UPDATED: SparkPeople Member in People--and on the Today Show!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
UPDATED: Did you miss Christina's Today Show appearance? Watch now!

Great news! SparkPeople member Christina Cores is featured on the cover of People magazine's annual "Half Their Size" issue (on newsstands tomorrow, Dec. 31)--and she'll be on the Today Show on Monday, Jan. 3 at 8:18 a.m. The story was also picked up by the syndicated shows ET, Inside Edition, and Extra. (Check local listings for times.) WooHoo!

Christina (she's the woman on the right on the cover) lost 122 pounds and became the person she always knew she wanted to be. You can read her weight-loss story in People, but here it is in her own poignant and touching words:

People are always amazed… They can't believe it's me or that I [lost] it all without surgery or diet pills. I was not heavy as a young child. However around the age of 7, I began gaining weight. My parents got divorced and then the weight began showing more and more.

I hit 240 pounds when my father unexpectedly died. I was 15 years old at the time. My mom decided that we should move, and by that time I had given up on life. I lost my dad, and I was about to move and begin high school. Three major life changes all in one year. I ate when I was bored, happy, and sad; I didn't find comfort unless I was eating.

I got teased all throughout my life. I was always the big girl. I never got involved in sports of activities because I knew my weight was too much of issue. I felt trapped in my own body. I had such a great personality, but no one could ever see past how I looked. I remember walking up a flight of stairs in high school and literally being out of breath for the first 10 minutes of class. I always looked at the beautiful girls and how happy they seemed. I began wondering "Why can't that be me?" I was so young and I had already let my body go.

Shopping was always the worst experience for me. It always led to tears and really put a damper on my self esteem. I started thinking more and more about changing my lifestyle. I knew it would take more than a diet to change my life around. I was afraid no one would take me seriously or believe in me. It was time for a change. I became so intrigued by my idea to change myself that I learned as much as I could about reading labels, reading different diet books, talking to people that have lost weight and I took all that I learned and began my journey.

I'll never forget when I first stepped on the scale and saw that I was losing weight. That moment I knew: "I'm not looking back I can only go forward." My first goal was to lose 50 pounds, which at the time I wasn't sure was possible. I kept working out and paying attention to what I was putting into my body, and the clothes got bigger and bigger. I hit my goal of 50 pounds, looked in the mirror and decided "Well I'm still overweight but WOW I lost 50 pounds!"

I continued with my routine, and I did hit some plateaus along the way--and those are very frustrating. I never gave up. I continued to play with my workout routine and adjust my eating according to my body. One memory that I still hold dear to my heart is when I went shopping for the first time for a brand new pair of jeans. I always felt awkward going into Express when I was big but now I wasn't as big. I immediately grabbed the biggest pair of jeans I could find because that's what I was used to doing. The sales clerk reassured me that was not my size. I left that day feeling on top of the world. I was wearing jeans I once couldn't even slide my leg into.

Once I lost all the weight I was concerned because losing the weight is one battle and keeping it off is another. I still, of course, allowed myself to eat sweets from time to time.

Recently I decided to enter a beauty contest. I was extremely nervous about the whole thing because from time to time the "fat girl mentality" kicks in. Once the pageant began, I was up on stage and the feeling was indescribable. I felt so accomplished and proud of myself. I did what I would've considered impossible a few years back. During my biography at the pageant I did include my weight loss the audience clapped and numerous women came up to me after the show congratulating me for making top 10 but also telling me I was now their inspiration. Hearing that means so much to me. The choreographer suggested to me that I get my story out there because, it's so moving and I could really make a difference in the world.

The number one thing I realized during this whole process is that you truly can accomplish what may seem impossible. That it's never too late to turn your life around and I can guarantee you will not regret making better choices for your health, body, and your spirit!

Congratulations, Christina (tinybubbles4)!

Want more inspiration? Lessie (FLABBYASIAN), Brandy (BBANGEL1214), and Birdie (MOM5INFL) have also shared their stories in People.

Will you tune in or pick up a copy of the magazine?