How I Got This Body: Losing 50 Pounds, Then Gaining Half of It Back Again

All photographs courtesy Demetra Eftimiades.

Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email

Who I am: Demetra Eftimiades, 22, a personal trainer from Bethesda

Why I wanted to make a change: Before my life changed forever, I was in a relationship where I was not thinking about myself or my own needs. I invested all of my time and energy into the other person. As a result of a difficult and emotional break up, I was lost for a good while and looked for ways to escape the pain. Working out was one of them, but at the same time it just wasn’t enough. I was tired of the vicious cycle of doing the same things over and over again; working out during the week, then poisoning my body by drinking and partying every weekend. It was then that I decided to quit the drinking and only put good things into my body and treat it like the temple it is.”

How I changed: My initial transformation was a 50-pound weight loss [from 157lbs to 109 lbs] because of a lack of food and excessive cardio. I felt and looked emaciated. My second transformation consisted of me building muscle and strength. I began fueling my body with quality food and proper exercise but still was too restrictive with my lifestyle. My third and last transformation was me finally letting go. I finally found a balance between doing just enough to progress and be happy at the same time. Training smarter, not harder, and eating with a lot more flexibility.”

My exercise plan: Initially, I was doing mainly cardio with very little weight training and lacked proper nutrition. I started to feel as though my body was shutting down, so I decided to look for ways to make me feel strong. Weightlifting was my answer! I started to lift weights and began seeing the changes that I wanted. I felt and looked stronger with better energy whilst fueling my body with proper nutrition. My weekly workout routine is having an intense heavy leg day, an upper body day, and one additional leg day with a little less intensity. I also try to fit in one to two days of plyometrics here and there!”

I was tired of the vicious cycle of doing the same things over and over again; working out during the week, then poisoning my body by drinking and partying every weekend.

My healthy eating plan: When I first began bodybuilding I was very strict with my food intake. I tracked every little thing that went into my body, including mustard. Yes, mustard. My diet was highly restrictive for two years and it was mentally taxing. It also affected my relationships with my friends and loved ones as I usually decided not to attend events where I knew there would be food. Currently, I eat without a structured meal plan. I eat if I feel hungry and only eat until I am content, not completely full or engorged.”

How I stuck to my goals: My main goal [used to be] to never revert back to the way I had looked my whole life. I was terrified of looking like the ‘chubby girl’ again, so I did everything in my power to prevent that. I would weigh myself every day, twice a day. Now, I weight myself maybe once every few months. The number no longer controls me nor does it define who I am. My goal right now is to enjoy my workouts while having great energy for my workouts and throughout the day.”

How I feel now: Before I made this change, I felt as though my life was imbalance and restricted. I definitely limited myself in life. Now I feel free to do what makes me happy.”

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.