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I was always in great shape growing up. I was a dancer and had the typical dancer body. I was lucky enough to eat whatever I wanted even through college and stayed fit. Once I got pregnant with my daughter, I heard, “Oh, you will hardly gain weight.” When I did start gaining weight, I heard, “Oh, it’ll fall right off.”

pregnant

The day I found out I was pregnant, I weighed 102 pounds. The day I went in to give birth to my daughter, I was 189 pounds. WHAT!? How? I ate not only for myself and my daughter, I was eating for like four people. That’s how. I enjoyed the pregnancy. A lot. I was still under the assumption that the weight was going to fall off; how naïve of me. I stayed in my pregnancy clothes until my daughter was well into her first year. I was avoiding mirrors, getting more and more depressed and feeling alone.

I had my ‘a-ha’ moment when I saw myself in a picture from a birthday party. I tried so hard to not get in the way of a camera. I didn’t want to see myself for how I really looked. I was happy living in the land of delusion (though I really wasn’t because I was depressed and on anti-depression medicine). When I saw myself tagged in that picture on Facebook, I cried. I cried so much. I also thought it was a good idea to go shopping to see what size I really was.

>> Read more: My Breaking Point? Ripped Yoga Pants

At this point, I was still living in maternity clothes, sweatshirts and leggings. I went to Forever 21. I was normally an extra small there. I grabbed the extra small pants and headed to the dressing room. Holy cow! It wouldn’t even go past my ankles. I keep going up and up in sizes. Nothing fits. At this point, Forever 21 didn’t have plus sizes at the store. The poor girl who worked there had to let me know that they don’t offer a size that would fit me. I cried in the dressing room for 20 minutes. She was so kind and allowed me to sit in the dressing room floor and cry. She tried her best to make it better. This was the moment I decided to take my life back.

overweight woman buttoning jeans

My sad cries turned into mad cries; I was mad at myself. What kind of a role model would I be for my daughter if I cried every time I got dressed? I left the mall and went straight to a gym. I chose a gym that offered classes because I love to dance. I took classes where I could dance the weight off. I got rid of all of the comfort foods at my house that I had grown to love. I learned how to prep my food. I took control of my life.

>> Read more: How to Ignite a Fitness Routine When You’re Overweight

I was able to lose 75 pounds over 16 months. It took work. It took a lot of “there’s always Mondays.” It took dedication. It took a picture and a mental breakdown in the dressing room of a Forever 21 but I did it! I no longer have to take my depression medicine. I can look in the mirror and smile. Most importantly, I taught myself that I can overcome anything if I work hard to do it.