A busy working mom whose weight had gotten so out of control that she could barely bend over to shave her legs opted to have a gastric sleeve which helped her lose a colossal 160 lbs in a year.
However, CEO, Nicole Church insisted she still had to put a lot of work in. The California-based mom-of-two started her weight loss journey at 315 lbs.
The business entrepreneur, 32, can now keep up with her children during their activities and the junk food has been replaced with lean meats and nutritious vegetables, high sugar drinks have been swapped for coffee and water and she exercises five days a week.
Weight loss: Nicole Church, pictured, went from 315 lbs to 155 lbs with the help of a vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery and a lifestyle overhaul
Lifestyle: Running a business and caring for two kids saw Nicole’s weight to balloon, left in 2017, before she embarked on her health journey, pictured right in 2019
Difference: Since having the surgery, ditching junk food and taking up exercise, Nicole, left in September 2018 and right in September 2019, said she is more confident than ever
Family: Nicole pictured with her husband Steven and two children Jaden and Kinsley before her dramatic weight loss
Growing up, Nicole was a cheerleader and was active throughout her teenage years.
But being a busy mom to Jaden, nine, and Kinsley, four, while running her own business, she started to notice that she was gaining weight.
Her hectic lifestyle meant she relied on takeaways, buying ready meals and she didn’t have time to exercise.
By the time she hit 30, Nicole was 315 lbs and a US size 26. Despite always portraying herself as very professional and confident to those around her, she knew there needed to be a shift in her lifestyle that would solidify her confidence mentally.
On the inside, she felt old, struggled to find clothes to fit her and would become exhausted shaving her legs in the shower.
She recalled: ‘When I was 30, my size 22 pants started becoming tight and I remember thinking this can’t be my life. I would sometimes cry as soon as I got out of bed because of how painful it was on my back.
Then v now: Nicole and her husband Steven pictured before the surgery that kick started her 160 lbs weight loss, left, and with her son Jaden recently, right
Stomach: The surgery reduced her stomach to the size of a banana helping her to kick start the 160 lb weight loss and achieve a size 6 figure, right
Pain: The business owner said she would cry in pain lying on her back when her weight ballooned to 315 lbs, pictured
Mobility: Nicole, pictured left and right in 2017, realized she had to make a change when she could no longer shave her own legs or bend over
‘Physically I felt broken down. I had back, knee, and sciatic nerve pain every single day. I had a hard time even shaving my legs in the shower. I was far too young to feel so old.
Nicole met with her doctor and they both decided that to jump start her weight loss journey, a vertical sleeve gastrectomy would be best, reducing her stomach to the size of a banana, and she was booked into surgery in August 2018.
Thanks to surgery, Nicole is now a super-svelte 155 lbs and size 6; and she’s more confident than ever.
Some people may look upon this surgery as a ‘quick-fix’ solution, but Nicole mentions she has met people who thought the operation would do all the work for them but didn’t realize that the body still requires the right food and vitamins for it to be a success.
She said: ‘I had to go to psychological evaluations, I had to log my diet from November 2017 to August 2018 and I truly believe that those months of hard work is what made me so successful in the long run.
Drastic: The mom, pictured left in her early 20s and right aged 32, said she now lives a ‘pain free life’ thanks to her newfound health
Mental health: Nicole, left in 2018 and right in 2019, said she now prioritizes her mental health as well as her physical health
‘I lost 35 lbs during that time and retrained my brain as to what a healthy lifestyle was.
‘My surgery was August 29th, 2018 and within one year I was able to lose over 150 lbs I went from a size 26 to a size 6’, she said.
Educating: The mom-of-two, pictured summer 2019, now enjoys educating her children about how to eat healthily
Her Instagram is bombarded with motivational quotes, healthy meals, her trips with family and inspiring before and after pictures of her fitness journey.
She hopes it will show the fun side of exercising and highlight that dieting doesn’t need to be focused on boring tasteless food.
‘You can lose up to 56 lbs really working hard, but if you want to be successful in the long run it has to be a whole lifestyle change’, she advised.
‘People mistake me putting myself first and taking time for me as selfish when really self-care is probably one of the most important yet lacking things in a woman’s life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
‘With the weight loss came a newfound self-awareness.
I have always been confident but now I take my mental health and growth so serious that sometimes it can make people uncomfortable.
‘I live a pain free life,’ she added.
‘I don’t have to worry about if I’m going to fit on the ride with my kids at the fair, my life is a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.
‘I run for fun and exercise, I enjoy cooking healthy foods and educating my family on what’s nutritional and feeding your body versus abusing it,’ she concluded.