If you’re a parent you know the feeling of wanting more for your children, greater happiness, more friendships, a better education, etc. That feeling of devotion was especially true for Amanda Gosik, a mother of three from Missouri. Though she had been heavy all of her life, she didn’t get serious about weight loss until a doctor told her that her 3-year-old was considered obese. That was Amanda’s wakeup call.
“That was the sign I needed to get serious and make some changes or my family would suffer,” admitted Amanda. After losing an astonishing 175 pounds, she’s truly leading by example.
More from Amanda in her own words:
When did your weight struggles begin? “I have always been large aside from early childhood. My first and second grade pictures are tiny and then by third grade I was noticeably overweight. My 6th grade year I wore a size 20 pants. I battled to lose during my teens and early 20’s and nothing changed.”
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? “Eating my feelings were a big part of it, I’m sure. Growing up in a house where takeout happened all the time and ‘cooked’ meals were fried or TV dinners didn’t help either.”
There is not a specific number that I am shooting for – I’ll stop when I’m healthy.
Kelly Therieau isn’t striving to reach a magical number on the scale, she just wants to be a better, healthier version of herself. After losing 113 pounds, she’s well on her way. Today, Kelly opens up about the “light bulb” moment that created clarity for her “cold turkey” weight loss, and the way she’s using her journey to help others.
At almost 300 pounds, Kelly knew she was headed into dangerous territory. When diabetes, liver issues and heart distress made her a weekly visitor to her doctor’s office, she felt her health spiraling further out of control. Her doctor confirmed this when he sat her down and told her if she didn’t make a huge lifestyle change, she wouldn’t live to see 40. She was only 36.
She had often joked that she was still carrying 19 years worth of baby fat, but sitting in the car after that appointment, she remembers having a, “huge meltdown.” At that moment she knew it was time for the jokes and excuses to end. A lifetime of bad eating habits and inactivity had taken their toll.
For two weeks, Stephanie Bernstein walked around with only 40% lung capacity. Soon she would discover that 100s of tiny blood clots had invaded her lungs, resulting in a massive pulmonary embolism. Five years ago when Stephanie got the news, she made a deathbed pact to God vowing to make some “serious changes to get healthy.”
Now, 80 pounds lighter, she’s the healthiest she’s ever been in her life, and at 51, she’s having fun picking out trendy clothes and even turning a few heads in the process.
Like many of our true weight loss rock stars, Stephanie said her weight is something she has struggled with her whole life. “I was intimidated by exercise, and I loved sweets and comfort food.”
The extra pounds even affected her self esteem. “It was always the thing that held me back from being truly happy,” she admitted. “I never felt attractive, and always felt like the ugly duckling.”
The promise she made to God
Stephanie was determined to get healthy for her daughters. After losing their first mothers in China, she prayed that her life would be saved so the girls wouldn’t have to go through another devastating loss. Following the embolism, she spent a year enduring constant blood draws and Lovenox shots to reduce the risk of further clotting. Once her body was healthy enough for exercise, Stephanie got busy making good on her promise. (more…)
A spark clicked in my head, and I thought maybe I can use this to lose weight. Maybe this is a sign.
That’s how Joe Cassise described his weight loss epiphany. Did he come to this healthy affirmation after an impassioned speech by a friend? Did he watch a particularly heartwarming episode of The Biggest Loser, or see a motivational bumper sticker on the highway? No.
Joe’s weight loss story begins with a poor choice, but ends with a new outlook life, and a staggering 90 pound weight loss.
Joe Cassise describes himself as a mostly typical teenager. Already on the heavy end of the scale as a child, Joe said his weight really skyrocketed in high school due to lack of exercise and eating fast food twice a day. After high school, he enrolled in cosmetology school and started a relationship that would take its toll, both mentally and physically. “I guess I just let myself go at a young age, he said.”
Last spring, Misty Shaffer gathered with her family at the airport and waited anxiously for the arrival of her husband who had been stationed in Afghanistan for 12 months. When Larry scanned the crowd for his wife, his jaw dropped when he spotted her. After secretly losing 100 pounds while he was deployed, all Misty could do was smile.
When he finally remembered to speak, the Army Specialist simply said one word, “Wow!”
I spoke with Misty by phone from her home in North Carolina. In a deep southern accent she confirmed that almost one year after surprising her husband, she has maintained her phenomenal weight loss. The story of how she lost the weight and why is still just as captivating as it was last year.
“I just wanted him to pick me up,” she said. During the long months without her husband, while she struggled with food cravings and cared for their young daughter, Misty held that vision in her mind. For the first time ever, she wanted to be swept into his arms.
Every week I’m inspired by men and women who take charge of their health and improve their lives. Losing a significant amount of weight isn’t easy. Even when you think you have all the tools in place and the determination of a warrior, the body can put road blocks in your path to success.
Today’s story focuses on Erin Ball, a wife and mother of two whose weight gain and loss were both affected by a serious health condition – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The condition is characterized by a hormonal imbalance, and often leads to the production of excess insulin resulting in obesity.
How Erin fought back
Erin lost 70 pounds when she figured out how PCOS affected her body, and then took steps to counter the attack.
Ray Allen knows how important it is to have the right mindset when you want to lose serious weight. After dropping almost 60 pounds during a company sponsored weight loss contest, he slowly gained almost all of it back. Now, 50 pounds lighter, Ray says his biggest obstacle was getting out of his own way.
More from Ray in his own words –
My weight struggle began after the Army when poor food choices and not exercising over the course of a few years got the best of me.
In Feb 2012 I realized I needed to make some permanent changes to my lifestyle. My father died of heart disease at age 44 from a massive heart attack. He didn’t take care of himself and one of the contributing factors was his weight. Getting closer to that age, I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.
I lost 50 pounds in 5 months and now I’m slowly gaining weight in the form of muscle instead of fat.
How did you lose the weight? I knew I needed to eat less so I tracked my calories on the website (caloriecount.about.com) This was an invaluable tool. I kept my calories below 1500, but I knew that what I ate was just as important so I gave up sugar, besides what I put in my coffee, and then eliminated anything sweet including cake, donuts, pastries, etc. I also gave up bread, butter, peanut butter (I went through withdrawals) and cheese.
This week I’m privileged to introduce you to a woman whose story just makes me smile. Stephanie Magrisso has lost over 110 pounds, and she’s still working toward her goal weight.
She may be struggling with a weight plateau, but she’s smiling every step of the way thanks to her motivational techniques, including the life lesson she learned by watching Ellen Degeneres. This is Stephanie’s true weight loss story.
Fat has just always been my life.
Stephanie’s struggle with weight started when she was too young to realize there was a problem, but the bullying and name-calling by her peers quickly caught her attention. As a child, she admits eating too many TV dinners and McDonalds meals. When she was old enough to make her own decisions, she became an emotional eater and presumed the destiny of her weight would be determined by genetics, since she had family members who were also overweight.
Having someone I could relate to made a huge difference
A new friend entered Stephanie’s life and made an immediate impact on her. “I met one of my now best friends. While she was nowhere near as overweight as I was, she had some weight to lose, and she did. Suddenly I had a friend I could talk to about it, who really understood the struggle.”
Instead of relying on one diet to achieve her goals, Stephanie found several techniques that not only helped her lose weight, but also kept her in the right frame of mind.
Dani Holmes-Kirk has a smile that is infectious, and a personality that exudes so much happiness, it comes right through her emails. I’ve never met her in person, but I’d like to think we would get along famously, until she tried to make me run. Dani is a runner, a marathon-er and blogs about her adventures at, “Weight Off My Shoulders.”
It’s hard to believe that a few short years ago she led a sedentary lifestyle and battled an eating disorder. Today, Dani is 82 pounds lighter and she’s keeping it off thanks to smarter food choices and her rekindled love of running.
This is Dani’s true weight loss story –
When did your weight struggles begin? For as long as I can remember I was overweight. I can look back at a certain picture of me on the beach in my bathing suit when I was maybe 3 or 4 and thinking, wow, I even had a little belly then. I remember being made fun of in 7th grade and getting MOOed at by a passing car. The overweight mentality was burned into my brain for a long time.
In his early twenties, Mark Ryan was a fit competitor who participated in rigorous sports including hockey. Ultimately, the activity that kept him in such good shape, would ultimately lead to his weight gain. After receiving multiple injuries, Mark slowly gave up competitive sports. Over the next decade, his physical activity waned, but his eating habits remained the same, leading to significant weight gain and depression.
Today, thanks to the weight loss program, Jenny Craig, Mark feels better than he ever has, and even took up biking, which allowed him to raise $1,000 for Multiple Sclerosis when he participated in the MS: City to Shore Ride.
This is Mark’s 100 POUND true weight loss story –