In June 2010, at the age of 25, Ashley Donahoo was suffering from depression, polycystic ovarian syndrome, chronic migraines, liver disease, high blood pressure, anemia and she was pre-diabetic. She was on prescription drugs for all these conditions and felt hopeless and helpless. After her doctor's warnings and exasperation, Ashley says she realized that her choices had gotten her to that point and she was the only person who could change the path she was on.
Donahoo, now 27, began her journey in 2010 after enduring a series of medical problems stemming from her 288 lb. weight. She says her husband David worried about her physical and mental health. One day he suggested going for a walk and Ashley wasn't able to get even halfway down the block without pain. That's when she says she realized it was the time for a change.
Through diet, exercise and sheer determination, Ashley has lost more than 130 pounds, she has dropped 11 dress size, and she is off the prescription medications she was on for so long. Her hard work has landed her on the cover of PEOPLE's 11th annual "Half Their Size" issue.
As a wife, mother of two boys, and full-time office worker, Ashley knew the health plan she developed had to be free, easy, healthy and sustainable. This was a plan to save and change her life, which she has done through proper nutrition and exercise, without using meal plans, pills, weight-loss surgeries, or even a gym.
Ashley attributes her success to the free tools and information on livestrong.com , with these important keys: (1) Tracking food intake, (2) Educating herself about nutrition and exercise, (3) Not allowing herself to "give up" when discouraged, (4) Reaching out for emotional support like support groups on livestrong.com , family, and friends, (5) Being willing to try new things with nutrition and exercise.
For more information on Ashley's "Choose the Change" initiative, please visit Facebook.com/AshleyDonahooChooseTheChange . You can read more of Ashley's story at http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20332412_20660533,00.html .
We went up, we went down, and we're going back up... and then back down...
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