05/09/2012 08:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Weight Loss Success: Jeannette Fender Overhauled Her Habits And Lost 68 Pounds

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Name: Jeannette Fender
Age: 32
Height: 5'8"
Before Weight: 198 pounds

How I Gained It: My weight has gone up and down my entire life. I've always had a love/hate relationship with food and can easily pack on the pounds by eating my favorite things -- pasta, pizza, ice cream, chips, the list is endless. Each time I've gained, the end number has been higher and higher. I would stop eating and do crash diets to get the weight off, then start the whole cycle again. It was so bad for my body and my self-esteem, but I couldn't seem to break out of it. I would eat, gain, starve, not be able to stand how hungry I was, and then eat again.

Then in 2010, I got pregnant with my second child. I was determined I was going to do things differently, that I was going to be healthy and not gain tons of weight with this pregnancy. And while I did exercise during my whole pregnancy, I didn't eat as healthily as I should have, and ended up gaining a little over 70 pounds. I figured I was going to be okay -- I could get out of the hospital and keep up the exercise and the weight would come back off. However, six weeks after my son was born I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my ankle in three places and was out of commission for 12 weeks. I hit a low at that point and thought, "What's the point?" I turned back to my old consolation (i.e. food) to make me feel better. I gorged on quarts of ice cream. I ate Twix bars like they were one of the major food groups, and I packed on the pounds. I had left the hospital with about 50 pounds to lose, but I now had much much more.

Breaking Point: It all really came to a head in October when my dad unexpectedly died. We had been on him about his eating habits and taking better care of himself for years. As soon as I saw the hospital number on the phone I knew. And as I listened to them tell me that he had been hitting golf balls and had instantly died, it all clicked for me. My kids would be growing up without their Papa -- I would not let them grow up without their mom as well! This was about more than how I looked. It was about my health. And something had to be done!

How I Lost It: I started Nutrisystem a little less than two weeks after my dad passed away. I didn't take the decision of what program to use lightly. This was my chance to make a change, and I knew I had to be successful! I didn't have a choice. The format of Nutrisystem worked well for me -- meals were pre-packaged and I added in fresh fruits and veggies. I was able to eat five times a day and could still enjoy pizza, burgers and more! I got my first shipment in the mail and never looked back! I jumped in 100 percent and made a commitment to what I needed to do. I didn't cheat. I was determined.

I also added exercise. In the beginning, I couldn't even walk around my neighborhood without getting completely winded and feeling like I was going to be sick, but I didn't give up. I walked a little more every day -- even if it was only three steps more!

Seven months later, I can run a 5K. Or walk five miles up and down hills pushing my now-toddler in the stroller. Or shoot basketball with my son. All because I'm 68 pounds lighter. I went from a size 16 to a size 4 and in the process, I found myself. Yes, I love how I look now. I love being able to feel great in anything. But do you know what I really love? Being able to go hiking with my family. Being able to run with my sons. Being able to live life to the fullest!

After Weight: 130 pounds

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