Children can often say strange and even uncomfortable things without even realizing it. Most of the time, these comments are easy to brush off – but for one woman, an offhand insult from the mouth of a child motivated her to lose more than 80 pounds in under a year.
At her heaviest, Peggy Pullen, 48, weighed more than 200 pounds. Several years ago, the Lehi, Utah mom and her four children visited a public pool. It was there that a child unknowingly referred to Pullen as a ‘hippopotamus’.
This inadvertent insult sent Pullen spiraling. After returning home from the pool, Pullen says she hid in her room and cried – she was too devastated to even speak to her family.
‘I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to come out of the room or anything. I was in a really bad place,’ she told Today.
Yet, from this low point rose a newfound sense of resolution: ‘I needed to do something about [my weight]. I knew I had to make a choice that my children could learn from.’
Pullen certainly did not waste any time in changing her ways and putting herself on the track to fitness. The very next day, she signed up for a 12-week program through BodyBuilding.com.
In addition to finding a regimen she could stick to, Pullen found the community of support she needed to follow through on her decision to get fit.
Pullen told Today that the hardest part of the program was posting her ‘before’ picture to the online community. She says the second she uploaded the picture to BodyBuilding.com, she had a ‘nervous breakdown.’
Fortunately, others in the community helped uplift and inspire Pullen to continue on her weight-loss journey.
Unfortunately, people in the ‘real world’ did not prove to be as understanding. She told Today that while eating healthy was a challenge, the culture at the gym proved to be a greater obstacle.
Pullen sites the toxic and exclusive mentality that often dominates gyms: ‘They laugh at you, and they don’t like an old, fat lady in their space, so they bully you.’
Despite this, Pullen powered through and committed to a bodybuilding routine.
A combination of strength training and clean eating yielded real results: Pullen slimmed down to 120 pounds in just 10 months.
As many know, keeping the weight off can prove even more of a challenge than losing it – yet Pullen has maintained her trim physique for more than a year and a half.
She attributes this continued success to routine physical exercise, moderation in her diet, and healthy support group.
Though diet and exercise changed her external appearance, Pullen tells BodyBuilding.com that real change comes from the inside: