When I got married, I dieted my way into a size 9/10 wedding dress. I bought a smaller dress on purpose, with the intention of eating salads and exercising to fit into it. I lost 25 pounds in eight months and on my wedding day, the dress fit perfectly.

I managed to stay this size until I had my first child. The hormonal changes during the first few months of my pregnancy made me extremely nauseated so I didn't eat very much. When I regained my appetite, I ate freely to "catch up" on what I hadn't eaten earlier in my pregnancy and gained 55 pounds. After I delivered my son, I decided that I didn't need to get back into shape since I was planning on having another baby soon.

Two years later, after I delivered my second baby, I was at 210 pounds. On the outside, I was smiling and looked happy, but on the inside, I was miserable. I was unhealthy and unhappy with my body. I knew the health risks of being overweight would compromise the quality of my life. I didn't have any excuses left to delay losing weight. I knew I had to make changes, but I didn't know where to start.

I joined a community-sponsored weekly aerobics class. At first, I thought, "What am I doing here?" because I felt so out of place and out of shape. I stayed with it and eventually found myself enjoying it. In addition, a friend and I started walking around the neighborhood with our children in strollers. It was a great way to work out and get outside the house.

Nutritionally, I started following a low-fat diet and switched to leaner cuts of meat and added vegetables (which I rarely ate before). I cut out most junk and fast foods and attended cooking classes that emphasized healthy food preparation. In addition, I started drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day. Ice cream was (and still is) my weakness, so I turned to low-fat and light versions to give me enough flavor to keep me satisfied. Thankfully, my husband has been one of my biggest supporters. He's accepted all the changes I've made in our lives and in the process, he's become healthier.

As the pounds dropped, I joined a gym to start weight training. I worked with a personal trainer who showed me proper form and technique, which helped me perform at my best. With these changes, I lost about 5 pounds a month. I knew that taking it slow would not only be healthier for me, but would also ensure the weight would stay off for good. A year later, I reached my goal of 130 pounds, which is realistic for my height and body type. Now exercising has become my hobby and not just a way of life.