The transition to college was a significant one for Hudson. She was also “stressed, working many jobs, and I didn’t know what I should be eating,” in addition to obtaining greater independence. That meant that she was eating a lot of pizza and whatever other food she could get her hands on during breaks from her waitressing work since it was quick and handy on a college student’s budget. And in the space of roughly a year, she put on around 180 pounds of weight.
“I began experiencing a lot of health concerns,” she recalls. “I had a lot of different symptoms.” “It seemed as if my back was in constant pain. I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and I was also at risk for developing pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. I have spent my whole life enjoying the company of horses, but recently I was unable to do so. I went from being confident and outgoing to quite anxious and reclusive, and I stopped hanging out with my friends.”
During this time, her mother and grandmother were also participating in the weight reduction program Optavia, and they had each lost a total of 75 and 80 pounds, respectively. They worked on her to get her to participate in the program for years until they ultimately succeeded in doing so in January 2018, shortly after Hudson graduated from college. Hudson began to eat healthier by replacing the crust on her pizza with cauliflower crust, making Taco Tuesdays using lettuce wraps rather than tortillas, and setting alarms for every two and a half to three hours to remind herself to eat healthy snacks in between meals.
Over the course of the subsequent two years and six months, Hudson maintained a steady weight loss that ultimately resulted in a loss of 187 pounds. She is now what is known as a health coach, and she assists individuals in “becoming well.”
“I tell people that prior to it, I had the sensation that there was a cloud over my head mentally. I didn’t always put myself first, but now that I do, “What can I say? “Everything in my life has been upended.”
Wulff, who is 39 years old and works as a teacher, tells PEOPLE that she felt as if she had a “license to basically eat anything I wanted” when she was pregnant. She had three pregnancies, during which she gained more than 100 pounds, and from that point on, she continued to put on weight, finally reaching 360 pounds.
She adds that she lied to herself and told herself that it didn’t matter what kind of food she ate since she was already overweight. If I were to have the ice cream, would it really make a difference if I had a full-time job and three young daughters to take care of?
But Wulff began to notice tiny concerns, such as the fact that she lacked the stamina to walk the five minutes to the park with her girls, the fact that she had to twist into unusual positions simply to get the vehicle seatbelt to clasp, and the fact that she was battling with persistent headaches.
“I was in the middle of my 30s when I came to the sudden realization that there were going to be things that I definitely could not accomplish,” the speaker says.
Wulff signed up for Weight Watchers and paid for a whole year’s membership upfront. In order to maintain his motivation, he set a goal of dropping only 5 pounds at a time. She dropped 207 pounds in a little over two years by making changes to her supper routine and walking more in her neighborhood.
She says, “I don’t mean lighter in terms of my physical weight, but I do feel so much lighter.” “Simply stated, I have a lot more energy, a more optimistic attitude, and an increased propensity to put myself out there. I’ve improved as a teacher, as a wife, and as a mother as a result. A step forward in every aspect.”
Benes spent most of her life being quite overweight. Benes had a weight problem even as a youngster, and by the time she was 25 years old, she weighed 376 pounds.
She claims that “every decision I made about what I nourished my body with and how much exercise I did was all up to me.” “Everything I fed my body with was all up to me,” she continues. “There was no one else I could blame for the terrible choices that I made, which led to my weight reaching around 400 pounds.”
But all of that changed on April 2, 2018, when Benes made the decision to enroll in a weight reduction program offered locally in the city of Fort Wayne in the state of Indiana. She attributed her weight loss of 100 pounds to working with a personal trainer, receiving nutrition guidance, and attending regular boot camp courses. But she says the most difficult part was when that support stopped and she had to figure things out on her own.
She claims that she “had to grasp that this was no longer a diet and that it had to become my lifestyle.” “I had to comprehend that this was no longer a diet,” she continues.
Benes maintained her regimen of daily exercise and healthy eating, and only ten months later, in January, she weighed 175 pounds less than she had when she started. With the assistance of the weight reduction support program Real Appeal, she has been able to maintain that weight, along with a few more pounds of cushion, for the last year.
“My quest to lose weight started at a period in my life when my weight was something I dealt with on a daily basis, which led to me being in a continual state of sadness,” she says. “I came to the realization that the most arduous path had led to the most beautiful trip of my life via the hardship that I faced while I was traveling, and it was because of the adventure that I was on.”
Brown, then 34 years old, was coming off a difficult year when she made the decision to make a change and lose weight in 2015. She had recently experienced a miscarriage, her childhood pet had recently passed away, and a broken ankle had left her unable to walk on her own for several months prior to making this decision.
Brown explains, “I couldn’t fight it any longer.”
In addition, Brown’s health was deteriorating; she suffered from high blood pressure as well as regular headaches, and her physician believed that shedding some of her 239 pounds would be beneficial. Brown made the decision to sign up for Nutrisystem, and she started seeing results right away, losing 10 pounds in the first week and continuing to lose around 2.5 pounds each week after that. After another year and a half of hard work, she has shed 109 pounds and is in much better health.
“I currently weigh 130, I no longer need to take any medication for my blood pressure, and every year on my physical I impress my doctor with my cholesterol and other levels!” she exclaims. “My blood pressure has been normal for the past year and a half, and I have not had to take any medication for it.” “I am now proud of how far I have gone, as well as how much confidence and bravery I have in myself to tackle anything!”
McLaughlin’s weight gain began in college when she “become sedentary,” and it continued to accelerate once she began dating a “bigger man.” They would order in for almost every meal, including pizzas, burrito bowls, cheeseburgers, and fries, and they would seldom cook, which led to McLaughlin’s weight gain of 270 pounds. She joined Jenny Craig in 2016 with the goal of losing weight and was successful in doing so, losing sixty pounds; however, she began to feel terrible because her partner, who was pursuing an MBA, had to fend for himself, and she began to gain the weight back.
Then, in the latter part of 2017, after they had been together for five years, McLaughlin’s boyfriend started acting “remote,” and he admitted that he had emotions for someone else.
“At that point, I’m like, ‘This is cheating, this is foolish, I can’t do this anymore,’ and I said I was going,” she recalls. “At that point, I’m like, ‘This is cheating, this is dumb, I can’t do this anymore.'”
In the month of December alone, McLaughlin ended her relationship with him, moved out of the apartment they shared, and began working a new job. It was difficult for her, but starting anew was just what she needed to reduce weight permanently. She claims, “I basically got rid of every excuse that I’ve ever had,” and that’s exactly what she did.
McLaughlin enrolled in Jenny Craig once more in February 2017, and over the course of the next two years, she dropped 133 pounds, which is equivalent to nearly half her previous size. She did this by eating the pre-made meals provided by Jenny Craig, as well as developing a passion for attending group fitness classes and lifting weights. She is now responsible for her own cooking and has managed to keep the weight off.
She adds, “I believe I’m more myself today, which is funny since I don’t think I was ever more myself in the preceding 30 years.” “Now I’m more open to new experiences, more extroverted, and more inclined to make friends,” she said.
Jennifer Riveira was often exhausted, and as a result, she struggled to keep up with her little son.
She knew it was time to make a change when her doctor informed her that the results of all of her tests came back normal, but that it was possible that her habit of eating fast food was to blame.
“In all honesty, I had completely given up on myself,” she explains to PEOPLE. “Everyone else became more important to me than I was, and eating at fast-food restaurants became a way of life for me. It went quite quickly. It was simple to do.”
Therefore, Riveira eliminated fatty foods and began replacing them with meal-replacement drinks. She also began to be active.
She now exercises on a daily basis and is able to keep up with her son, who is now 13 years old.
“The goal itself is to feel better about yourself, to be the greatest version of you, whoever you are,” says Riveira. “The task itself is to feel better about yourself.”