Name: Gerri Ann Foster, Age: 25, Height: 5’4′, Before Weight: 273 pounds
How I Gained It: I’ve always had weight problems — I was a little chubby girl who turned into an overweight teen who turned into a morbidly obese woman. Although my lifelong struggle with weight was in part due to infant health issues, I ultimately gained it by living a sedentary lifestyle and slowly killing myself by overeating. I also lacked the knowledge and motivation to do anything about my health issues.
Breaking Point: In 2007, I became violently ill after coming back from a vacation and lost about 50 pounds. This was the first time I realized that it was actually possible to lose weight — just in a healthier way. Instead of condemning myself to a lifetime of pain, I decided to seek help and do some research, so I made an appointment with my doctor. But what I discovered at that appointment shocked me — I found out I weighed almost 300 pounds, was living with endometriosis and was in the prediabetic stage.
How I Lost It: Toward the end of 2009, I was dating a guy named Chris who was starting a diet and exercise routine. He persuaded me to join him, and in January 2010, I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and started a friendly competition with Chris. We would check in with each other’s weight, food intake and life in general as we continued to date off and on.
I’ve never been crazy about exercise, and past gym memberships were never used. But Chris kept telling me about new machines and how many calories he was burning, and eventually it motivated me to start going. I went for the first time on Monday, January 11, and vowed to become a regular, whether I liked it or not. When I set my mind to something, I do it wholeheartedly. That first day I was exhausted from work, but I used the time to do some soul searching. I knew I needed to change my life. That next day, January 12, was the first day of my life.
Around the same time, my doctor set me up with a nutritionist to talk about diabetes, calories and portion control. The weight started melting off, about 10 pounds a month. When May 2010 rolled around, I walked across the stage at my college graduation weighing 55 pounds lighter. I was so proud of myself, but I knew it was time to set a new goal. I vowed to reach 200 pounds. By that time, Chris and I had parted ways, so it was just me now — no more competition.
Life threw me a curve ball in the summer — I switched jobs and could no longer work out at my regular hours. So I signed up at 24 Hour Fitness and was offered a free session with a personal trainer. I didn’t take it at first, thinking I didn’t need help, but eventually I thought, “What have I got to lose?”
It was worth it — my trainer, TJ, changed my life. When I started with him, I couldn’t lift a five-pound dumbbell over my head. He’s taught me about perseverance, he’s helped me change my body for the better and he never ever gave up on me. He is more than just a trainer — he is a friend, motivator and someone to count on when I feel like there is no one who understands me.
I’m now down five dress sizes, and though I still have a ways to go to get to my goal weight of 140 pounds, I am confident I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I am the healthiest I have ever been. To anyone considering this journey, I have this advice: Make today the day to invest in yourself and know that anything is possible … this all lies within you!
After Weight: 188 pounds and counting.
Gerri continues to lose weight with TJ’s help — in fact, she signed up for another weight loss competition this month! She hopes to run a marathon one day.