All Entries For success story
Name: Tracy Meuschke (TRACY31502)
Weight Lost: 212 pounds
Hometown: South Bend, IN
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
What was life like before losing weight?
I have ALWAYS been obese! At the age of 12, I was 255 pounds and on the Jenny Craig program. I stayed on for about four weeks, losing about five pounds, and then quit. I just kept going up and up from there. I was 325 pounds in high school. I was around 300 pounds when I got married and then gained 73 pounds within the first two years of our marriage. I had lost two pregnancies and just hit an all-time low and didn't take care of myself. I'm sure my weight played a big role in having my miscarriages.
At my highest weight, I was happy with everyone around me, but not happy with myself. I honestly didn't realize I was as big as I was and I didn't realize all the things from which my weight was holding me back. I mean, shaving my legs or even putting on my shoes was a chore. Walking just a half mile was huge for me. I would breathe heavily even when doing nothing.
What was your "A-Ha moment" that made you get serious about losing the weight?
One morning, I just broke down. I felt like no diet was working and I didn't know what to do. I actually contemplated surgery. But after some praying about what to do, I just started cutting down on what I ate and started moving!
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation was that I wanted to have a healthy pregnancy and baby not just for myself but also because my husband wanted to be a dad so much. Our losses were the toughest thing we had ever been through, but they made us grow as a couple and got me on the track to healthy living! Read More ›
Brad Milligan (BRADMILL2922)
Weight Lost: 197 pounds
Hometown: Jeffersonville, IN
What was life like before losing weight?
I was a big kid and a big teenager. Being 6'7", I was never going to be small. I never enjoyed exercise much, but I did it because it was part of playing sports. I was always an athlete growing up, including playing baseball in college. When sports ended for me, I stopped exercising. I steadily gained weight in my 20s from lack of exercise and poor diet. When I was at my highest weight of 509 pounds, I didn't feel like doing anything. I didn't want to go out of the house and hang out with friends because I was embarrassed of myself. I really couldn't participate in many sporting activities or physical activities in general because it made me tired. I had no energy.
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My main motivation was my kids. I am a single dad of three children and I wanted to be around for them, be more active with them and set a good example. I realized that the way I was going, that wasn't going to happen. I had a lot of "dieting" stops and starts over the years that failed every time. I had lost myself and who I was. On May 4, 2012, I weighed in at 466 pounds and I decided that on May 5 (Kentucky Derby Day around here), I wasn't going to do this anymore. I came up with a plan of diet and, eventually, exercise that I thought would help me lose the weight. No shortcuts. No fad diets. No trainers. No surgery. No diet pills. It was going to be hard work and I knew I needed some help along the way which is where SparkPeople.com came in. I set a goal to lose 167 pounds, which would get me down to 299 pounds. I would be less than 300 pounds for the first time since college! Read More ›
Chrissy Kellems-Silvas (CHRISSY-50)
Weight Lost: 55 pounds
Hometown: Blaine, WA
Occupation: Human Resources/ Workforce Planning Specialist
How did you gain the weight?
I am an emotional eater. During my 30s, I lost my father to hepatitis C and got married to a person that was emotionally and physically abusive to both my daughter and me. My daughter subsequently got involved with drugs, dropped out of school and left home by the time she was 17. In 2008, I left all my possessions and my ex-husband behind and moved 2,000 miles across the country for a fresh start near my biological mother, who had also been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
My daughter, who was 16 at the time, further rebelled once we moved and spiraled out of control. Subsequently, my biological mother ended our relationship. In that stress-filled year, I put on at least 25 pounds. At my highest weight, everything felt uncomfortable, including my own skin. I had never weighed that much in my whole life. I hated myself and what I had become. It was really a dark place for me.
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation to lose weight was to heal. I just wanted to be a happy, healthy person again. I quit smoking, took a firm stand with my daughter and took responsibility for my actions. I had a lot of guilt for what my daughter was going through because I allowed her to be exposed to someone as awful as my ex-husband. I hated myself for what she was doing to herself. I had to start loving myself again. I had to show her by my actions that a healthy, happy life is a choice, not some random thing. Read More ›
After a family health scare on Valentine's Day in 2006, Lisa Thompson (C_ANEMONE) set out to change her life. And she succeeded! Today, Lisa is 100 pounds lighter, and she's sharing her story on Huffington Post Healthy Living. Check it out here. Read More ›
Name: Roxanne Carrier (ROX5CAR)
Weight Lost: 69 pounds
Hometown: East Syracuse, NY
Occupation: Health Teacher
I gained my weight steadily starting in ninth grade. I was 14 going on 15 and remembered seeing 150 pounds on the scale. I gained weight because I just wasn't paying any attention to controlling it. My mom would encourage me to eat--she said I was thin. I had a lot of emotional issues going on in my life at the time. Exercise was never encouraged, but gaining weight was. Being thin was looked down upon in my family, so my weight continued a steady climb all through high school. When I graduated, I weighed 186 pounds, and by the time I got married about four years later, my weight was 189 pounds Soon after, I hit 195 pounds.
I couldn't blame my weight on having kids; I only gained 25 pounds with each pregnancy, and I lost all the weight with each one. I maintained 195 pounds for a few years until my second daughter was 4 years old. At that point, it seemed as though I started putting on weight for no reason.
I had pain every morning getting out of bed. I was only 30 years old when I first noticed that it was difficult to walk. It hurt to stand on my feet and I'd feel this awful pain every morning.
My biggest motivation and the biggest turning point in my life was when my doctor found a borderline cancerous ovarian tumor. On my medical record he wrote "morbidly obese."
I thought: How in the world did I come to that? I'm a health teacher, and morbidly obese is written on my record? What kind of an example is this? What am I teaching my students: eat healthy and exercise, but the teacher doesn't have to?
I decided I needed to be a better role model, not only for my students, but for my own children as well. Read More ›
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. Read More ›
SparkPeople member Clover (CLOVERROSE) lost 128 pounds—and now she’s featured on Huffington Post Canada. Find out how this mother of two got healthy and found the energy for herself, her family—and the toddlers she teaches all day.
Read more on Huffington Post Canada Healthy Living.
Congratulations, Clover! Read More ›
Carol Reinhard (CAROLJEAN64)
Weight Lost: 57 pounds
Hometown: West Des Moines, IA
I was in the midst of therapy for depression. I broke my leg, the complications from which left me inactive for several months. I gained weight as a shield as I dealt with complex and frightening issues in therapy. I had little energy. I did not feel attractive to my husband and felt like a grandmother to almost anyone more than 10 years younger than me. I didn't want to be old when I knew I wasn't. I somehow inherently knew that combining good eating and physical activity was what I needed to complete the road to good emotional, physical and mental health that I started in therapy.
I made some great progress in therapy and decided to give my husband my weight loss goals as a birthday gift with the goal of being at my wedding weight by our 38th wedding anniversary eight months later. I made it with one day to spare. My first week I lost six pounds, and I gained only one week. I lost about 1.75 pounds per week.
Keeping a food journal has been so important in maintaining my weight. For me, it was all about portion control, portion control, portion control.
Interestingly enough, I came to SparkPeople Read More ›
Meet Erin. She's 30 and lives in Florida. Happily engaged and recently promoted at work, she loves her life. She wakes up feeling great, rarely stops moving throughout her waking hours, and goes to sleep each night with a smile on her face. Life isn't perfect, but every day feels better than the last, she says.
Erin is so committed to this life that it's hard for her to remember what it was like before, when she weighed almost twice what she does now. When she had little energy to stay awake after work and all she wanted to do on her days off was sleep. When she was in excruciating pain from even the smallest physical efforts and walking around the block seemed like torture. When she looked in the mirror and didn't recognize the woman she'd become and didn't know how to change her life.
She wanted to marry the love of her life, raise babies together, and do all the fun things she could only watch from afar. When she moved to Florida from New Jersey, she was excited about the year-round sun, access to the beach, and all the theme parks and outdoor festivals. But most of the time, she stayed inside or came home early because she was tired and in pain. Life was passing her by, and she felt helpless. Looking back now on the day she decided to change everything, it feels like a dream—a nightmare—but she's grateful for it. Looking back, the worst day of her life was also among the best, because it was the first day of the rest of her life.
The harness was stuck. No matter what she did, Erin couldn't fasten the safety belt around her middle. She held her breath, sucked in her stomach, and tried wiggling in her seat. Her fiancé, JT, then tried, but to no avail. People were laughing and pointing, and the line was backing up. The roller-coaster operator came over to see what was wrong.
It was the day after Erin's longtime boyfriend had proposed to her, and they were at a Florida theme park to celebrate. The joy that hadn't left her face since he got down on one knee was replaced by fear and panic. Finally, it clasped.
Her humiliation turned to relief and then terror as the ride began. Was the harness secure? Would it hold her weight, or would she plummet to her death on what should have been a day of celebration? The ride lasted a mere three minutes, but every moment felt like an eternity. She held her breath, gripped her fiancé's hand, and prayed for it to be over. It soon was, and her giddiness returned, until they picked up the photos taken on the ride. Her stomach dropped as she looked at the woman in the photo. She knew she had gained weight, but really? That was what she looked like?
I look like a pillow stuffed into a wastebasket, she thought. Right then and there, she knew something had to change. She and JT wanted to start a family, but Erin asked herself, How can I take care of kids if I can't take care of myself?
At Sea World, the site of the fateful roller-coaster ride
After years of trying maple-syrup cleanses, all-meat fad diets, and every diet pill in the pharmacy, she was ready to lose the weight for good. No more quick fixes or searches for an instant cure.
This is it, she told herself. It has to be the right way. Nothing ever worked before because I didn't do it the right way.
"How to live a healthy life," she typed into her browser; she was not going to look into diets. SparkPeople.com popped up in her search results and she joined immediately. She got started on her new life and never looked back. Read More ›
In 2010, Kristina (Tina) Davis (TINAJANE76) topped 210 pounds. Only in her early 30s, she felt much older--aches and pains were a fact of life. She decided to stop the yo-yo diet cycle once and for all. Today she's 90+ pounds lighter and an active member on the At Goal & Maintaining Team here on SparkPeople (some of her best tips are also shared in The Spark Solution, the new book from the experts and members at SparkPeople.com).
Read more of Tina's story at Huffington Post Healthy Living! Way to go Tina, and thanks for helping others along the way. Read More ›
Brett Day (brett_day1981)
Weight Lost: 136 lbs
Hometown: Bridge Creek, OK
I completely destroyed two discs in my lower back after an accident at work. I had surgery to fix the problems and ended up having a spinal fusion at one level and an artificial disc at the level above the fusion. As a result of the surgery, I ended up with a condition called RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), which is a rare type of nerve damage. RSD is progressive and is incredibly painful in the afflicted limbs. I had a hard time moving around because of the pain in my back, and quickly became very unhappy. This led to comfort eating. I gained a lot of weight, and ended up weighing 334 pounds.
My life then was quite miserable. I faced so many challenges, not only because of my injuries, but because of the extra weight as well. I became incredibly self-conscious. I hated the way I looked and did not like going out very much, and I certainly did not like having my picture taken. Because of this, I missed out on many family outings and trips. I could not play with my children like a good parent should be able to do, and even going out and about to do daily chores was a struggle because I would get so out of breath.
After I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted to help control the pain of RSD, I knew I had been given a second chance to become the husband and father I knew I could be. My family was my biggest motivation. I knew that I had to change so that I could be around for my wife and for my children. I knew that if I did not change my ways, then I would not be around to see my children grow up. At the time I also suffered with alarmingly high blood pressure and was told that I was pre-diabetic. My dad passed away due to complications from diabetes, and I knew I did not want to go down that path.
My “A-Ha” moment came on October 23, 2011. Read More ›
UPDATE: Shellie was featured in the Zumba-themed publication "Z-LIFE." Read her story here, about breaking out of her shell.
About 101 pounds lighter, Shellie Austin (SHELLSBROOD) is now a Zumba teacher--and her story is featured in the April 29 issue of FIRST for Women magazine. The magazine is on newsstands now.
We aren't going to give away the "good parts," but Shellie did share some behind-the-scenes pictures on her SparkPage blog.
Be sure to pick up a copy of FIRST for Women to read Shellie's story!
Read More ›
SparkPeople member Brittney (MISSB8604) is featured on Huffington Post this week after losing 100 pounds! Find out how this self-proclaimed theater diva did it.
Check out her story here. (And check out these red-carpet worthy pics of Brittney, too.)
Way to go, Brittney! Read More ›
It's a great week for SparkPeople members! Two of our inspiring Success Stories are in the news for their incredible life changes.
Bonnie (FLYINGB16) lost 142 pounds, and now her story is featured on FamilyCircle.com and in the latest issue of the magazine. Read part of her story here, and pick up the magazine (on newsstands now) to read more!
Nancy (http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage.asp?id=NANCYANNE55) lost 49 pounds--and is a personal trainer who's had four kids. You can read her story at Shape.com.
Way to go, Bonnie and Nancy! Read More ›