'Life wasn't over'

Published 7:11 AM ET, Mon January 20, 2014
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After giving birth to her daughter in 2008, Heather Kern's life changed. She found out she had congenital heart disease and starting gaining weight because of her medications, overeating and inactivity. Courtesy Heather Kern
While she was pregnant, Kern put on 40 pounds. After receiving her diagnosis, her weight climbed to more than 260 pounds in a matter of four years. Courtesy Heather Kern
Her heart disease made working out nearly impossible, so she started counting calories. She limited her caloric intake to 1,200 calories a day for a few months, losing 20 pounds. Courtesy Heather Kern
From 2011 until 2013, Kern watched what she ate. "I didn't adhere to any fad diets. I tried to go for a really balanced diet with protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. I learned the healthier you eat, the more you can eat," she says. Courtesy Heather Kern
Kern poses with her brother at Christmas time in 2012, on the left, and 2013, on the right. Courtesy Heather Kern
It took Kern two years to lose 125 pounds. Now she weighs 135 pounds and is able to do light exercises at the gym. "When I was first diagnosed, I had this tiny baby. The thought in my head was I was never going to see her grow up, and that pushed me," she says. Courtesy Heather Kern