SOUTH BEND -

A South Bend woman is hoping to inspire others with her story of weight loss thanks to at national publication.

Tracy Meuschke has lost half her body weight over the last 6 years and this week appeared in People Magazine.

SEE HER TRANSFORMATION HERE

"I just felt hopeless. I really thought I was bound to be overweight my whole life," Meuschke says. 

Meuschke had struggled with her weight since childhood. At her heaviest she weighed 373 pounds. She was 27 years old.

"I don't know what it was, I just had no portion control, and I just ate junk food a lot," says Meuschke.

Six years ago, after watching another woman's weight loss story on TV, she decided to change her lifestyle. She started a little at a time.

"When I first started I didn't even count calories or anything. And I didn't change my eating. I changed my portions. So I still ate at Taco Bell, I just ate less of it. And I started rapidly losing weight," says Meuschke.

She also slowly started exercising, "I actually started walking around our block which is a half mile. And I could hardly walk that half mile," says Meuschke.

Overtime, Meuschke says, she picked up the pace. She started counting calories and exercising more. The pounds continued to come off. 

Now, the woman who used to wear a size 32 pants, wears a size 8. Meuschke runs races, is an active mom and is half her size.

And Meuschke says while the scale doesn't define her it feels good to be healthy. She encourages others who struggle with the same issues, to just believe they can do it.

"They are valuable at any size. Their worth isn't defined by the scale. I'm not any better. I'm the same person. I have changed but I am still -- my worth isn't any different now than it was then its just I finally found it," says Meuschke.


Here are Meuschke's top tips in her own words:

*Journal/blog! Get all of your feelings out there on paper and PRAYING!

*Measure your progress with more than just the scale. Take pictures, measure yourself, pick out some goal clothes, how you feel in your workouts. One week you might not be able to do a routine or workout and maybe 6 months, a month or even just a couple weeks later might be able to. That's progress whether the scale shows it or not!

*Write everything down that you eat. Whether you are tracking calories or not it just makes you more aware of what you are putting in your body and you can see exactly how much or how little you are consuming.

*PORTION CONTROL!!! I always say everything in moderation. Nothing is off limits just limited amounts. I feel like if I am on a "I can't have that" diet then I'm going to want it that much more.

*Feeling like it can't be done, PRAY and check out some success stories to spark your motivation and belief in yourself again!

*Move more! Find something you like to do that requires you to get up and get moving and DO IT!