for a short stint before abandoning ship because of injury or scheduling. “It’s clear my weight gain was due to a lifetime of emotional eating,” she says. “And I just wasn’t active enough for my body to burn off all those empty calories.”

What’s Up, Doc?

Only two days after that fateful weigh-in, Capil met with a weight-loss doctor who recommended a metabolism reset and provided her with a nutrition plan.

“Having a doctor-supervised program was important to me, both to hold myself accountable and to make sure I was losing weight in a healthy way,” Capil says.

She also committed to exercising at least two days per week, and in less than a year, she had lost 50 pounds. “Then I adopted a whole-food diet that balanced my macros, and I lost another 10 pounds,” she says. Capil accomplished that loss by trading her favorite high-carb foods with vegetables, her beloved rice with cauliflower or broccoli, and her pasta with spaghetti squash or zoodles.

On Booty and Books

These days, Capil runs or walks two to three times a week and exercises with resistance bands. “I’ve always had a flat butt, but I’ve discovered the power of hip thrusts and glute bridges,” she says. “Now I love training my glutes and am super proud of the booty I’m building, one rep at a time.”

Capil works as a health coach and recently published a book she hopes will inspire others to pursue their weight-loss goals. “Losing weight I never thought I could lose and having a body I never dreamed was possible has been even more life-changing than surviving cancer,” she says. “I thought I was living the fullest life I could possibly live, but  I was wrong. Now I want to help others achieve this same level of happiness with themselves and their bodies.”

Motivational Secret

Motivation is key when trying to accomplish a big weight-loss task, and Capil turned to Oxygen for that extra push. “I have an Oxygen cover featuring Jamie Eason Middleton on my bathroom mirror to motivate me and keep me going,” she says. “I’ve always admired Jamie and also Erin Stern, but it’s the women in Oxygen’s Success Stories that turned out to be my biggest inspiration. I may never be a fitness model, but I can see myself in those women now, and it makes me feel so proud of all the work I’ve done to get here.”

Stats 

  • April Capil
  • Walnut Creek, California
  • Age: 47
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight before/after: 204/144 dress size before/after: 16/6
  • Occupation: Health coach and author of The Possible Diet (amazon.com) 

April’s Top Tips 

  1. Portion control starts in the shopping cart. Don’t bring treats home — save them for when you go out to eat. One scoop of ice cream at a restaurant is always better than a half-gallon sitting in your freezer. 
  2. Track your food. Logging calories can make you realize how “expensive” an extra piece of cheese or candy is when you’re only working with a 1,500-calorie-a-day budget. 
  3. Life is like reps. Do as many as you can, as often as you can. Some days you’ll do more, some days you’ll do less. Just do your best, and give yourself some grace if you don’t get it perfect.