From dangerously obese to fabulously fit, a Wisconsin mom-turned-triathlete is now talking openly about how she overhauled her life by losing more than 200 pounds and regaining a sense of healthy well-being.
Just a few years ago, Aimee Smith of Janesville, Wis., weighed more than 425 pounds. "My knees hurt, my back hurt. I had high blood pressure. I was pre-diabetic. I was going down a bad path," Smith told WKOW.
Smith added that due to her weight, she had difficulty moving, suffered from depression and had encountered serious problems when she was giving birth to her second daughter, according to the report. About two years ago, Smith, now 44, decided the time had come to make a choice. She opted to undergo gastric bypass surgery and since then, her life has been transformed.
She's lost 222 pounds, almost half her body weight, and now competes in triathlons and other long-distance running events, ABC News reports. She's planning on running the Wisconsin marathon this May and hopes to one day complete an Iron Man triathlon.
Smith says she's kept the weight off by exercising regularly and makes healthy food choices -- eating in moderation and consuming lots of fruits and vegetables.
Nothing in Smith’s formula is an earth-shattering secret, but research suggests her approach is on the right track. For example, the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks successful “losers” who’ve dropped an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for more than five years, found 98 percent of registrants overhauled their eating habits and 94 percent increased physical activity.
Though Smith's gastric bypass surgery likely helped her achieve her weight-loss goals, the National Institutes of Health warns that the surgery has "major risks" and should only be turned to as a last resort.
For some, adopting a regular exercise regimen and healthy food choices can be equally effective in overcoming obesity.
For instance, in October 2012, Janette Colantonio appeared on the TV show "The Doctors" to show off her new physique after she lost more than 200 pounds. Colantonio said that she had lost the weight by changing her eating habits and exercising regularly.
In April last year, Linda Romano made the news after she lost half her body weight from running. The 32-year-old told WABC that she weighed more than 300 pounds before she adopted her active new hobby.