A few years back, Nashville native Brittany Horton was getting ready to purchase health insurance when the agent candidly told her something she'll never forget: "I can just look at you and tell you are too big to qualify," she said. "You shouldn't even apply."
Stung by the insurance agent's hurtful words, Horton returned to her car and cried. But then, overcome by a new sense of determination, she pulled out of the parking lot — and drove off to buy fruits, veggies, and a brand-new scale.
The last time Horton had weighed herself was a few months prior when she underwent hernia surgery and was forced to step on the hospital scale. She had been surprised to learn then that she weighed 346 pounds — and now, several months later, she was even more surprised to learn that her weight had jumped up to 386 pounds.
Horton knew that something had to change, so she immediately began swapping out her fast-food breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for meals made up of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. She limited herself to 1,500 calories per day and tracked each and every one in a daily food journal. And it worked! Horton lost 80 pounds in the first nine months.
When dietary changes alone stopped working and Horton's weight loss began to plateau, she decided to amp up her gym routine. She added five or six weekly workout sessions to her schedule, and any time her weight loss began to slow down after that, she adjusted both her diet and exercise plans accordingly.
Over three years, Horton dropped an impressive 208 pounds (that's more than half her body weight), weighing her in at 178 — and now, two years later, she's managed to maintain that weight. Plus, while she was embarking on her own fitness journey, she was even able to help her brother, Quinton, develop his own healthy lifestyle: When he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year, Horton created a 15-page meal plan for him, which helped him peel off 80 pounds and reverse his diabetes in just six months.
Needless to say, we're seriously impressed by Horton's determination and success. Her best advice for others looking to lose weight like she did? Don't feel bad about being selfish and sacrificing some things in your effort to stay on track, she told TODAY, and remember that being healthy is a way of life, not a phase.
"I accepted that this is how I was going to be living my life," she said. "I have committed my life to doing this."
And you can, too.