Aimee Smith of Janesville, Wisconsin had enough of being overweight and took control of her own life by losing a lot of weight. She had weighed over 400 pounds and this was taking a toll on her mind and body.
My knees hurt, my back hurt. I had high blood pressure. I was pre-diabetic. I was going down a bad path,” she tells ABC News. “I’m sure carrying around 400 pounds wasn’t doing my health any favors.”
With high blood pressure and aching joints and muscles she finally had enough. She had a gastric bypass surgery done 2 years ago and started exercising regularly.
She thought of food as not something to eat but as something to fuel her body.
This is when the true changes started happening and her body slimmed down in no time. Now Aimee weighs half the weight that she used to and competes in triathlons and 10ks.
“In high school I probably would have been voted least likely to do something athletic if there was such an award,” she says with a laugh. “I’ve lost so much weight that when I went back for my 25th reunion recently, no one recognized me. They thought my husband was the one who was in their class!”
She never thought she would be athletic in her lifetime but has surprised everyone with her love of exercise. Now her body feels great and she is mentally prepared for whatever life throws at her with her slim new body.
Eventually, the 44-year old hopes to compete in an ironman.
“There’s a group of us out there who have had weight loss surgery who are athletes now. I never felt comfortable saying that,” said Smith.
But her coach at SBR Coaching in Verona has called her that for a long time.
“I’ve never worked with anybody quite like Aimee. She started her journey by losing the weight and not knowing quite what to do only that she thought she was going to die and she needed to do something,” said the coach.
Her advice to others:
“You’ve got to change your relationship with food. Start thinking of it as fuel rather than a friend you can rush to whenever you’re having an emotional problem,” she says.
“It’s not always helpful to look at the big picture,” she says. “Start small and if you can only do two steps at a time, do that and then do it again tomorrow. Progressively build on what you can.”