Mari lost 131 lbs!!!

"How do you write that you changed my life, with all the meaning backing it? This letter has been one of the hardest things for me to do. Where do I begin to say that this journey has blessed me in so many ways? You are so inspiring and uplifting I hope you truly grasp how much of an impact you are making on people you don’t even know. You inspire me to keep going. To keep pushing. Thank you for letting me be a part of this amazing community of people that need help and inspiration. I hope my journey will inspire them, like yours has truly inspired me.

My name is Mari. I am a 31 year old (young) caffeine addicted mother of 3 beautiful young ladies. I have been married to my incredible husband going on 6 years this May.
I always felt like I would never get back to the way I used to look. Not that I was incredibly fit my whole life, however I did yo-yo a lot. I had a very disruptive eating pattern. I had suffered from anorexia and bulimia throughout high school. I have tried every fad diet there was known to man. Nothing ever worked for too long. I mean how long one can truly survive on cabbage and cyan pepper? I was a disaster inside and had very little self-worth. I never felt attractive. I did not want to even leave the house. I was beginning to enclose myself to only my home. I had convinced myself that the woman in the wedding photos did not exist anymore. I even gave away all of my smaller clothes to my younger sister. “I will never get my mom butt in those again” I said to her. I was a mother now. I did not have time to work out. I did not even have time to take a shower more than once a week. (okay that’s a bit of a stretch it was more about every couple of days, but still) I would look at these beautiful woman with such envious eyes. I would hate on them inside and cry on the outside. I was so ready to give up. I had convinced myself there was no more story to be written within my life.
A little back history – So much is involved I will keep it really brief.
I was a teenage mom. I had my oldest when I was only 18. I also married my high school sweetheart- her father. Fairy tale right? Not quite.
I found out I was pregnant again, he got a promotion, then we found out he had cancer.
He died. I was 22. A pregnant widow.
I would never have thought in a million years that would be my story. One I would tell over and over again and only get more depressed and fearful. I comforted myself with food. It would never leave me, I would tell myself. I got up to 232 with my middle daughter Sophia.
I lost all of the weight, but in all the wrong ways.
I had resorted back to all of my old habits again. I would binge and purge and the cycle would repeat and repeat. I would get deeper and deeper in to a silent depression. I could mask it all. I put on a very good show around other people. That I was recovering and I was ok.
Fast-forward to the day I wanted to change. The day I was moved. I typed in something like “before and after pictures” on Pinterest.
Mama Laughlins picture came up.
I thought to myself, "Wow she is a mother, she has lost weight." 
A spark in my head went off.
Maybe, just maybe I could do that too.
I remember asking my older daughter Olivia to help me take pictures of myself the next morning. I had her take these photos.
I was disgusted and mortified. I cried for what felt like forever. How could I ever let myself get like that? I was very overwhelmed.
Who lies on their before and after photos? ME. This girl right here. I did not want to write the horrific number down. I was
256. ……….
I could not believe it. I did not want anyone to know.  There was a part of me that envied Mama Laughlin, for being so real. Honest. Pure in her journey.
That part was my driving force. I wanted to show the world that I could overcome everything that I had been through, it started as a personal thing. I wanted to be sexy again. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to feel good.
I would read Mamas blogs and laugh and some I would cry. I always felt like she truly understood what being an overweight mother and wife was like, and express what I was really feeling that I could never say. 

“Whoever thinks having kids is an excuse for being overweight is WRONG!!
I am proof you can lose weight after having kids!
No, it's not easy.... but it's worth it!”

I could relate to her in every way.
I wanted to say I had no more excuses.
I learned to document every change. Mama Laughlin would say things like…

“The best part of this journey... SEEING THE RESULTS!” 

I wanted so bad to just be where she was. I was always a silent follower keeping to myself, and never really commenting or getting involved. I loved that she would always stay positive. She kept going. She never gave up. She continued to thrive, throughout all her obstacles. She owned up to all her flaws and moved forward. Nothing stopped her from her dreams. How admirable.

“Once I get to the weight I am now (between 145-150) losing weight starts to become "dull" to me.
It starts becoming less and less important. I see pictures of myself and think "I look good, why do I need to lose more?"
But I don't FEEL GREAT. I want to lose more, but I lose the drive I have once my body gets comfortable. I don't know why that is. 
I think it may be because losing now becomes SOOOO SLOW and SOOOO DIFFICULT”

It has been over 2 years that I have followed her. With her motivation, her honesty, her dedication, her determination, I was able to see I could be like her. That I could overcome my own demons. I needed to leave my excuses at the door and start creating dreams.
I was able to lose 131 pounds. The healthy way. I busted my butt. I learned how to eat. I made being healthy a lifestyle.

Chills still run over my body as I think of the moment I jumped head first into a world I never thought I belonged to. I have overcome a lot of things in my life. Not only have I lost 131 pounds, I found myself along the way. I am currently enrolled in a exercise science program at my local university. I hope to open my own facility to help woman who have lost all hope gain their independence and feel beautiful again. Women like Brandi and myself should be encouragers to all who don't think they can make it. It's a hard journey. I am not promising an easy adventure. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears, in all that weight I lost, but with it I lost a lot of excuses. And so can you. I truly believe God had placed Mama Laughlin in my life at the perfect moment. She has continued to inspire me and encourage me more than anyone will ever know. I hope my journey will have a blessing over your lives. Will inspire even 1 person. You can do it. You’re the only one stopping you. For this opportunity I will forever be thankful. Thank you Mama Laughlin for being a huge part of this journey, for encouraging me."

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Tia @ Gilded TBags said...

She looks fantastic! So inspiring. Mama, your words mean more to people than you will ever know. I'm so glad you are able to dive into fitness like you had always imagined. Good luck to both of you!

Jasmine @ FleurtyandFit said...

Love her!!! It is truly a testament to how you have changed lives!! Keep doing what you are doing and don't let any haters ever change who you are!!!

Mrs. Sadler said...

She looks awesome :) I'm a mom of 3, under 4yrs, and working on losing weight too!

Camille said...

I LOVE her, just started following her IG a week or two ago. Incredibly inspirational and encouraging in more ways than one! Super thankful I found her and for both of your continuous inspiration!

Camille said...

LOVE her. Just started following her IG a week or two ago. She is so inspirational and encouraging in more ways than one! Super thankful for all the inspiration you both give!

Kayla White said...

WOW. She looks fanastic!!!!

Julie @ Just the Joy's said...

Wow! What an awesome story! I got chills reading it! She looks great! What a journey she has been through!

Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! said...

SO INSPIRATIONAL!!! Thank you for posting this Brandi and for sharing Mari's journey!!!!

Janet Vaught said...

Thank you! Very good Mari! Keep it up girlie :-) What will you do next?

Megan@Your Life Coach Megan said...

Wow! What an amazing and inspiring transformation! Congratulations! You look amazing Mari!

Minnie said...

That is fabulous!!

Candice V. said...

This is just what I needed to read this week. I keep finding myself struggling with eating right and working out, feeling it's all pointless I'll never look like ML or SM. Reading this reminds me I'm not alone in this battle. Thanks for the share and helping keep this "fat kid" in check!! I won't be skipping fat camp today!! **yes, people I said Fat Kid and Fat Camp,if you can't joke with yourself then it isn't any fun***

Annie Buck said...

I am in tears, what a level of commitment to overcome the grief and the weight and do what was best for her kids and herself. Bless her!

Paul Syracuse said...

Wow!! Incredible story!! I am such a fan of your blog Mama Laughlin!! You are such a role model and I love how you put it all out there for us!! Thank you for inspiring us and for sharing the stories of other women who can inspire us, as well!! I'd love to hear more on how Mari accomplished this amazing transformation. I know, hard work and clean diet, but it helps to know a little more about the details of what worked for someone else. Hope she can add and addendum with more details?! Thanks again to you both, you guys look amazing!!!

Kristal Kerr said...

What is the name of Mari's blog? I'd like to start following her too! :)

Amy @ No Longer A Dreamer said...

This is amazing! Congrats on all of your hard work! BOTH of you =)