How I Realized My Fat Intake Was Sabotaging My Fitness Goals

After starting to track her fat intake, Nija Rivera realized she was eating too much fat. A switch to a low-fat diet that was high in protein made a huge difference.

fat intake

After altering her fat intake, Nija Rivera lost weight and was able to achieve her fitness goals. Photograph courtesy Nija Rivera.

Changing your body takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. Here’s one local’s story. Want to share your Transformation Story? Email

Who: Nija Rivera, 31, a public health professional from South Philly

Why I wanted to make a change: “I was really unhappy with the way my body looked, and I wasn’t quite sure how I got to that place. What inspired me to make a change was my desire to be happier and live the life (and have the body) that I imagined myself living.”

Height: 5’4″

Starting weight: 160

Current weight: 132

How long it took: 11 months

How I feel now: “I am so much happier and feel so much more focused on my fitness goals as well as other goals in my life.”

How I changed my diet: “After tracking my diet through MyFitnessPal, I realized that I was eating way too much fat. Some healthy fat, some not so healthy fat, but definitely way too much of it. So I started to cut the amount of fat in my diet. I also realized that I was eating way too many calories, and not enough protein. That said, I started sticking to my basal metabolic rate level for calorie intake, and I really bumped up the protein. I started with protein shakes, which I never thought I would ever have to or need to do, but I found protein powders that are pretty good and easy to integrate into my diet.”

How I changed my workout plan: “I started training at RippedPHL religiously, at least four times a week.”

“I have to think about my food and fitness choices every day — it’s not something that I do just occasionally.”

The hardest part: “I am finding that summer time is really difficult. I love sitting at sunny sidewalk cafés drinking wine and having well-made microbrews at outdoor festivals, but those habits don’t lend well to weight loss.”

What I’m most proud of: “I am proud that I can now do at least a couple of push ups without completely dying.”

What I want everyone to know: “That it is definitely possible, but not easy. I have to think about my food and fitness choices every day — it’s not something that I do just occasionally. I want people to know that is a lifestyle change, but one that is completely worth it.”

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