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Emily Fruhling's weight-loss story may sound familiar: She gained weight, she lost weight, then she gained weight again. It's a cycle so many of us can relate to, but today, the 30-year-old seems to have found a healthy balance.
“I have been overweight several times,” the Steele, Missouri, resident told TODAY. After a pregnancy, an unhappy marriage, divorce and depression, Fruhling was at her heaviest: 245 pounds at 5 feet 4 inches tall.
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Unhappy with he she looked, she lost almost 100 pounds by joining Weight Watchers and kickboxing, but her strict routine was hard to maintain when she became a new mom and started college.
“I sat all day at work and all night with my homework,” she explained. “I got into really bad habits. It was quick and easy to get fast food.”
At that point, she gained 80 pounds back and weighed about 225 pounds. After giving birth to her daughter in 2016, she lost some weight and stayed at 209 pounds, but she was still unhealthy and knew it was time for a change.
Fruhling started small, relying on some of the tips she remembered from Weight Watchers. She cut out fried foods and most red meat. She swapped white carbs for whole grains and added vegetables and fruits to her diet. Her past experiences also helped guide a new philosophy about her body.
“The last time I lost the weight, I was so head strong on being so disciplined,” she said. “I didn’t allow myself to really enjoy food. This time, I am trying to find some middle ground.”
As part of that compromise, Fruhling is trying to be kind to herself.
“I used to be really hard on myself,” she said. “But now I am saying, ‘But you did really good today. It is OK to reward yourself.’”
Fruhling also started working out more. She walks every morning, lifts weights four times a week and does ab challenges with some friends online.
“That helps me stay accountable just like group classes might,” she said.
Since February, Fruhling has lost 20 pounds, going from 209 pounds to 189 pounds, and hopes to eventually weigh between 140 to 160 pounds. She shared her experience with TODAY's private Facebook group, Start TODAY, highlighting how tough it is to lose and gain weight over and over again.
“I started thinking about how hard I am on my body. It has carried around 245 pounds, lost it ... Built a baby and then carried around 220 pounds, lost it, got fit, built another baby, carried 220 pounds again, lost 29. So what if it doesn't look exactly like I want it?” she shared on Facebook. “It gave me hope that eventually it’ll be back (in) shape, but also made me realize my flaws tell a beautiful story.”
Fruhling shared tips that help as she transforms her health:
1. ‘Just keep trying.’
Fruhling knows how easy it is to give up when she skips a workout or eats junk food. But she doesn’t let one mistake derail her.
“Just keep trying,” she said. “If you have a setback, that is just one bad decision. If you start with another good decision, that leads to another good decision.”
3. Remember what your body can do.
When Fruhling feels discouraged, she remembers all the amazing things her body has done for her.
“We are just so hard on our bodies, but really they sustain us; they are the reason we are alive,” she said. “My body produced my children.”
3. ‘Have fun with it.’
When she lost weight before, Fruhling would quickly become bored with her diet. This time, she looks for new recipes so she doesn’t turn to greasy, unhealthy foods.
“If I start to see I am getting bored or getting astray from it, I try to have fun with it,” she said. “I like finding trends.”