The Hope to Inspire Others

Life is a journey, and if you set your heart to something… you can change everything around. I love reading people’s inspiring stories. Jo’s is one of them. She shared her incredible transformation story from obestiy, to becoming a runner. Have a read.

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to share my story. I’ll be as brief as possible. I’ll allow you to edit it as necessary or rephrase things as you see fit. I’ll just give you the details.

In short, I’m a 39 year old housewife and mom. I’ve always suffered with obesity and obesity related issues. My weight really ballooned as a teen when I was placed on birth control for heavy menstrual cycles. I gained 50 pounds. From there it was pretty much down hill because I was always stuck in a chair at school or at home doing homework. I was always so tired by nights end I’d pretty much shove anything down my throat that I could fit in it and I’d fall off into bed.


Fast forward into married life… I married in 2001 and gave birth to my first child in 2002. That didn’t help the weight issue any. I knew I wanted a big family because I never really had what I’d consider family. I knew I wanted my children close in age. So I went on to have four living children, one miscarriage, and one stillbirth, for a total of six children altogether. Between the pregnancies and the losses my weight ballooned even more. By the time it was over and done with I weighed almost three hundred pounds. I was suffering with sleep apnea, problems with my rheumatoid, I developed atrial fibrillation as well as other arrhythmias. I’d completely let myself go.

What changed the course of my life was losing my friend Stephanie and her 16 year old daughter in a car wreck. When I went to their funeral, both were of such tiny frame that they placed them together into one side “double wide” casket. The size of that casket struck a cord in me. I knew when I died that I’d be buried in one of those. I used to imagine my kids standing over my grave and saying “mom’s grave starts here” and tracing my grave with their foot and saying “to right here.” I imagined how large that space would be. How embarrassing. I decided right then and there that I didn’t want to die from this heart disease, suffering with rheumatoid and pain while waiting for it. I didn’t want to be in a double wide casket. Heck, I didn’t want to die at all. So I made changes.

I started out with walking on my treadmill and tweaking my diet to weed out all the bad stuff like cokes, candies, white carbs, etc. I started eating a more anti-inflammatory diet. I found out what some of my trigger foods were and got rid of those. Lord knows I didn’t need help with having flare ups. Making those adjustments I saw almost ten pounds come off in the first week. I continued eating better and walking. I eventually became a long distance walker. The pounds have come off like butter sliding off of a hot knife. I started including running last year. In fact, I ran my first 5K last year in November.


I’ve added strength training to tone up some of this loose flesh. I’ll be joining a gym within the next couple of weeks to work with a trainer on how to build strength in the areas most affected by my rheumatoid.

With all of the changes I’ve made, a low dose chemotherapy, I’m now in remission and plan to take full advantage of it. My heart is now doing loads better. Although I still deal with episodes of AFIB (an abnormal heart rhythm) I take an anti arrhythmic and it controls it well enough for me to remain active and running. I now run up to 8 miles a day and do strength training two to three times a week. I now weight 139 pounds and have about 12 to a max of 20 more that I’d like to lose. I’m looking forward to maintenance phase of things. I look better, feel better than I ever have and I wear clothes in sizes I’ve not warn since Jr.High school. My smallest pair of jeans is a 13. My smallest workout capris are a 12/14. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I’m doing and I feel like I’ve been given a second lease on life.


That is pretty much my story in a nutshell. I would be glad to discuss it more should you or anyone else like to chat more about it. I hope to inspire others. I want them to know that I’ve been down in body, down in spirit, I’ve been where most of them are in terms of having been morbidly obese and so sick and tired of just being sick and tired. I want them to know that if a heart patient with rheumatoid arthritis and four children can turn their life around, they can, too. You have to want it and you have to go for it. It’s as simple as that. Eat better, move more. That’s my motto.

Jo (Courtney) Williams


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