An Interview With an “Ex-Obese”, Maria João Bonito


I had an opportunity to interview Maria João Bonito. If you don’t know about Maria, let me give you a quick rundown.

  • Maria is 24 years old
  • Maria is from Portugal
  • She started her weight loss journey weighing 189.5 pounds
  • In 2 years, Maria lost 66 pounds
  • She now weighs 123.5 pounds
  • Maria is awesome

I had the extreme please to interview Maria. She was honest, kind, and inspiring. I hope you get something from reading her story.

Enter Maria:

Hello, my name is Maria João Bonito, I am 24 years old and I am from Portugal. I am an ex-obese trying hard every day to keep discipline around food and to keep focus on training in order to achieve my goals. I’ve lost 30 kg (66 pounds) in the past 2 years and I am now working towards a more fit/toned body – building muscle and burning the fat I have left.

Has weight always been a struggle in your life?
Basically yes. Since I remember I have been struggling with weight. I was just 5 yo when I started to “hate” myself and compare my body with other skinny girls that I thought were prettier; I’ve pretty much grew up thinking that I would never match beauty standards as they were. My teenage years were good (even though they could have been great) because I always was an outgoing and easy girl, but deep inside of me my image (weight related), always bothered me and made me unhappy in several ways. So yes, I can surely say that weight has been an issue all my life and I know for sure I will always be very self-conscious about it.

What’s been your biggest challenge with weight?
My biggest challenge with weight is been probably trying so hard to not gain fat weight, but lean muscle weight instead, and for that I need to keep my eating habits very straight and that is not easy at all.
Was there a specific moment that you remember that you decided to turn your life around?
Yes Sir. And that moment will always be kept in my mind forever because is a huge boost for my will power to reflect on where I was back then and where I am right now. That moment for me was 3 years ago when I got up on scale and the number was 86 kg :’(

What’s your number one tip for maintaining weight loss?
Is very important to set goals; both short and long term. Short term goals help me keep focus on a daily basis and keep up with the discipline I need to stay away from bad food; long term goals remind me why I started and keep me focused to fight just to never go back to the situation I put myself into before.

What advice can you give someone who’s struggled with their weight and really wants to get started but doesn’t know how?
I can say that you must really want this for yourself, not for somebody else; and you will have to be willing to let go of old habits and we know that is never easy. Good things come to those who dare to go out of their comfort zones and I am living proof of it. I now feel very good about myself and I know that it would never happen if I decided to stick with my old and bad habits. So keep in mind that you not fighting the old but building the new. Self-love is everything.

Do you allow yourself cheat days?
I don’t feel like I need cheat days or cheat meals, because the food in my country can be so good and very healthy at the same time, even when I am eating cheese is not cheating for me because I know from where that cheese came from and I know is very good and have a lot of nutrients and the fat that is in it is healthy, the same with double cream. I love panacotta eheheh I think the trick is the balance, I have never liked fast food because first of all in my country that is just not food for us and second if you do a little research if you eat those oils and greasy smelly “food” you might as well be eating poison instead because that is how your body will “recognize” it. So, no cheat days/meals for me.

What is your biggest motivation now?
I must say happiness, health and feeling comfortable in my own skin. Feeling good about myself is definitely my biggest motivation.

How long did it take you to get to your goal weight?
The point is that at the beginning I set a goal weight, but now I understand that the number on the scale doesn’t matter. I am 1,56m tall and my goal was 55kg but I went down to 56kg and I was too skinny so now I just prefer to be fit. My weight now is 58 kg ☺ again… number is not a definition of health for me. Muscle is heavier than fat.

What’s your favorite healthy meal?
That would be for sure grilled (with coal – for that smoky flavour) fresh Sardines with tomato salad, oreganos and plenty of olive oil.

What food can you not live without?
I cannot live without fruit. I love all kinds of fruit and I am lucky that where I live we have always amazing fruits every seasons of the year.

Are you where you want to be now?
No. But I am closer than I was 2 years ago. That is for sure. And I think we always have something we can work on, so I will never be where I want because I will always have the need for improvement.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself as a hot fit mom because my great wish is having kids.

Thank you Maria. If you take anything out of this interview is that weight loss is not an overnight thing, and it is, in fact, a lifestyle that can have it’s ups and it’s downs. In addition, I think Maria is a prime example of how you need a motivating factor – as in stepping on the scale and saying “what the F**K!?!” – to get you to move in a new direction. Also, weight is a number and what may be more important, is sustainability and enjoyment in a fashion that suits your desires and health at the same time. It can be hard, but it is always rewarding.

To follow Maria @mariajoaobonito, please visit her Instagram page here:

What do you think of Marias’ transformation?