Jennifer Moats says she spent more than seven years married to the wrong man. “It was a toxic relationship from the beginning,” the 29-year-old from Fort Riley, Kansas, tells Us Weekly. “We never connected, and so we fought constantly.”
To cope with the stress of her loveless marriage, the mom of Elijah, 6, Reid, 4, and Jeremy, 3, did what she had done her whole life: She turned to food for comfort, until she weighed 236 pounds. “I would eat my emotions,” the 5-foot-5 brunette tells Us. “I would think I was constantly hungry, but I was just lonely. My husband would never sit down and have a conversation with me.”
In October 2015, Moats decided she had had enough of her late-night binges. “I didn’t have energy to run with my boys and play sports with them,” she reveals. And Moats, who is studying to be a pharmacy technician, was concerned about her health. “My doctor told me that if I didn’t change the way I was eating I could become diabetic.” So she decided to quit carbohydrates cold turkey.
“The first two weeks were the hardest. My body was in shock!” admits Moats. But swapping Little Debbie Cakes and mint chocolate ice cream for egg whites and vegetables was worth the withdrawal headaches. “Every time I saw the number on the scale going down, it was more motivation that I can do this, that I don’t have to have surgery or be on diet pills,” she says. “I knew my hard work was paying off.”
Indeed, over 11 months, Moats — who eats between 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day and avoids white starchy carbs — has lost an astounding 119 pounds. And in the process, she gained the courage to leave her husband. “Our divorce will be finalized on December 12,” the single parent tells Us.
And though Moats isn’t ready to date yet, she’s fallen hard for the gym — a place she visits five days a week. “When I started I would just go and do the elliptical for about 15 minutes,” she says. “Now I run four miles a day on the treadmill in, like, 37 and a half minutes!
Now 117 pounds, “I have jeans! No more sweatpants!” Moats raves. And she’s found her confidence for the first time. “I feel like a million bucks. Growing up, I never had a boyfriend, never got asked to prom. I was always made fun of because of my size. It’s hard for me to believe I’ve come this far.”
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