A woman in Pleasantville, Lunenburg County, who lost 181 pounds (about 82 kilograms) in 15 months, was waiting to hear last week whether she was the winner of a substantial cash prize from an American-based health and fitness organization.
Brittany Hirtle, a casual school administration assistant who trimmed down from 329 pounds (149 kilograms) to 147 pounds (67 kilograms), was named a finalist in the Beachbody Challenge. As such, she'll receive a minimum prize of $15,000 honouring her fitness journey and was in the running to take home the grand prize of $100,000.
The North American fitness and health transformation competition organized by Beachbody On Demand of California aims to inspire people to achieve their fitness and wellness goals. An online vote was scheduled for June 8 to June 15.
"It was hard, but I had it set in my head that I was doing this, no matter what," Hirtle told LighthouseNOW about achieving her weight loss.
The turning point for the mother of two was in January, 2018, when at 300 pounds-plus, and 27 years of age, she stood up and spoke at a public event in Oakhill promoting essential oils. Later that evening, Hirtle, who stands at just over 5 ft. 6 in., saw that someone had posted her talk on Facebook.
Hirtle says she had been hiding from cameras for years. Seeing the image of herself on social media left her "devastated. Because I didn't feel like the woman in the picture; I didn't feel like that's who I was."
In her youth, Hirtle competed on trampolines at the national level and was actively involved in gymnastics. "I was always an athlete; I always had kind of a physical background."
The next day she decided she needed to do something. "Or I'm not going to make it until I'm 30. I have two small kids. I basically had to figure it out and get it done."
It wasn't unusual for Hirtle to eat four cheese-filled wraps at a time, and take-out pizzas and taco meals at least twice a week. She promptly began switching out what she was eating for "healthier options." She prepared salads, ate more vegetables and drank a lot of water.
She also started daily walks around her subdivision, which proved more challenging than curbing her food craving. "I carried around a lot of extra weight. And my joints hurt, my back hurt, and I got winded really easily so even just walking to my kitchen was hard."
She lost 15 pounds within a matter of a few weeks. Hirtle then decided she needed help and accountability to achieve more weight loss. She settled on Beachbody, because with nutrition plans, workout programs, and coaching support, "they have it all," she decided.
Hirtle first tapped into a 21-day, 30 minutes-a day workout program. "I thought, I can do that. That's not that long. That's only three weeks."
However, she was reduced to tears the first week. "Doing a push-up at over 300 pounds was awful. It was brutal. I did one leg day and I couldn't walk for three days. It was so hard. But I knew if I pushed through it would be easier." She continued to progress through different Beachbody programs and the pounds peeled away.
While her husband had always told her he loved her for who she was, and she had made different attempts to lose weight for different reasons, Hirtle says what drove her the most this time "was I was doing it for me. I didn't want to feel like crap anymore. I wanted to buy the pretty clothes that you see everyone buying. I wanted to run with my kids. So I pushed myself to keep going."
It got easier as time went on. "Once I changed my old habits to new habits, it was almost like breathing," says Hirtle. The healthy lifestyle became her daily routine.
Before her weight loss, Hirtle suffered from anxiety, negativity, exhaustion, and a lack of motivation. "Now I have so much energy I can run laps. When we go to the beach, I can just jog down Rissers."
After seeing her weightloss success, her husband launched into one of his own, and quickly shed 40 pounds.
For Hirtle, much of the satisfaction she feels about the weight loss is the impact the lifestyle change may have on her nine-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son.
"Through this whole process for me, one of the things that was really important to me was instilling these healthy habits in my kids now ... Hopefully that's something that will last a lifetime for them," says Hirtle.