Columbia County resident Heather Fearneyhough appears in the current issue of People magazine for being half the woman she used to be.
One of five weight-loss success stories featured in an article about people who have lost 100 pounds or more, Fearneyhough shed 136 pounds following the birth of her second child. She said at her heaviest, she was in a size 20.
“And it was tight,” she said.
She was inspired, she said, by a book, the Eat-Clean Diet, she found in her grandmother’s house. The book, which touts replacement rather than abstinence, was exactly the kind of back-to-basics plan Fearneyhough said she needed.
“I wanted to do something I knew would last,” she said. “People use pills or try these fad diets and they just gain it all back. They gain more. I was lucky, though, because the kids were young. It made the nutrition part easy.”
More difficult, she said, was learning to exercise. Initially, she limited herself to 10-minute walks around her neighborhood.
“That, really, was all I could do,” she said.
Later, she graduated to more ambitious programs, going as far as completing the P90X workout program twice.
Fearneyhough’s sons Landon and Caleb are ages 3 and 5, respectively. She said that while they are too young to understand the transformation their mother has gone through, they have started picking up some of her healthy habits.
“It’s funny, because when I work out, they will be right there,” she said with a laugh. “We’re all doing push-ups.”
The relics that remain of Fearneyhough’s heavier self are limited to a few snapshots. She said everything else, all the clothes, were discarded. She doesn’t need to be reminded, she said, of the person she used to be.
“I got rid of everything,” she said. “There was no reason for me to hold on to any of that.”
While Fearneyhough considers the day she managed to slip into a pair of size 2 jeans she had worn in high school a high point, she said success, for her, was being able to accomplish a much more mundane task.
“I remember having a bag of groceries in one arm and a toddler in the other and realizing that was something I could do now,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes. “That hadn’t been possible before.
“It made me feel like supermom.”