- Rebecca Privitera lost 211 pounds in just over two years
- At her peak weight, she was 381 pounds; now she weighs 170
- Her husband, Justin, told her she had to lose weight the old-fashioned way
- Privitera has lost most of her weight by completing in-home exercise DVDs
Rebecca Privitera desperately wanted to lose the excess weight she had carried around her entire life. In 2010, she had the opportunity to do it when her employer organized a company weight loss challenge.
But when she lined up to weigh in, Privitera realized the scale wouldn't hold her 381-pound frame.
"They wanted me to go down to shipping and receiving and get on the shipping scale," she says.
However embarrassing this moment was, it wasn't enough to prompt Privitera to change. A couple of months later, in early 2011, the Cabot, Arkansas, native was put on bed rest because her blood pressure was too high. Doctors gave her three blood pressure medications and an anti-depressant.
"I was out of work for about four weeks," Privitera remembers. "They were afraid I was going to have a stroke."
Before going on bed rest, she had bought a wedding dress. By the time the dress came in, it was too tight to wear. Privitera had to have a second dress specially made overseas.
Instead of a dream night, Privitera's wedding in April 2011 felt like a nightmare.
"I was hot and a sweaty mess," she says. "I was so overweight and so uncomfortable. I was miserable. I couldn't stand it."
A few weeks after her wedding, Privitera's new mother-in-law asked her to join her in a 5-kilometer run. It took her an hour and 14 minutes to complete.
"My body was physically hurting; I didn't want to do it anymore," she says. "I hit rock bottom."
After the race, Privitera and her husband, Justin, had an honest conversation. He told her they couldn't afford weight loss surgery or food supplement programs, and she would have to lose weight the old-fashioned way.
She agreed and embarked on a journey to lose more than 200 pounds in just over two years.
Her first step was to get active. Privitera invested in cardio DVDs and started working out at home. She felt too embarrassed to go to a gym and felt that personal training was too expensive.
"The videos showed results that gave me hope, so I gave it a shot," she says.
In the beginning, she was losing 10 to 12 pounds a month. She posted her results on Facebook and the overwhelming response from her friends and family pushed her to continue exercising.
After losing about 65 pounds, Privitera started to modify her eating habits. She started looking up calorie counts for meals before going out to eat in order to make smarter choices at restaurants. She also began to create healthier versions of meals at home using better ingredients.
Privitera was obese her entire life. Her parents divorced when she was 12 years old. Her mother worked two jobs and struggled to make ends meet.
"A lot of our food choices came out of a paper bag -- I lived on fast food," she remembers.
There were days during her high school years when she would eat McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She recalls being able to eat an entire half-gallon of mint chocolate-chip ice cream in one night.
She was a 16-year-old who weighed more than 300 pounds and developed a blood clot in her leg. Even with this serious medical issue, she still made poor nutrition choices and her weight continued to balloon into adulthood.
Now, more than two years into her weight-loss journey, Privitera is incorporating new foods into her diet.
"I've followed meal plans with food like quinoa and asparagus," she says. "Until recently, I had never