Jennifer Hodges: 41
Before: 369 lb
Now: 157 lb
I began gaining weight in sixth grade soon after my parents opened a pizza place. I wasn't active and ate poorly. To deal with being heavy, I was the "funny fat girl" in high school and made jokes about my weight. At 23, I was 250 pounds. People always said, "You have such a pretty face, if you'd just lose weight, you'd be a knockout."
In October of 2008, I fell in the yard and twisted my ankle while playing with my three kids (who were all under the age of 4). At 350 pounds, I was too big for my husband to lift, so he had to get a blanket, roll me onto it and drag me inside. I was humiliated and terrified. What if I had been home alone? I knew I had to make big changes.
Exercise Made Easy
A few weeks after my fall, I joined a gym near my house. The location was important because I didn't want to have any excuse to skip a workout. I started slowly, just walking for a few minutes on the treadmill. Gradually I increased the time and distance.
Ramp It Up!
My body really transformed once I started taking a gym class called BodyPump, which combines cardio and weights.
After a year of exercise—and losing 100 pounds—I tackled my eating habits. (It was too overwhelming to do both at once.) I cut portions down and cooked at home more often.
By 2011, I finally reached my goal weight. The best part? Now I'm setting a positive example for my family. We swim, run, and ride bikes together. We are an active family, which I never would have dreamed of three years ago.
My Stick-with-It Secret
Follow the 30-minute rule.
No matter how busy you are, take a half-hour each day just for yourself. Go for a walk, plan healthy meals or simply relax and recharge. You're not being selfish—you need the time to focus on your own well-being. After all, if you're not healthy, how can you take care of anyone else? I did feel guilty at first, but following this rule helped me lose the weight, and it enables me and my family to live a healthy lifestyle.
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