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Success Story — Jody's Story: She Lost 174 Pounds!

HOMETOWN: Glenwood, W.Va.
OCCUPATION: Stay-at-home mother and wife
HEALTHY ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Jody lost 174 pounds* and now enjoys confidence and the energy to keep up with her family!

Jody lost 174 pounds and now enjoys confidence and the energy to keep up with her family!

Growing up, I was considered “chubby” or “big boned.” I always thought I looked pretty good though, so I wasn't really concerned about my weight. Looking back, I see that I should have been. I wasn’t active when I got out of high school, and I really started gaining weight when I was about 21. I worked at a restaurant in the mall and developed some really bad eating habits there. For example, if we made a mistake on a person's order and no one wanted the meal, I would usually take it home and eat it while watching TV late at night. I had been wearing size 12 jeans, but soon I blew up to a size 18. I realize now that I was eating more for comfort than anything else.

The bright spot of working at the restaurant was that I met my husband, Don; he fell in love with the person I am on the inside. I quit before we got married in June 1996, but the weight kept piling on — most likely because we really enjoyed eating at fast-food restaurants together. I gave birth to our daughter the following September, and I weighed around 260 pounds — and I never lost that weight. I had my sons in 1999 and 2002, and I stayed at around 275 pounds throughout those years.

The turning point came when I finally realized that I hated my life. One day Don suggested that we all go collect seashells by the water. I was so hot and exhausted on the walk that I had to sit down. My husband and the kids just took off, having fun and laughing, and I realized that I was missing out. I was missing my family. It wasn't fair, but I was doing it to myself. I was depressed. I felt useless and like I’d let my family down and held them back from enjoying things. I didn't want to leave the house, I didn't even want people to come over or call me on the phone — I just wanted to be left alone.

Even feeling the way I did, it took me some time to realize that I had to make a change. Don bought me a scale, and on the first day of my new lifestyle, I weighed myself and was totally shocked. I had always told myself that I weighed 275 to 280 pounds, but I was actually 324 pounds! I wanted to cry, but instead I said, “Okay, I have to do something now or I'm going to die.” I wanted to be around to see my kids grow up — and I told myself that it was now or never. My husband found a used exercise bike. I started slowly, riding just a couple of times a week, gradually increasing how long I’d ride. I began to cut out snacks and stopped eating late at night. About three weeks later, I found Denise Austin's Getting Fit show on television and decided to give it a try. At first, I couldn't keep up with her, but Denise was very motivating and encouraged me to go at my own pace. When I got tired, I walked in place. When I thought I didn't have enough time to exercise, I just got up and did it. After six weeks, I began to see and feel results. I even added one of Denise’s step workout videos to my routine. It’s been more than a year since I started working out with Denise, and now I can keep up with her. I am 174 pounds lighter, weighing in at 150! I feel as if she’s my personal trainer! Denise helped me learn not to quit, how to keep trying, and to never starve myself. The biggest challenge has been the temptations I face, like seeing all the fast-food places I used to love. But I focus on what I can eat instead of what I can’t, and I remind myself that it's okay to have treats in moderation.

My family has been very supportive. My husband knows how important this lifestyle change is to me and helps me in any way he can. My kids always want to walk or exercise with me, which makes it more fun. And my wonderful parents always tell me how proud they are of me.

Now I’m so much happier than I have ever been in my life. I have energy and can do so much more with my kids. I still work out with Denise every morning, and I always will — I feel so much better, alive and awake, afterward. I feel more confidence than I ever have — and I get told by a lot of people I know that they can tell. It's not just about looking good, it's about feeling good! I'm on top of the world and it feels so wonderful!

SECRET TO SUCCESS: Don't quit! Even if you have a bad day, remember that it happens. Every day, try to get some sort of exercise, and write down everything you eat and drink. Focus on what you can eat, not what you can't. You can do this — just set your mind to it and go for it!

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

Rosemary's Story: 50 Pounds in Six Months!

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

Weight:  lbs     Goal:  lbs
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