04/12/2013 09:44 am ET

Mom's Last Words Inspire 85-Pound Loss (PHOTOS)

"Hey, Precious."

Cherie Hart Steffen turned toward her professor in the hall of their community college.

"What?" she asked, sure she had misheard.

"Precious -- you know, from the movie," he repeated.

The students around them started laughing. Steffen could only stare in disbelief. He had just compared her to Gabourey Sidibe's obese character in the 2009 film.

"It was like ... someone hit me with a frying pan on my head," she remembers.

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