HEALTHY LIVING
03/24/2014 08:25 am ET Updated Mar 24, 2014

Coty Budd Fell In Love With Bodybuilding And Lost 80 Pounds

Coty Budd

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Name: Coty Budd
Age: 28
Height: 5' 6.5"
Before Weight: 234 pounds

How I Gained It: I've been the "bigger" girl my whole life. In high school, I fluctuated between a size 12 and a size 16, never weighing less than 180 pounds. The only activity I got was during marching band practice and running orders at my waitressing job. I got married at the young age of 19, and I ballooned up 50 pounds in the first year of marriage. Continued non-activity combined with horrid eating habits only furthered my weight gain. When my (now ex-) husband and I decided it was time to try for a baby, we found it difficult to conceive because of my weight. At the time, I was classified anovulatory with most of the classic symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome. Doctors told me I needed to lose weight and gave me medication that helped me to eventually conceive our first child after 18 months of trying. After giving birth to my son, I found myself back in my same old habits, and I gained even more weight. After conceiving and giving birth to a second child three years later, I was most certainly at my heaviest, though I do not have a recorded number.

Breaking Point: When our daughter was almost a year old, my husband received military orders to the tiny island of Guam. This overseas move induced panic at the thought of being at the beach for two years straight. How in the world could I prance around in a swimsuit all the time?! Then I heard from a military spouse friend that all of the mommies there were very into fitness. I wanted to curl up in a ball in my fat pants right then and there.

How I Lost It: A couple months before the big move, I set out to complete the Couch to 5K program. This must be the answer to all of my problems, right? Wrong. How I loathed every torturous minute of exercise. This wasn't fun! I wasn't losing any weight! My whole body ached as 200-plus pounds pounded the pavement. There had to be another way, but I hadn't found it yet.

Shortly after arriving on Guam, I overheard some ladies talking about a bodybuilding program that had given several of them incredible results. One of them had a starting weight that was similar to mine. If she did it, I thought, why can't I? Thus launched my official fitness journey. I studied bodybuilding websites forward and back. I downloaded a free program that had 12 weeks of exercises and nutrition plans all mapped out for me. And then, I bravely stepped on to the scale. My official starting weight: 234 pounds. The very next day I walked into the gym, eyes to the floor. I completed my first day of the program and the next day ached all over. But over the course of the next 12 weeks, something compelled me to keep pushing. I fell in love and I have never looked back.

My life is so much more full now. It is amazing what shedding 80 pounds can do to a person, both physically and mentally. I am able to swing on the monkey bars with my children, to chase them around the playground, wrestle with them on the floor. But most importantly, I feel as if I'm teaching them a daily lesson about how to love and care for their bodies. I've also met some amazing friends along my journey that continue to inspire me with their words of wisdom, from near and far. I have learned my own self-worth and have made drastic changes in my life that reflect that. I have become a Zumba instructor, something I never saw myself doing, after being encouraged by my best friend because she saw something in me that I didn't.

Most importantly, I now know what it means to be passionate about something. That translates not only in my fitness life but into my personal life as well. If you are going to do something, be it making your body better, being a better mom, being a better lover, etc., you must do it with a full heart. You need no one but yourself, but hopefully you find others along the way who are willing to be there at your finish line. Take your own reins and steer your life in the direction you want it to go. I'm really striving to reach everyone who feels like no one and show them this can be done through my Facebook page, Mama Gone Strong.

After Weight: 154 pounds

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