Success Story: 'I Feel So Much Better Now!'*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Name: Michelle Howard (MOMMYOF2RN)
Weight Lost: 135 pounds
Hometown: Pelion, SC
Occupation: Registered Nurse

I gained weight through lack of exercise and an extremely poor diet with tons of soda and fast food. Before I had my first child in 1996, I weighed 144 pounds.  After delivery, I weighed 220 pounds. I chalked it up to part of having a kid. Life went on, and I started the ups and downs of weight loss. I got back down to 180 pounds and was fairly happy with myself.  In 2004, Baby #2 came along and I went right back to 220 pounds. By that time, I was involved with a very controlling spouse who feared that if I lost weight I would leave him, so I stayed very heavy through our whole relationship.

In 2010, that relationship ended and I toyed with the weight loss idea.  I joined Curves and started watching my calories; I even tried the Atkins diet. Then on Thanksgiving 2010, I had a gallbladder attack and wound up needing surgery.  My pre-op weight was 297 pounds! I was in shock.

I felt miserable. I always felt like less of a person because I was so large. In crowded areas, I always felt that someone was looking at me or making fun of me.  That kept me from trying new things.  Looking at my vacation pictures from the beach and Dollywood in 2011, I couldn’t believe that it was really me. The photos were horrible, but I just hid them instead of doing anything about them.  Then, when my size 2X scrubs didn’t fit comfortably anymore and I had to buy a size 3X, I felt horrible.

My biggest “A-Ha moment” was Thanksgiving 2011, when we went hiking in the mountains. I got so short-winded that I actually got to a point where I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it back.  It was very scary.  As a registered nurse, I see how poor lifestyles affect people every day, and I did not want to wind up like most of my patients. And as a mother of children who were heading in the same direction, I felt I owed it to them to get healthy and teach them to be healthy as well.

After the hiking incident, I joined a gym that is owned by the hospital where I work. They offer a huge discount on personal training to employees as well as membership reimbursement as long as you attend the gym 10 times per month for 12 months. So I figured I had nothing to lose. I met with my trainer two weeks after joining and started working out with her twice a week.  She led me in the right direction as to what to eat and how to incorporate exercise into my life.

After two months, I finally got up enough courage to try an aerobic weight training class. I liked it and began incorporating that into my routine. Then, I tried Zumba and LOVED it.  I gradually kept trying new classes and new exercises with my trainer. I just recently added running to my routine thanks to SparkPeople's Trick or Treat Trot Virtual 5K training program.

My trainer told me about, and from that day on, I have been very active on the site. My favorite thing is the nutrition tracker. I was so shocked at first by how truly bad my diet was, and how some of the so-called "good for you" foods weren’t really that good for you. I also loved reading the articles and blogs. Recently, I have become more involved in the message boards and I enjoy the interaction with other members.

Now, I feel so much better and I have a lot more self-confidence. I can take the stairs without practically dying! I don’t get short of breath anymore! My low back pain is gone. My new-found healthy lifestyle has also paid off for my children.  My oldest has lost 64 pounds and my "baby" has maintained without gaining. They both love being active with me!

Way to go, Michelle!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Have you lost weight and kept it off using We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


WOW ! What a grand accomplishment. You look like half a person. Thanks for helping us that have been up & down the scale see possibilities in your story ! Report
You look amazing, thanks for inspiring me. :)
Inspiring! Thanks for sharing Report
WOW!!! You are fantastic! Report
You are an inspiration to all who have been in your shoes. Thanks for sharing your amazing story. Keep up the great work! Your children must be very proud of their mom. Report
Your photos tell it all. You have done an amazing thing for yourself and thanks so much for sharing with us. Report
congratulations and thanks Report
Congrats on your journey to health!! Report
Absolutely awesome Michelle - New lifestyle, new you. You look wonderful..well done.
Kia Kaha Michelle! Report
So inspiring! Thanks so much for taking the time to post your journey Report
Wonderful success story. Thanks for sharing. Report
Very inspiring! Congratulations on your success and the positive influence on your children!
Congratulations on losing weight and getting in shape in a very healthy and sensible way!! Report
What a wonderful gift you have given yourself. Your great example will surely inspire your girls, your patients, and your family and friends.
I really identified with your pre-surgical weigh in. That was the exact situation I was in back in 2003. I had a year of sobriety and was looking at a total hysterectomy. My weigh in shocked me and jolted me into the next step in my overall health recovery. I, like you, eventually added regular exercise and found Sparkpeople.
Hooray for you and all the people you are inspiring! Report
way to go Report
Thanks for sharing. May God continue to use you to encourage others. Report
It's just so inspiring to watch the transformation over time. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us all. Report
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story!! You look fantastic and taking control of your own health has paid off for you and has begun to ripple outward to your kids. Awesome!! Report
Looking great! You are an inspiration! Report
You look fabulous! Best of all, you are so much healthier! Report
Way to go!! You should be very proud of your accomplishments!! Congrats on your success! Report
Sweet, sweet story. Very inspiring! You look great - and strong! Report
Amazing!! A wonderful example for your kids. Thanks for sharing your journey.

:) Report
way to go Report
Congrats! And it does prove that the habbits of a parent can really reflect on their kids! Good job! And keep on loving it! Report
Great job Michelle!
I'm surprised how many people think McD's is real food!?!
Baffles me. Report
Awesome!! Great success story! Inspirational! Report
Good for you! Thanks for sharing your success! Report
Congratulations!!! You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing :) Report
Your story is truly inspirational!
Thanks for sharing! Report
woo hoo! Report
Congratulations!!! So glad you have taken control of your life. Absolutely amazing Report
Thank you for sharing this very inspiring story with me. It gives me hope. Report
Thank you for sharing this very inspiring story with me. It gives me hope. Report
wow you did great. Report
Congrats! What an inspiration you are.
What a wonderful story! Thank you soo much for sharing this! I needed this =) Report
Thanks, you have inspired me to get moving and change my ways, Report
Terrific accomplishment. Thanks for sharing your story, Michelle. My guess is that you are not only an inspiration for your kids, but also for your patients. Report
Well done Hun. Keep up the good work . Your an inspiration to all. Report
good job! Report
Congratulations on your fitness success! If you haven't already found the Team "At Goal or Transitioning to Maintenance", I HIGHLY recommend it as losing weight and maintaining the weight loss are very different animals! BEST wishes for continued success on your fitness journey to health and happiness! Report
Well done, I am in a terrible cycle of unhealthy eating and can't seem to get motivated to change...and I am stressed by the weight I am putting on. Report
You go, girl! It sounds like we work at the same hospital :) I'm so proud of you and all you have done to improve your life, for yourself and your kids! Report
What a beautiful story and Kudos to you for making a miraculous change! Report
Great. Report
Congratulations! You have done so well! Thanks for sharing such a great success story! It is inspirational to those of us starting out! Report
congrats on a job well done. Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.