It’s one of American’s most common goals – to lose weight. Gyms are packed at the start of each year with people trying to get in shape.
Anyone who’s tried knows it can be a frustrating, tough and tedious task. It’s often an uphill battle.
One Tampa woman’s story is so remarkable and inspiring that she’ll be featured on the “Today Show” with Hoda and Kathie Lee from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, May 18th during the popular segment, “The Joy Fit Club.”
Lora Crider, a longtime University of South Florida employee, has been with the university for more than 25 years and loves her work in the dean’s office.
Crider has lost the equivalent of an entire person. That’s right, 135 pounds is now gone from her body. She slimmed down from a size 20W to a size 2. Crider can actually fit her entire body into one leg of a pair of pants she used to wear.
It’s clear when you meet this ebullient woman with the bright smile and boundless energy that she’s thrilled to tell her story.
“I’m not ashamed. I’m not hiding. And for so many years I did hide and I was ashamed. Now I don’t have to be,” Crider told News Channel 8.
She’s a new person with a new life, but if you ask Crider how she felt while she was overweight, she has one word describe it – invisible.
“This is one of the things I’ve noticed recently. I can walk down the street now, and men of any age will smile or speak. Back then, they wouldn’t even look at you. You were invisible,” she shared.
At her heaviest, Crider tipped the scale at nearly 300 pounds. She felt miserable. She would go home at night and eat an entire pizza or a whole box of fried chicken.
Her turning point came when she couldn’t even make it up the stairs in her two-story condo without gasping for breath. Her cardiologist told her that she needed help. That night Crider made a decision that changed her life. She joined Weight Watchers online. She’ll never forget her very first food goal.
“My first change was to eat a whole piece of fruit, one a day. That was my first challenge to myself,” Crider said.
It took Crider just over two years to lose 135 pounds. She said Weight Watchers and moderate exercise made the weight loss possible. She began taking 10-minute walks a day. Now, she is up to nearly 2 miles per day. She has more energy and is much happier.
Crider told News Channel 8 it has not been easy.
She has suffered from low self-esteem her entire life. She went through deep depression and was abused by a former spouse. But in the end, she picked herself up and kept going. Sometimes, Crider admits, she still sees herself as an overweight woman when she looks in the mirror. But, she has support from friends and family that motivates her. Ultimately, Crider is thrilled with the results when she puts on her clothes each morning.
Crider still enjoys pizza – just one slice of the time. Instead of eating three large pieces of chocolate cake, she will enjoy just half a slice.
She hopes her story will motivate others.
“Everyone asks if I’m excited, and I think it will probably hit me when I get on the plane. Actually, it will hit me when I see the guy the airport with a sign that has my name on it,” Crider said about her “Today Show” appearance.
She has one message for those trying to lose weight: Don’t give up. Crider said many times people have one bad meal or one bad day where they overeat and they give up, which is the worst thing a person can do. “If you’re addicted to food or an emotional eater, you can overcome those things. It just takes some perseverance on your end,” she said.
You won’t believe what Crider’s going to wear on the “Today Show.” Tune in Monday to News Channel 8 to find out.
Crider hopes to get a picture of Hoda and Kathie Lee making the USF Bulls signature hand gesture.
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