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Fat to Fit Winner Janice Church

A former binge eater who lost 100 pounds shares her motivation and lifestyle lessons with the Fat to Fit community.

Name: Janice Church

Home: Louisville, Tenn.

Occupation: Retired technology entrepreneur

I am a former binge eater who lost over 100 pounds without pills or surgery. One of the reasons I joined the Fat to Fit challenge in June is I wanted to motivate others to make positive changes in their lives. Also, I was recovering from hip surgery, had gained back some weight, and had recently moved to Tennessee, leaving behind 40 years' worth of supportive relationships in Maryland. I hoped the online community would motivate me to be more fit, active and optimistic.

A supportive online community is like a safety net that catches and uplifts its members. The Fat to Fit postings helped me explore new opportunities. My postsurgery depression lifted after I joined a Smoky Mountain hiking group and also a meet-up group committed to fitness and lifestyle changes. I now walk seven to 10 miles weekly in my neighborhood.

In 1997 at age 49, I weighed 275 pounds (I am 5' 6" tall). My cholesterol level was at 312, I could barely walk a half mile, and I had endured 20 years of severe ulcerative colitis. At the time, I felt I didn't have more than about five years to live.

After I became a vegan, my health slowly improved. I replaced fast foods, dairy and meats with fruits, veggies and whole grains. Over the next tk years, my cholesterol fell to 170 and I was able to stop taking three strong prescriptions.

To celebrate losing 100 pounds, I hiked part of the way up Mt. Whitney [in California] and completed the Honolulu marathon.

Now I love to create gourmet vegan meals and win converts to a healthier lifestyle by sharing my story. Great progress for a former binge eater, don't you think?

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