Aimee Smith has transformed herself from an obese woman to an athlete after deciding one day that her weight was unacceptable. The Wisconsin woman has lost 222 pounds, and is now a regular competitor in 5Ks, 10Ks and triathlons. Her next goal: The Iron Man challenge.
It wasn’t until Smith realized she was 427 pounds that she decided she needed a life change, she tells ABC News. She got a gastric bypass surgery and lost over 200 pounds, a weight loss that was helped by the fact she joined a “couch-to-5K” program and switched up her diet to make sure the weight change stuck.
“In high school I probably would have been voted least likely to do something athletic if there was such an award,” she says. “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!”
Her advice to others: Think of food as fuel instead of a friend. She says that if she craves a cookie, she goes to her local bakery to buy one instead of picking up a bag of processed “junk” at the grocery store, and that’s helped.
What also helps is the support of those around her. In addition to the 44-year-old’s husband, children and friends, the athletes Smith competes against have been encouraging of her journey.
“These are serious athletes who stand on the podium at the end of a race. I expected them to be snobs. But it’s been very eye-opening how compassionate they’ve been towards me. They love my determination and they go out of their way to let me know they’re proud of me for not quitting,” she says.