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(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) For 24-year-old Ashley Smith, of St. Joseph, losing weight was a matter of life or death.
"My doctor actually told me I need to lose weight otherwise that I would die and also I was pre-diabetic, it really shocked me so I was scared to death," Smith said.
According to Smith, that's when it clicked and she knew it was up to her to make a healthier lifestyle change.
Smith began her weight loss journey three years ago and went from 350 lbs to 170 lbs.
"At first I did baby steps by taking away regular pop then went to diet pop then drank water completely. I started eating healthier, I'd only consume 2,000 calories a day plus exercise then I'd go down to 1,500 calories," Smith said.
She was motivated by the positive results and over time gradually increased her cardio workouts, incorporated weight training and continued to change her diet to remain healthy.
"I normally do an hour of cardio so I'll do at least 15 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the stair master and then I normally do an hour and a half of weights so four of five sets depending on how good I want to get my work out," Smith said.
Smith remained determined and over the next few years with the support of her family, fiancee and weekly visits to St. Joseph's Planet Fitness, she lost a total of 180 lbs.
"I've been with her since day one, she was in here 3 times a day and it's an inspiration really to see her come in, she has inspired me personally. She's such a great person and she's outgoing and works really hard," Brichele Kinney, St. Joseph Planet Fitness manager said.
Smith says even though she's lost 180 lbs-she's still the same outgoing person but healthier and happier.
"I really wanted to do it and if you have the determination you can because I did it all natural, no surgery or anything else. I always tell all my friends if I can do it, you guys can do it," Smith said.
Smith added that it's her goal to eventually weigh 150 lbs.