Tuesday, July 19, 2011

'When you're bigger than the biggest person on The Biggest Loser, it's horrible': How mother-of-two lost 200lb in a year

By Tamara Abraham

Tipping the scales at 456lb Staci Bridwell was ashamed to acknowledge that she weighed more than the largest contestant on the Biggest Loser.

But thanks to the help of celebrity coach Chris Powell, the 30-year-old, from Haslet, Texas, has lost over 200lb in the space of a single year.

The mother-of-two, who appeared on the latest episode of Extreme Makeover, told how she gained weight in her early teens, and has not been able to shift it since.

Transformation: Staci Bridwell, 30, from Haslet, Texas, once weighed 456lb (left), but lost 201lb in a year after appearing on Extreme Makeover (right)

She said: 'As a teenager I gained probably 200 pounds between the time I was 13 to 15. I was shopping at Lane Bryant by the time I was 13 years old.'

She revealed that she had tried every diet imaginable, but her job as a mobile radiology technologist meant that she spent up to ten hours a day in the car, and fast food had become a part of her lifestyle.

'Weight Watchers, Jennie Craig, The Soup Diet … anything,' she said. 'I’ve done them all, and nothing ever worked.'

In addition to a demanding job, Mrs Bridwell was required to care for her two young daughters, as well as support her husband, Rodney, who suffered a stroke three weeks after they met.

Out of control: The mother-of-two's weight soared in her teens, and by 13 she was shopping at Lane Bryant

Pressure: Mrs Bridwell experienced added stress after her husband suffered a stroke, numbing the left side of his body. As a consequence, she became the family's sole breadwinner

But, as the show reveals, she found the impetus to transform her diet and lifestyle, exercising for up to four hours a day, despite her demanding work and home life.

'I didn’t know what to cook. I didn’t know what to buy at the store. I had to change all of that,' she explained.

'I lost the weight over a year, and now it’s just the way I live. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. It’s already second nature. It’s a new lifestyle.

'The hardest part is getting started and making sure you stay with it.'

Success: Mrs Bridwell could fit both herself and her daughter into the legs of her old jeans after six months

Mrs Bridwell enjoyed a successful first six months, dropping to 290lb at the mid-way weigh-in, but her weight reached a plateau during the latter half of Powell's plan.

She told how she had lost her focus while juggling her hectic schedule, and had slipped back into bad habits, eating fast food and not making time to exercise.

But after a disappointing nine-month weigh-in, Mrs Bridwell's motivation was revived, and a session with Mr Powell helped push her to her goal weight of 255lb.

She said of the trainer: 'He’s a very special guy. He is super-inspiring, and
there’s just something about him being around that makes you feel like you can [lose the weight]. I said I’d give it my best shot - and I did - and it worked.'

Helping hand: With the support of celebrity coach Chris Powell, the 30-year-old reached her goal weight

Mr Powell was equally full of praise, crediting her dedication and motivation to her weight-loss goal.

He said: 'She was the largest woman I'd ever worked with and the transformation is incredible.'

As another positive consequence of her new healthy lifestyle, the whole Bridwell family has lost weight - particularly Mr Bridwell, who has lost 100lb since his wife changed their diet.

'My husband lost 100 pounds!' she said. 'It’s so aggravating, he never even works out. All he did was eat the [healthier] food. I work out for hours!'


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