weight loss

Woman Abruptly Dumped By Fiancé For Being Overweight Gets Ultimate Revenge

By | exercise, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Stories, Motivation, stories, success stories, uplifting news, weight loss

One woman went from being obese to pursuing her dreams of becoming a beauty queen — and she has a shallow ex to thank for it all.

Couch sulking

Several years ago, life was a drag for Jen Atkin of Grimbsy, North East Lincolnshire. 

A self-confessed “couch potato,” Atkin tells The Sun that she would spend most of the time with her fiancé, sluggish and overeating.

“At weekends, we’d turn into virtual recluses sitting on the sofa in our pajamas eating takeaways.”

However, as her weight ballooned to 240 pounds, her fiancé shocked her by ending the relationship.

To cope with the pain, Atkin increasingly turned to her fridge.

“The day he left I thought my world had ended – I cried for weeks and used food as my comfort”

– Jen Atkin

From couch to crown

Then, one day, Atkin decided to end her pity-party and get to work.

She started walking regularly, going to the gym and being vigilant about what she ate. 

As the pounds dropped, her confidence soared. Atkin quickly gained momentum and over two years, she shed 112 pounds – half of her body weight!

Eventually, she built up the courage and charisma to enter the Miss Great Britain competition, the UK’s longest-running pageant. 

The event consists of several rounds including fashion wear, evening wear, and swimsuit and culminates in a panel interview. 

After finishing the contest as a runner-up, Atkin put her pageant pursuits aside to focus on herself until her name was put forward again.

She ended up winning Britain’s biggest beauty crown over 59 other contestants in the national final in Leicester.

For Atkin, the victory meant far more than a crown.

“Winning Miss Great Britain marks the end of a long and difficult, but also amazing, journey”

– Jen Atkin

There’s beauty in the struggle

Since winning the pageant, Atkin has only picked up the pace.

She launched a country singing career, with her debut single hitting No. 2 in the ReverbNation charts.

She’s also using her status to push for “clearer and easier” labeling on food to warn people if an item is unhealthy, which she says will “make it easier for everyone.”

Atkins now reflects on her difficult journey with gratitude.

“I was devastated but it ended up being the best thing that’s happened to me”

– Jen Atkin

While Atkin had painful experiences, they ultimately revealed what she’s truly capable of and her true worth. She used them to take her life in an amazing direction that even she didn’t know was possible.

Today, you can bet her shallow ex is probably sore from kicking himself.

The next time you feel like giving up, remember that your best is yet to come.

More uplifting news:

Determined Man Loses 331 Pounds to Save His Heart After Health Scare

By | Food for thought, health and wellness, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

A health scare in 2016 inspired Mike Castadena to not only lose weight, but to get healthy mentally and physically too.

During a visit to the doctor’s office after suffering heart palpitations, Mike was diagnosed as prediabetic, and the doctor recommended he start medication right away. He was 25.

“I remember being extremely upset, feeling like the doctor had given up on me,” Castadena told Yahoo. “And madder at myself for letting myself get to this point.”

At his heaviest, Castadena weighed over 500 pounds. He’d always been overweight and as time went on, he resigned to being big for the rest of his life.

“Whether it was issues finding clothing or shoes that would fit, feeling tired, or suffering from sleep apnea, I always just thought that was the way that my life was going to be,” Castadena said.

That was until he got the wake up call that kickstarted his weight loss journey. With no real plan or specific goals in my mind, all he knew is that he wanted to lose weight so that he could feel better both mentally and physically.

“I didn’t have a real strategy,” he recalled. “I just knew I had to make a change.”

Castadena decided to try a few different approaches, giving juicing a shot first. He started by cleaning out his fridge and cupboards of soda and cookies. Then, he bought a juicer, juicing books, a scale and a bunch of fruits and vegetables.

“That lasted all of one day,” he said. “By the end of the first day, I was tired, cranky and hungry.”

Determined to take control of his health, he didn’t let the setback get in his way. Castadena followed a friend’s suggestion that he try a low-carb diet. After doing some research, he quickly realized that it was the most sustainable option for him and started the following week.

As Castadena started to lose weight, he started to feel better and eventually his heart palpitations stopped. “At that point, I knew that I didn’t want to give up what I was doing.”

Since he started, he’s been having continued success with a low-carb diet for over three years now. “I’m lucky to say that the 99% of the progress I’ve made has been from a change in eating habits,” said Castaneda.

His next goal is to start going to the gym more regularly to help maintain his healthy weight and have long-term success. “My ability to get around and just do day-to-day things has been incredible,” said Castadena. “It’s nice to be able to tie my shoes or get ready without it feeling like a chore all on its own.”

Not only has Castadena lost 331 pounds, but his mental health has improved too.

“My confidence has gone through the roof,” he said. “I’ve become more outgoing and interested in trying new things — things that I would have never dreamt of trying or even wanted to attempt to try.”

More transformation stories:

Inspiring Woman Loses 150 Pounds by Creating New Habits and Conquering Fear

By | Food for thought, health, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

Danielle Patera lost 150 pounds after she realized her weight was preventing her from living the kind of life she envisioned for herself.

It was in May of 2017, during a family trip to Kentucky, she decided to spend a day hiking at a local rock formation. Patera weighed 340 pounds at the time but wasn’t too concerned about the idea of trekking around the park– until the inclines became steeper and she became out of breath. Then, when it came time to pull herself over a boulder, she struggled.

“I saw my sister do it. And she jumped back down to help my mom up and my mom got up. And I struggled. It took me 40, 45 minutes,” Patera told TODAY. “That trip made me realize that if my 54-year-old mom could do this with no problem, and I am struggling, I needed to make a change.”

Tired of always feeling uncomfortable and realizing just how much her weight was limiting her, Patera decided to take charge of her health and embarked on a two-year long transformation journey.

During the two weeks following the trip, Patera researched different exercise programs and nutrition plans, and finally came to the conclusion that a simple approach was in her best interest. Her focus was to consume fewer calories while tracking what she ate, and to exercise more.

With her mind made up, there was still something standing in Patera’s way of reaching her weight loss goal: her fear of going to the gym alone. So, she reached out for some support.

“I asked my brother to go with me,” said the 27 year old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “I told him ‘I want to make this lifestyle change and I need to lose 150 pounds. I’m going to start and see where I end up.’ And his exact words were ‘Holy crap that’s insane.’”

He joined her at the gym for a month and the extra support gave Patera the motivation she needed to keep pushing towards her goal.

“I don’t think he realized how much I needed that,” she said.

Finding the right nutritional balance was also a challenge at first. During the first few weeks of her weight loss journey, Patera ate nothing but salads for lunch and dinner.

“I was so scared that I was going to flop,” she said. “I was really clueless for the first month and I am surprised I lost so much weight.”

Within a month, she was able to lose 30 pounds. Patera continued exercising, experimenting with different foods, and discovered how to make healthier versions of the foods she loved.

“I learned how to make my own low-calorie pizza dough with fat-free Greek yogurt and self-rising flour. I know that seasonings are better than sauces,” Patera recalled.

While she was making consistent progress, she still hit plateaus. Determined not to give up, she switched up her exercise routine whenever she reached a standstill.

“I had zero arm strength. I have never been able to do a pushup or a pullup,” she said.

Knowing that, she incorporated weight lifting and more intensive cardio into her routine.

Since the beginning of her weight loss journey, Patera has lost 153 pounds, bringing her weight down to 187, but she still has some work ahead of her. Her ultimate goal is to weigh between 170 and 180 pounds.

Still, at 187 pounds, Patera is happier than she’s ever been and is thoroughly enjoying life.

“The ease which I can do things is insane,” she said. “Losing weight has allowed me to be myself and find who I am and speak out and stand up for myself.”

More transformation stories:

He Lost 110 Pounds by Overcoming Years of Denial and Shifting His Mindset

By | Food for thought, health and wellness, Inspiring Stories, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

Jason Phelps got a wake-up call one day when he stepped on the scale and realized he weighed 395 pounds.

“That weigh-in scared me,” he told Men’s Health, “but I felt different. I felt determined to make a change.”

At 39, Phelps knew he didn’t want to weigh over 400 pounds by the time he turned 40.

He’d been during his teen years and well into his twenties but as he began to settle into his career, his activity level started to decline.

Phelps, who works as a manager for tax and accounting consultants remembers his weight gain seemed subtle at first: “The weight gain was relatively slow, so it was easy to ignore,” he said. “But five to ten pounds gained per year adds up to a pretty large amount over 15 years of time.”

Phelps’ admits that his lack of exercise and poor diet played a role in his weight gain over the years, but his biggest challenge was breaking through his denial.

It was in February 2018 that he decided to transform his life. Having heard of intermittent fasting and of its success rate, he wasted no time and began fasting that weekend for 16 hours each day and was surprised by how good he felt.

Over time, Phelps began losing weight and the process taught him how to become more mindful of how certain types of foods made him feel and what he was eating.

“I also became much more aware of the difference between actual, physical hunger, and just being mentally ‘hungry,’ which was almost always caused by boredom, routine, stress, or cravings for a specific type of food,” he said. “I learned quickly that if I was able to push past my mind telling me that I was hungry, that within an hour or so that hungry feeling would be gone.”

Shortly after he started his transformation journey, Phelps hit a roadblock when he broke his foot.

“That was scary because I remembered breaking my other foot back in my twenties, and gaining weight afterwards because of inactivity,” he said. “But this time was different—I was determined to take what was a weakness and make it into a strength.”

He got a heavy bag for the house and began hitting it every morning, even with his foot in an air boot. As soon as his foot healed, he started going to the gym to lift weights.

Now 40, Phelps dropped nearly 120 pounds in the span of a year. While he’s proud of his success, his goal is to lose another 30 or so pounds.

“I can’t even explain how much better I feel. My overall energy level is way higher. My mobility and strength are greatly improved,” said Phelps. “But I know I’m not at my goal yet and I am as motivated as ever to keep pushing.”

For Phelps, the key for weight loss success is a combination of consistency and patience and he urges others wanting to transform their lives to reflect on that.

“Understand that it won’t happen overnight,” he said. “Make small changes at first until they become a habit. Then progressively add more and more habits, and build momentum along the way.”

More transformation stories:

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She Lost 190 Pounds by Abandoning Years of Yo-Yo Dieting and Committing to Healthy Change

By | Food for thought, health and wellness, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

Amber Neal had struggled with her weight her entire life, trying extreme dieting to drop pounds.

“I grew up overweight, but I didn’t really become aware of it until third grade,” she told Women’s Health. “It hit me one day in gym class when a boy I had a crush on told me I looked like I was pregnant.”

Devastated, she tried every diet in the book to lose weight but by the time she turned 14 years old, Neal weighed 285 pounds.

In high school, she was able to lose nearly 100 pounds, but it wasn’t long before the weight came back, and it kept climbing.

By her sophomore year in college, she tipped the scale 353 pounds.

At 19, she underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost 154 pounds. A decade later, she was back up at 305 pounds.

“Once I hit 325 pounds again—my second highest weight—I knew I needed to make some changes,” Neal said.

In January 2017, she decided to lose weight once and for all. As she’d grown increasingly self-aware, she began to notice a pattern and realized she’d had enough. Sick of the yo-yo dieting, she needed professional help. “I found myself living the same dismal day over and over again—and food was my only oasis.”

Her first step was to go to therapy, to begin treating her anxiety, depression, and binge-eating disorder. “It took therapy to make me realize how awful my eating habits had become: I ate from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed.”

“I’d often eat until I felt sick, go to bed, then wake up and do it all again the next day—and sometimes I’d even wake up in the middle of the night and snack.”

On top of the mental and emotional anguish, her unhealthy lifestyle was making her physically ill too. “I always felt lethargic, sluggish, and bloated.”

As part of her therapy, Neal worked on developing healthier eating habits, which meant absolutely no crash or fad diets.

In addition to changing her relationship with food, she also started exercising regularly and committed to doing at least 45 minutes of movement every day.

“Before therapy and dieting, I was constantly in pain and out of shape—even hoisting myself out of bed every morning was super-painful,” remembered Neal.

As she began to feel empowered by her progress on the treadmill, she started using the elliptical machine for a change. Once she felt strong enough, she started to climb the stair-stepper machine. “It became my go-to for an intense workout,” said Neal.

Two years after committing to her weight loss goal, she’s lost 190 pounds.

For Neal, the key to a successful transformation journey is to take things one day at a time.  “Small, daily efforts really add up,” she said. “On really difficult days—which I still have—I take things one meal or one moment at a time.”

While Neal is proud of having reached her weight loss goal, she urges others who want to lose weight to never put their lives on hold in the process.

“If there’s no weight or size limit on your interests, then get out there and pursue them now. It makes the journey the much more enjoyable.”

Motivated Man Loses 109 Pounds After His Doctor Bet Him $100,000 He Wouldn’t Live To Be 40

By | Food for thought, habits, health and wellness, Inspiring Stories, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

Adam Keighran got a rude awakening when his doctor bet him $100,000 that he wouldn’t live to his 40th birthday.

At 291 pounds, he’d been diagnosed with high blood pressure and gout, and his doctor told him he ‘looked pregnant’.

“Quite obviously this stinging assessment really struck a note,” Keighran told Men’s Health.

He’d spent most of his twenties indulging in unhealthy habits.

He traded playing sports for watching them on television and his game-day meals always consisted of pub food with a side of a beer.

Not only was Keighran a heavy drinker throughout his twenties, he was also a heavy smoker.

“I was working in the wine tasting and wine sales industry and my hours were flexible, which enabled a very unhealthy lifestyle that included late nights and late mornings,” said the Sydney, Australia native.

But, that all changed in September 2010.

Coincidentally, just as his doctor warned him that his unhealthy lifestyle was costing him years off his life, he discovered a charity called The Miracle Babies Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting premature newborns and their families.

Keighran himself was born at just 27 weeks.

“I started reading up on the babies that did not survive their premature start to life, and also those that had survived, but continued to suffer from massive health issues,” he remembered.

“It really sunk in that I had been super lucky. Not only did I survive, but I suffered zero bad health issues except for the self-induced ones.”

Overcome with guilt, Keighran’s newfound awareness inspired him to ditch his unhealthy habits and transform his life, once and for all.

“I felt like I owed it to both myself and my family to turn my life around,” he said.

Lacking the courage and money to join a gym or to sign up for a food delivery system, Keighran immersed himself in nutritional science.

He started by counting his calories and slowly began exercising by incorporating a few days of riding his stationary bike and walking into his new routine.

Whether it was losing an extra pound or increasing his jogging distance, Keighran made a point of celebrating small victories every week.

“It was super motivating to see these things improve,” he said. “Everything worked together.”

It wasn’t long before he met his weight loss goal, losing a total of 109 pounds.

Motivated by his achievement, he decided he wanted to help others achieve the same success and became a personal trainer.

For Keighran, being held accountable was paramount to his success.

“I talk to my current clients a lot about having an ‘accountability guy,” he said. “Someone that can dish out the tough love but also nurture you through the tough times.”

Keighran decided that social media was going be his ‘accountability guy’ and began sharing his journey online.

It was hard at first to share what he called his “fat photos” with the world and to cope with some of the negative comments here and there, but instead of letting it get the best of him, he used it as motivation to keep pushing forward.

“That shift in mentality was crucial,” said Keighran.

Today, he is happier than he’s ever been.  “I’m proud of my life. I’m proud of who I have become,” said Keighran.  

“I found a lifelong love for running which has taken me to amazing places around the world and allowed me to meet some amazing people, too.”

After Losing 170 Pounds, This Brave Woman Was Diagnosed With Cancer but Her Mindset Will Inspire You

By | Featured, Food for thought, health and wellness, Inspiring Stories, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

Jessica Beniquez had just turned 20 years old when she decided to get her health and weight under control.

At 320 pounds, she’d settled into a steady routine of working, overeating, and binge-watching TV and it dawned on her one day that she’d gotten too comfortable.

“On that day, I was about to start another show, and something just clicked,” Beniquez told Women’s Health.

“I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’ I always wanted to change, but I never took the initiative.”

She’d been diagnosed with high blood pressure a year and a half prior, which she was prescribed medication for, but even that didn’t motivate her to make any changes.

Beniquez had struggled with her weight her entire life.  “As a child, I was a very picky eater. I only ate pasta, chicken nuggets, and French fries (a.k.a. carbs on carbs on carbs), and I rarely ate vegetables,” she said.

After she landed her first job, things got really out of hand. With the extra income, she started going out to fast food places more often. After graduating high school, Beniquez was eating fast food morning, noon and night.

Tired of feeling “weak, lazy and out of breath”, Beniquez started by having meal replacements.

Still a picky eater, meal shakes seemed liked her best option. She had two shakes and a meal per day for three months but quickly realized it wasn’t a sustainable course of action, so she shifted her focus on healthy, whole foods.

It turned out to be quite the learning process, but Beniquez slowly began trying new things and completely eliminated soda from her diet. As she grew empowered, she learned about portion control, and it ended up working wonders for her.

“I like being able to have anything I want in moderation,” said Beniquez. “If I want a bowl of ice cream or a cookie once in a while, I’ll have it — saying ‘no’ to things just doesn’t work for me.”

She also started gradually incorporating exercise into her daily routine. At first, she went on a walk every night and did exercise routines she discovered on Instagram. Then, she worked with a personal trainer a few times a month to switch up her fitness routine and now, she goes to the gym every day.

A year and a half later, Beniquez lost a total of 170 pounds and in September 2018, she decided to have skin removal surgery.

“I had always wanted it, but I was scared and it was expensive,” she said.

“Still, the excess skin was bothering me, so it felt like it was time.”

Berniquez got 5.5 pounds of skin removed. She remembered suffering terrible pain during her first week post-op, but she slowly got back into the swing of things.

An unexpected road block

Just as she was starting to feel like everything was falling into place, Berniquez was diagnosed with cancer.

Earlier that summer, she found a lump in her armpit. She figured she’d hurt herself doing a new workout but when it didn’t go away, she realized it was a swollen lymph node. Still she continued to ignore it, thinking she was just fighting a cold.

She showed her mother, who urged her to see a doctor after Beniquez’s dad had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and had found out the same way. Without any hesitation, she made a appointment to see a specialist and was seen almost immediately.

After several biopsies, scans and lump removal surgery, Berniquez was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma.

Although she’s currently undergoing chemotherapy and feels more fatigued than usual, she continues to go to the gym and run.

“It makes me feel good to do those things.” she said.

Berniquez is grateful she can still do a lot of things other cancer patients can’t and wants to show others that nothing is impossible.

“You can do anything you set your mind to, regardless of your situation,” she said.

“I want to encourage women to be grateful for their health and not take it for granted — instead, to make it a priority.”

Determined Man Loses 200 Pounds after Health Scare by Making Small Changes to His Lifestyle

By | Food for thought, health and wellness, Inspiring Stories, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

After his doctor told him he might not live to see his 21st birthday, Jose Rodriquez knew something had to change.

A football player in high school, weighing 240 pounds gave Rodriquez a clear advantage on the field. and while he was always heavier than his friends, he wasn’t too concerned and assumed he’d grow out of it.

Soon after graduation though, Rodriguez was involved in a motorcycle accident and his mental health took a hit.

“I fell into a depression. I was eating and eating and I was 505 pounds. In my head, I was 230, 240 pounds,” Rodriquez, 25, of Atlanta, told TODAY.

At a low point emotionally, he turned to food for comfort and his eating habits spiralled out of control.

A scary medical awakening

During a doctor’s appointment in 2014, Rodriquez, who was 20 years old at the time, was warned that his weight could have fatal consequences.

“He basically told me if I continued down this path I wouldn’t make it to 21 or 22,” said Rodriquez. “That was eye opening for me.”

While the news was frightening, it was the motivation he needed to transform his life.

Rodriquez knew that he had to set himself manageable goals, so he started small. He began walking more. First, he walked around his couch and then started walking around his house.

“At 505 pounds, I got so winded from doing simple things,” he remembered.

His consistency started to pay off after just one month of extra physical activity: he’d already lost 15 pounds.

A few months later, he began making small changes to his diet. “I was drinking four or five sodas a day … but it was diet,” Rodriguez said. “Also, I switched from whole milk to two percent milk.”

When his cousin suggested he join a gym, his brother and sister joined with him for extra support.

“They knew if I didn’t make a change I wouldn’t live long,” he said.

Making small adjustments to his lifestyle and seeing the positive results of his sustained efforts inspired him to keep going.

By slowly cutting out more unhealthy foods from his diet and becoming more active, Rodriquez lost 100 pounds in one year.

In 2017, his focus was to become stronger, so he started powerlifting.

“My weight loss, I would say, has been slow due to different goals that I set each year,” Rodriguez explained.

He’s lost a total of 200 pounds since the beginning of his transformation journey and his goal is to lose another 100 pounds this year.

“I re-analyzed everything I am doing,” he said. “When you have a goal like I do at the moment, any little change can make a difference.”

Rodriquez has now completely eliminated soda from his diet and focuses on eating lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains. He goes to the gym five days a week and enjoys taking daily walks.

His weight-loss journey has taught him a lot about himself.

“I have grown a lot. Back then, my mental willpower was on the low side and now it is at a whole different level,” said Rodriquez.

“I am a lot tougher than I thought.”

More Life Transformation stories:

Inspiring Woman Loses 205 Pounds After Years of Denial, Finds Motivation In Her Progress

By | Food for thought, health and wellness, Inspirational Stories, Motivation, transformation, weight loss

Amanda Tysowski spent years in denial about her weight and it wasn’t until after the birth of her second child that she became inspired to make a lasting change.

Tysowski’s unhealthy relationship with food began to unravel in 2009, after she bought her first home. Shortly after that, she was involved in a car accident.

Tysowski couldn’t work during her recovery and as financial pressures started to rise, so did her stress levels and she turned to junk food to take some of the edge off.

“I fell into a slump,” she told TODAY, via email. “During a doctor’s appointment … I had weighed 270 pounds. The doctor lectured me on ‘morbid obesity’ but I was in denial.”

Tysowski was always heavier than her friends, but wasn’t ever too concerned because they told her she pulled it off. She never exercised or paid attention to what she ate and by the time she got married in 2011, Tysowski weighed 330 pounds.

After giving birth to her daughter in 2011, she tipped the scales at 385.

“My body was miserable. I was in pain every day,” said the 31-year-old from Winnipeg, Canada. “As my daughter became more active, I really thought that this was the time I needed to do something about it.”

Feeling like she’d reached a breaking point, she went to a weight loss clinic where they recommended she try a meal plan and supplements. She followed their advice and within a year lost over 100 pounds, but it wasn’t long before Tysowski got pregnant again and began experiencing terrible morning sickness. The only thing that made her feel better was eating.

“I told myself it would be OK, that I could just deal with this first trimester and get right back to it,” she said. “I gained 90 pounds in those nine months, though I didn’t see it.”

After her son was born in 2016, Tysowski felt confident that she could go back to what she’d been doing to lose the pregnancy weight she’d gained, but nothing changed.

“I tried for six months and the scale did not budge,” she said.

She felt discouraged but wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. Tysowski started to gather inspiration by following women who shared their weight-loss transformations on Instagram. This motivated her to start paying attention to food labels and educate herself about healthy eating.

During her research, she discovered the ketogenic diet and in 2017, Tysowski decided to give it a try.

She chose to combine her new low-carb diet with intermittent fasting and quickly realized she never really understood, until then, what it meant to eat healthfully.

“I had not learned anything about food or how to plan meals for myself,” she said.

Not long after, Tysowski realized she’d found the winning formula for her success and was able to lose 100 pounds. Feeling empowered by her results, she began exercising regularly.

“I thought exercising was for weight loss, but I have found that it is like therapy. I feel better mentally,” she explained.

Now, the mom of two walks daily and lifts weights twice a week.

She’s lost 205 and is feeling happier and healthier than ever.

For Tysowski, learning to deal with negative emotions, after spending years turning to food for comfort, has been the most challenging part of her journey, but also the most rewarding.

“Weight loss has been much more mental than physical,” she said. “I am stronger than I have ever given myself credit for.”

Motivated Woman Loses over 100 Pounds after a Life-Changing Medical Diagnosis

By | Food for thought, health and wellness, Inspirational Stories, Motivation, transform, transformation, weight loss

Tara McGinty was overweight for most of her life, but it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with a disabling autoimmune disease that she decided to transform her life.

McGinty developed unhealthy eating habits in childhood and still remembers being bullied because of her weight.

She’ll never forget the time she was in middle school and a ketchup dispenser exploded onto her shirt. Seeing that McGinty was mortified, covered in the bright red sauce, her friend offered to lend her a t-shirt to change into, but it was too tight.

“I never ate at school or in front of people again,” McGinty told PEOPLE.

She started skipping lunch and would starve herself until school went out at 4 p.m. Once she got home, she’d start binging, eating everything in sight until it was time for her to go to bed.

As she got older, McGinty kept gaining weight, eventually tipping the scale at 260 pounds, and it started to take a toll on her.

The now 33-year-old mom of two was so exhausted from carrying around all those extra pounds, she’d often have to nap several times a day.

A life-altering diagnoses

After McGinty began experiencing excruciating pain in her joints and found herself unable to hug her kids, she made a trip to the doctor’s office.

She was told she had rheumatoid arthritis and doctors warned her that she could eventually be confined to a wheelchair.

The devastating news sprung her into action. While she had no control over the disease’s progression, McGinty found the motivation to take charge of what was in her power: her weight.

Motivated by her will to feel better


Her initial goal was to lose 100 pounds. She discovered Isagenix dietary supplements and decided to give the protein shakes a shot. In just a matter of days, she started feeling her energy levels improve.

She started working out regularly, doing high-intensity interval training, and made changes to her diet, in order to reduce inflammation.

Since the beginning of her weight loss journey, she’s lost 120 pounds, which has made her arthritis pain easier to manage.

Now weighing 138 pounds, McGinty focuses on getting stronger, so she can enjoy the best quality of life possible as she gets older.

Best of all, she’s able to hug her children.

“Nowadays I get all the hugs I can and they can even wrap their little hands all the way around my body.”