Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at email@example.com and you could be featured on the site!
Name: Leigh Mount
Before Weight: 318.5 pounds
How I Gained It: I got sad and filled holes with copious amounts of booze and extremely poor morning-after food remedies. Most of what I ate came in brightly-colored, crinkly bags -- chips, cheese, bread, cookies, never anything fresh or healthy. I never cooked. I was living by myself for the first time, and I found out early on that if I wanted to have a pantry filled with crap, I could have a pantry filled with crap. The pantry never stayed full for long. I could go through a bag of Cheetos in a sitting. When I moved in with my boyfriend, I had to hide my eating habits, so I would go to work at 10 on Saturday mornings so I could binge eat some Taco Bell or a smorgasbord of carby garbage from the dollar store.
I got bigger and sadder and the cycle got worse and worse. No one told me to stop, including -- most importantly -- myself.
Breaking Point: I was tired of being fat. I just knew it was time to make a change.
How I Lost It: I'd done a consultation at a Quick Weight Loss center about nine months prior. I knew the program was for me, but "things came up". A week before my birthday in 2011, I got a half-off discount from the center in the mail, and my boyfriend paid the start-up fees for me! It was easy as pie after that. A high lean protein diet, a little self control, and 662 days was all it took -- and eventually quitting drinking!
The cooking-based program allowed me to make lean protein, healthy fats and carbs, veggies and fruits as delicious or boring as I wanted. It taught me more of what we're supposed to eat as adults rather than being a diet. I only worked out about 10 times throughout the two years. I wish I had gotten into some sort of workout regime because I have quite a bit of skin hanging in places. I am easing into a pretty active lifestyle now and hoping most of the areas will tighten in time.
The last time I went running (about 30 pounds ago), I jogged two miles. I used to do that regularly before I gained the weight. Without serious effort or even intent to compete with my old time, I shattered my best time by a significant amount. It blows my mind what I'm able to do now without all the bulk.
My eating habits are completely changed -- for life. One of my coworkers asked me if I went back to eating all my favorite foods after I lost the weight. I laughed and told him, "My favorite foods are the ones on the plan!" He responded, "That's a lifestyle change!" It really is. I am in love with the foods I have. I stray every now and then, but I find myself in the worst, snappy moods when I do. The bad moods and the increased number on the scale quickly bring me back to earth and I am right back on the plan.
I got into gardening, and I spend my weekends working my butt off in the yard: digging, hauling, raking, sawing, mowing. I get a rush working that hard and feeling like I really earn my next meal. I've gotten really into hula hooping, which I was never able to do before. It’s exercise-y but fun, and the hoop is the same measurement my waist was when I started!
My belly doesn’t hit the steering wheel when I drive. My purse fits. My bracelets fit. I can shave my legs! I can sit in a booth at a restaurant! I spent years in the same awful four outfits hoping people never noticed. Now I wear everything I ever dreamed of wearing.
Life seems illegally wonderful. I perform better at work. I don't get into pointless fights. I have my good and bad days, but I am always happy. I am growing into self-confidence. I am less afraid to speak my mind. I am able to say "no" for the first time.
I know I still have a lot of work to do to improve myself inside and out. My dark obese past has taught me a lot about self-sufficiency and helped my personality bloom under wraps. Those things I kept literally buried now shine and grow. I realized a few weeks ago that I am living the journey that so many others dream about for themselves. The journey is fantastic, and as I reach small destinations along the way, I create new ones so it is ongoing. And mostly it is easy, possible and so, so worth it.
After Weight: 135.5 pounds
The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers.
Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:
For more on weight loss, click here.