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Success Stories — Joy's Story: From Couch Potato to Triathlete

Joy Williams lost weight with Denise Austin's help
Joy Williams
Hometown: Parker, Colo.
Occupation: Stay-at-home mother of two children
Healthy Accomplishments: Joy found her inner athlete while going from 190 to 120 pounds*, and discovered a love for running!

As a child growing up in the South, I was raised on Southern comfort food. Not surprisingly, I was heavy during my adolescent years. Almost everyone in my extended family had diabetes, heart problems, or cancer — and it looked as though I was headed that way.

I was able maintain a healthy lifestyle until I had children. After the birth of my second child it became really hard to stay as active as I was before. I even signed up for a gym membership that I never used. Before long, my weight had climbed to 190 pounds.

When my youngest was 2 years old I received an offer for Denise Austin's book, Shrink Your Female Fat Zones, in the mail. I ordered the book, but it sat on my counter for a month before I even picked it up. One day I randomly flipped through the book. To my surprise, the workouts and menus seemed easier than I thought. The workouts were similar to what I had been trying, but they gave me some needed consistency. The menus involved foods I already bought, yet it simplified meals so that I was able to figure out portion control and ways to add more veggies to my diet. I couldn't believe I hadn't started earlier!

I started following Denise's menus religiously, and I began using my forgotten gym membership. I did exercise classes five to six days a week, as well as weight training two to three days. Running was always something that I thought I hated, but after adding it to my workouts, I ended up falling in love with it.

My newfound love for running and fitness inspired a friend to suggest that we enter and train for a triathlon. As the triathlon approached, I decided that I didn't feel prepared, so I kept training. I completed part of a three-series decathlon this past winter (one in December and one in February) even after I tore ligaments in my ankle! I finally completed a full triathlon in June and am now training for more this summer! With every race, my times go down and I am reminded of how far I've come — from an overweight stay-at-home mom to a full-fledged athlete!

I am completely committed to my new healthy outlook, and I won't apologize or ever feel guilty about it. A friend of mine told me after my second child was born that when you have kids there isn't much you can do about the size of your body; I almost bought into that mindset. But I found out I can do ANYTHING — nothing is out of my reach!

With my commitment and athletic training, I am now in better shape than in college! I am given peace of mind knowing that I am beating my unhealthy family history by eating healthy and staying active. I am also setting an example for my children. My husband is proud and impressed with my discipline and commitment, and my parents love the new healthy me

Secret to Success: "I've made a commitment to myself and never feel guilty or apologize for it!"

More Success Stories:
Cheri's Story: A Brand New Attitude.
Bekey's Story: From Size 26 to Size 16!

*Weight loss varies by individual. You may not achieve these results.

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Everyday Health Network