Name: Deborah Harvin
Before Weight: 280 pounds
How I Gained It: I was always a big girl, but my mother's death in 1988 seemed to be the start of my weight spiraling out of control. I got married, had children and the cycle never stopped. Leaving my husband and career with three children in tow only escalated my situation. I ate a lot of fast food and processed food -- or I didn't eat at all except drink coffee all day to keep my energy up. I ate vegetables, but lacked the energy to prepare wholesome meals for myself.
Breaking Point: I knew I had to make a change. I was "pre" high blood pressure, pre-diabetic and had three children to finish raising alone, as well as a multiple sclerosis diagnosis hanging over my head. I was always tired, my body ached and I didn't know if it was the weight or MS.
How I Lost It: I opted to buy customized meal plans from a weight loss coach whose story I followed for almost a year. The hardest part for me was to remember not to snack mindlessly. I began my journey wearing size 24 pants and XXXL shirts. I was a little embarrassed about my size when I began going to the gym, so I hesitated to try certain things and stuck to "safe" machines that didn't -- at least in my mind -- accentuate my size. I walked on the treadmill, did a few arm machines and sit-ups. Eventually I began going five days a week faithfully, and within nine months, I was half my size, fitting comfortably into a size 12.
Now I wear a size 4 pants and a small shirt. My diet includes lean meat, a lot of vegetables and portion-controlled amounts of good carbs. I lift weights and do bootcamps and cardio consisting of the treadmill and the elliptical. I surround myself with individuals who are supportive and knowledgeable to help erase my fears and lack of confidence in the gym. On Dec. 13, 2014, I hit my milestone of 100 pounds gone.
My life is so different now, as I can move with ease, my confidence has returned, I can shop anywhere, my body doesn't hurt anymore and my children are proud of my accomplishment. Being a mother and caregiver, I always put everyone's need before mine. I quickly realized taking better care of me enabled me to take better care of those depending on me.
Current Weight: 178 pounds, but I'm working to reach my ultimate goal of 160 pounds.
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The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers. As told to Sarah Klein.
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