Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Occupation: Letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service
Fifty-year-old Ana Alvarado was born in El Paso, Texas, the oldest of two siblings, including a sister who died at just two weeks old. Ana was raised in Texas and later in Los Angeles before moving at age 19 to Portland, where she currently resides. She started gaining weight at age 23, after she had her daughter, Irene. Irene's father left her when she was pregnant, and Ana turned to food for comfort and "as a way to stay unattractive so I wouldn't get hurt again," she says. Now she has arthritis in both knees, lower back pain and high blood pressure. She wants to take control of her life, and at age 50 and 255 lbs. wants to be healthy and happy for the next chapter of her life. Going through the audition process made her realize how unhealthy and unhappy she has become. She says, "It has motivated me to get out of my comfort zone and take charge." After she loses the weight, Ana hopes to be able to do her job without pain and also travel to Oaxaca, Mexico and climb ruins with her daughter when Irene graduates from college.
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