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: Wiltrina Jones
Before Weight: 375+
How I Gained It: I have battled obesity for the majority of my life. I was in a host of activities growing up, like track and field, cheerleading and gymnastics. Although I was active, I still seemed to load up on all the wrong foods. I remember in the sixth grade we had to be weighed for something and I weighed 107 pounds. I don't see that as being big today, but back then I was the heaviest girl in my classroom. This bothered me tremendously. I think at that moment that's when I considered myself fat, at least subconsciously.
I worked in the restaurant industry as a teen in high school, through college and for the majority of my adult life. I always had access to food because I was always around food, maybe even at half price. I knew I was gaining weight, but I always said to myself, "I don't eat that much, so why am I gaining weight?" I often went on fad diets but never kept the weight off because I always went back to how I was accustomed to eating.
I never took pictures and never wanted anyone to take pictures of me either. I knew how I looked, I just didn't want to accept or face it. It was easier to block it out and not face the person I allowed myself to become. I just channeled all of my energy into work, trying to be the best at everything else in my life. I was the girl that watched “The Biggest Loser” every season from start to finish sitting there eating chips and Oreos while saying, “Wow, I wish I had the strength to do what they are doing, I wish I had their drive and dedication.” It just never clicked what I was actually doing to myself.
I would try to do workouts on On Demand but couldn't last through the warm up. I would be out of breath and give up because I felt it was too hard and I couldn't keep up. So I just returned back to my old behaviors of eating and not exercising. Truth be told, I was miserable.
Breaking Point: I was 39 years old in 2008 and visited a website where you could see old friends from high school. I was on there looking at my old classmates who I graduated with and came across two of my friends who were also in the marching band with me. Looking at them jolted something inside of me. I sat there with tears in my eyes, wondering how we could be the same age and they look like that and I look like this. These two young ladies were fit and I wanted that too. I made up my mind at that moment that I wanted to lose weight.
How I Lost It: It didn't start instantaneously, but I knew I had to do something. So I started one day going to Gold's Gym. I would walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then run out the door as soon as I was done. It was overwhelming; I was out of breath and I didn't want to do anything else. Within five months I had lost 68 pounds.
But I had knee pain that wouldn't go away, and eventually I had to stop going to the gym. My doctor told me it was because of my weight. I suffered with the pain for 10 months, and gained every bit of the weight back and then some. I was devastated.
My knee pain continued to the point that it started giving out on me. My back and legs were in so much pain, too. I was on acid reflux meds and pain meds for my back and my knees. I stopped weighing myself at the doctors because it was pointless; the scale only went to 350. My doctor gave me a shot of cortisone in the knee and said if that didn't work he would need to do surgery. I made a promise to God if I felt better I wasn't going to do this to myself again.
Well, I felt better, but didn't have a plan -- yet I knew I was going to do something. I talked to a client of mine who also went to Gold's Gym. She gave me a diet to try, but it was just that, a diet, and I needed something I could do for the rest of my life. I tracked my progress for a month of eating no carbs. I was fascinated by the First Lady and her fight against obesity, so I took what I learned from her and coupled it with a host of recipes that I created.
Today I eat clean. I eat six to seven small meals a day, of things like protein shakes, baked chicken breast, broccoli, tilapia, sweet potatos and more. I work out six days a week. I do daily cardio running or the Stairmaster. I focus on different body parts daily for strength, like triceps, biceps, back, legs, abs, glutes, deltoids, etc. I love to work out; it's my life. I get asked constantly how I lost the weight and I listen to so many stories. I tell them I truly understand I used to be you. I let them know it's not easy but that it is definitely worth it. It's not about how fast it comes off, but about getting healthy and changing your lifestyle. Today, I'm getting my body ready for a fitness competition. Everyone seems to not remember me 200 pounds heavier, but I do. I love me today.
Current Weight: 165 pounds and still losing
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.