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Local high school teacher loses more than 250 lbs

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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PONCE DE LEON, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A Holmes County school teacher struggling with obesity turned her life around after her weight started spiking health concerns. A woman once weighing nearly 500 lbs is now half the size, twice as happy, and looking to inspire others.

More than four years and 250 pounds later, Ponce De Leon High School Teacher Donna Hicks said her life will never be the same, in the best way possible.

Being overweight made even the simplest things difficult.

“Being able to walk and stand for extended periods of time, you just gave out. Going shopping, buy groceries, or just doing things you know at school or at work, it limited you,” Hicks said.

After suffering from a spinal cord injury possibly caused by her obesity, Hicks knew things had to change.

“I was paralyzed for six weeks. And during that time, my husband and my children had to take care of me. Basically, getting me from point A to point B, bathing me, doing the cooking and the cleaning. And then I realized, I don’t want this for the rest of my life,” she said.

She starting switching processed snacks for whole foods and practicing intermittent fasting. Whenever someone asks her for advice, she tells them to keep their meals simple. But Hicks said mindset plays a big role in what you’re able to accomplish. If you don’t believe in yourself, then nobody else will. And that’s not always easy to do.

“Sometimes there were months where I thought, oh I’m tired of this. And then I would remind myself and I would look at pictures from you know the past couple of years and say you know this is why I’m doing this,” she said.

Hicks said she couldn’t have done it without her husband, Tommy Hicks.

“They always say, you know, two heads are better than one and I think that’s what worked best for us,” she said.

She wasn’t the only one on a health journey. Her husband lost more than 100 pounds.

“I’m diabetic so I have been trying to do low-carb for a long time. And it’s been a lot easier since she’s doing low-carb with me to help keep me accountable and for us to both achieve what we wanted to achieve,” Tommy said.

Hicks said the most rewarding part about her weight loss is her newfound confidence. Now, she hopes to inspire others to go after their own goals.

Her journey isn’t over yet. She still has multiple skin removal surgeries ahead and another 20 pounds to go until she reaches her goal.

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