When I was a teen-ager, I was much taller than most of the other girls my age. I remember wearing a size 9 shoe as a teen and although I wasn't overweight, I felt very self-conscious of my height and build. After high school, I attended nursing school. I was always very busy, and my diet consisted mainly of prepackaged foods and quick snacks. I maintained a weight of 135 pounds until I got married two years after finishing school. Following a year of marriage, I was 15 pounds heavier because I neglected myself. I hated exercise and sports, and I cooked and ate high-fat meals regularly. Then I got pregnant with my first son. I gained 35 pounds during the pregnancy and lost all but 5 pounds of the weight after giving birth. Two and a half years later, I weighed 183 after delivering my second son.

A year later, I was up to 190 pounds. My husband never criticized me even though I outweighed him, but one day he remarked that he would like to see me in jeans instead of in the stretchy stirrup pants I had become so comfortable in. I went the store and had to buy a size 16 pair of jeans. That's when I knew I had to do something about my weight. I was determined to get back into a size 10. I became inspired by reading Oprah's book Make the Connection. I started eliminating high-fat foods from my diet and walking the trails near my home. After about two months, when the weather turned snowy, I started doing a step video at home five days a week. After two months, my clothes fit better, but I wasn't losing a noticeable amount of weight.

Later, I joined a women's gym and added weight training. I was pleased to see a change in my measurements, but still needed to lose the extra pounds. I joined Weight Watchers as part of a New Year's resolution and lost 40 pounds in six months by watching what I ate and making sure I was getting enough nutrients from each food group. I now wear a size 8 jeans and enjoy getting compliments from family and friends - especially from my husband. I've found that the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to make exercise a part of each day, just like brushing my teeth. I'll never love it, but I do love what it's done from my body.