Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured on the site!
Name: Jessica Pancheri
Before Weight: 247 pounds
How I Gained It: I have struggled with my weight since I had my daughters. I realize now that I did get lazy and fell into bad eating habits and no exercise. Some people can live like that and stay thin, but not me. I gave up on myself and lost control. I was an emotional eater and found that filling myself with food was a temporary fix. Of course, it was never truly satisfying.
Breaking Point: For years, I had been struggling with physical intimacy in my marriage. One night while we were in bed, as I lay there crying because he wouldn't touch me, I finally asked my husband why. I asked if it was because of my weight, and he said yes. My heart broke. I was ashamed, embarrassed, furious, sick, disgusted with myself. So, without him knowing, I began a mission.
How I Lost It: I started eating differently. I stopped snacking, drank a lot of water (cut out all other drinks, except for my sugar-free mochas!), had a light breakfast and lunch and ate portion-controlled dinner with my girls. I ate whatever I made for them, I still do not make separate meals.
Then I began the Couch to 5K program. It was hard! I would watch the seconds tick away until I would be done. I never thought I would be able to run for 30 minutes straight!
After about two months, I had lost 40 pounds. My husband never noticed. At that point, I didn't think it was my weight after all; but now I was on a mission. I wasn't going to do this for him anymore. I was doing it for myself and for my daughters.
I finished the Couch to 5K program, added some weight training and ran my first race. In the meantime, I filed for divorce. I continued to eat healthy and run and on February 4, 2011, I met my first goal of losing 90 pounds.
I continued to lose weight, but slower. I did a Dirty Girl mud run in August 2012, and doing that motivated me to finish what I started. I had put on 10 pounds since February 2012 and wanted to get down to 145 pounds. I started a 12-week Biggest Loser-style competition on Facebook with 12 other people. I had also started dating someone who used to be a personal trainer who helped me with a workout schedule. During those 12 weeks I trained for my first duathalon, 10K and half-marathon. I ran, biked and started doing Zumba.
I had never exercised in a group before. I had wanted to try it, but didn't want people to see me doing it. I'm so glad I did, because it is so much fun! I ran mostly on my treadmill, but then got bored with it. I also did not like the fact that people could see me running. Funny thing is, I started seeing people around town who would tell me they'd seen me running and how they wished they would get outside to exercise!
My vigorous training schedule helped me get to 145 pounds, and I won the Biggest Loser Facebook competition!
This journey has been about so much more than just losing weight. As the weight started to come off, I started to feel lighter. Not just physically, but emotionally. There was a lot of built up anger towards my ex-husband and as the pounds shed, so did the anger. I could feel myself walking taller, my head up higher and not hiding myself under the weight. As people began to notice, I received such positive feedback that it only motivated me more.
I want to be a role model for my daughters. They know that I eat healthy and that I exercise. I want this to be instilled in them so that they don't live through some of the struggles I had. I will weigh myself every week for the rest of my life. I have to. This keeps me in check. I am happy with my body for the first time in my life. I never want to ruin that. My life has been one hell of a race!
Current Weight: 140 pounds. I only have five pounds to go to reach my goal of 135 pounds.
The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers.
Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:
Weight Loss Success Stories
For more on weight loss, click here.