For the past three years Ahwatukee resident Malinda Davis has transformed and changed her life by one simple notion: shedding off unwanted pounds. Three years ago Davis was weighing upwards of 411 pounds, and with dedication and the wiliness to change her life she has lost more than 200 pounds.

Currently weighing in at 175 pounds, she has been maintaining her weight for a year now.

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Throughout the years Davis has had problems with her weight and trying to get the initial nudge to change her lifestyle.

Her motivation for losing the weight came gradually, where she was tired of being uncomfortable in her own body.

“If I had to get down on my hands and knees for something I had trouble standing back up,” Davis said. “It was kind of one of those things where you realize the things you can’t do.”

She tried numerous diet plans over the years — too many to count — and nothing seemed to work, so she decided to seek professional help on the never ending battle she was tired of fighting.

Davis visited Dr. James Nichols of Ahwatukee Weight Loss to get a full check-up and spoke to him about how she was interested in losing weight.

“I really didn’t know how to go about it, and I didn’t want to do a surgery unless it was the last chance to lose the weight,” Davis said.

She was then directed to Dylan Valenzuela in 2011, medical director/program manager at Ahwatukee Weight Loss, who guided her on the path.

Valenzuela said Davis didn’t have any major obesity-related diseases, but having her on the program was a way to better the quality of life she was interested in pursuing.

Since meeting two years ago, Valenzuela has seen a heighten sense of motivation from Davis where she has never missed one appointment.

“With every one of my patients I try to instill that type of relationship and friendship so they have a little more motivation than trying to lose weight and get healthier,” Valenzuela said. “So much of weight loss is physiological… That’s one thing that made Malinda special because she literally put her head to the grind stone, put those blinders on, and she didn’t let anything get into her path. She was determined to lose weight and was determined to do whatever it took to lose the weight.”

Journey to good health

Valenzuela put Davis on a rigorous weight-loss program where she was allowed two meals each day, consisting of a meal-replacement shake and a meal of 5 ounces of low-fat protein and three cups worth of vegetables.

She was also given snacks in between each meal where she was able to munch on fruit.

“It was basically set up so I can eat every two to three hours every day, so my body always feels like its getting food,” Davis said.

She was on that type of eating routine for a little over a year, where her weight loss varied.

During the first few months of being on the diet program, Davis was hitting the ground running, typically losing 10 to 15 pounds each week. During her top week she lost 18 pounds.

As of right now, Davis’ focus is more towards maintaining her newly formed physic, but says she doesn’t take the militant approach to her eating habits, indulging in some not-so-healthily foods.

Throughout the three years, Davis had to become her own motivation because her family is all back in Washington.

What really helped her stay on track was the weekly visits at Ahwatukee Weight Loss where she was surrounded by encouraging people who wanted to see nothing more but success from her.

“It gave me something to aim for,” Davis said.

Knowing she has no family in the area, over the years Valenzuela has tried to create a more friendship atmosphere to keep Davis on track.

“It kept on going at a steady rate, varying depending on the week. There were set backs here and there when my body wasn’t being cooperative we tried to figure out what was going on,” Davis said. “For the most part things typically went smoothly.”

Now that Davis has lost the weight, her next step is to have skin-graph surgery, but she’s unsure on when the that will be preformed.

Davis will be having her next consultation in October and will be looking to get all the litigation through.

“I’m 43 years old and I feel better than I have in many years.”

For more information on Ahwatukee Weight Loss, 13838 S. 46th Place, Suite 320, call (480) 759-5151 or visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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