Janesville woman goes from 427 pounds to triathlete - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Janesville woman goes from 427 pounds to triathlete

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VERONA (WKOW) -- A local woman thought she would eventually die because she was so overweight. At more than 425 pounds, Aimee Smith called her life "a slow suicide."

But now, just two years after she decided to save her own life, she competes in triathlons.

Aimee talked with 27 News about her life when she was more than 400 pounds. "My knees hurt, my back hurt. I had high blood pressure. I was pre-diabetic. I was going down a bad path."

Aimee knew she was big, but since her scale only went to 300 pounds, she didn't know how big. She finally weighed her self one day and was shocked when it said 427 pounds. "I cried. I had no idea I had gotten that heavy."

But Aimee stayed that way for years. When she had her second daughter, the C-section went terribly wrong because of her weight. Aimee says, "Everything hinged on my weight. Depression, my knees, I couldn't move and I figured I would be the 600 pound bedridden mom." When asked if that's where she thought her life was going, Aimee replied, "Absolutely."

It was then Aimee decided to save herself. She had gastric bypass surgery, then enrolled at the local YMCA. "The first class I just stood and did movements. I couldn't sit down for three days."

Then she signed up for a "Couch to 5K" program and took it twice. She learned to run and realized she wanted to learn to swim. But she had never done that before. The first class, she couldn't even put her face in the water.

Just a year later, she runs, bikes and swims. Aimee's completed two triathlons and two half marathons. Eventually she wants to do an Ironman. "There's a group of us out there who have had wait loss surgery who are athletes now."

Aimee says it was only within the last month she was able to call herself an "athlete." Her coach at SBR Coaching in Verona has called her that for a long time. Kitty Cole says, "I've never worked with anybody quite like Aimee. She started her journey by losing the weight and not knowing quite what to do only that she thought she was going to die and she needed to do something."

Aimee says, "If you can walk one step today but that's all you can do, then try it twice. It's just working with what you've got today"

Aimee does say if she had to do it all over again, she would not have the gastric bypass surgery because now, being an athlete, it's hard for her to get all the nutrients she needs. She says a big part of her weight loss was learning how to eat healthy foods in the right amounts and she's teaching her daughters to do that now.

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