A woman who hit breaking point when the scales could no longer read her weight vowed to turn her life around, and in just one year she has shed more than half her body weight.
Noelle Dawson, 38, was a competitive gymnast growing up, which inadvertently instilled a problematic relationship with binge eating. After she saw her weight creep up to 414 lbs, the mom-of-five vowed to gain control of her body again.
The Nashville, Tennessee-based woman has lost a staggering 234 lbs since adapting to the increasingly popular ketogenic diet and working out at her local gym. She recently made the decision to have surgery to target her excess skin….
Transformation: Noelle Dawson, pictured left in December 2017, has lost an incredible 234 lbs after she made lifestyle changes such as incorporating exercise and following a keto diet
Skin: The Nashville-based mom, pictured in April 2019, decided to deal with the excess skin following her 234 lb weight loss by undergoing surgery
Noelle told BarcroftTV that growing up she was a gymnast who sometimes binge ate. The following day, her performance would suffer and she would be ‘punished’ by her strict coaches as a result.
This kick started a vicious cycle of overindulging and a bad relationship with food – which only worsened when Noelle stopped working out.
‘It turned into 15-20 years of me abusing food,’ Noelle said.
When she was 25-years-old, she met her now-husband Chris. At the time, she was 325 lbs.
‘I knew I wanted to become a mother. We struggled quite a bit, we tried for years and still could not become pregnant,’ Noelle recalled.
‘That caused my weight to spiral even more. It just piled on. We had two failed adoption and I hit almost 400 lbs at that point,’ she said.
Difference: Noelle, left in her 20s and right in 2019, has rediscovered her confidence after an impressive 234 lb weight loss
Before: Former gymnast Noelle, pictured in her 20s, said she ‘abused food’ for 15-20 years before she made a change, right
Body confident: Noelle, 38, shows off her stomach post-surgery as she enjoyed a pool day with her family this summer
Now: Noelle, pictured summer 2019, said the feeling of being able to enjoy life to the full with her newfound health is ‘indescribable’
Noelle and Chris adopted four ‘amazing’ kids and became pregnant two years later.
After giving birth, Noelle’s weight became increasingly debilitating.
‘My weight held me back from everything. I struggled walking, I struggled putting my shoes on, I struggled taking my kids anywhere,’ she said.
In it together: Noelle, pictured with her husband Chris, is helping the whole family understand how to eat healthy
When she stepped on the scale and it read ‘Error’, she thought it was broken and proceeded to replace the batteries.
After it still wouldn’t work, she realized that the maximum weight for the scales was 408 lbs, forcing her to buy a new scale.
‘I weighed in at 414 lbs. I was devastated, my heart sank. I knew if I didn’t make a change in that moment, there would be no Noelle.’
‘Before I started my journey, I remember waking up every morning thinking when’s that day I’m not going to wake up due to how heavy I was,’ she added.
First up, she reassessed her nutrition and adapted to the ketogenic diet (very low carb, high fat).
Before she made the dietary changes, Noelle and her family had been dining out three or four times a week, but now her five kids and Chris are all enjoying the benefits of eating healthy too.
Noelle has been sharing her journey on Instagram, where she has amassed 108,000 followers who take inspiration from her simple, healthy meals and workouts.
‘Once I got to 200 lbs weight loss, I realized it was time to start working out,’ Noelle said.
Motivation: Noelle hits the gym four-five times a week to keep on track with her journey
Mobile: To go from ‘immobile to mobile’ has been incredible, Noelle said
Holding her back: Noelle, pictured earlier this year, said her excess skin was beginning to get in the way at the gym
Back in the gym, she remembered how much she had loved being physically active in her youth.
‘I had all of this energy. Becoming that active after years of sitting on the couch was… oh my gosh! The high that I got from being at the gym was incredible. I went from being immobile to very mobile.’
She now works out four to five times a week and has even rediscovered some of her gymnastic skills.
Her personal trainer, Caleb Cole, commended her.
‘She’s just very determined, she’s always in here. Every time I see her, she’s a little bit more determined, she has more of a purpose, she’s on a mission,’ he said.
While Noelle now describes herself as ‘body confident’, the excess skin was beginning to hold her back.
‘I am very proud of myself. I’m very body positive but of course I have insecurities with the skin. I just want to not have to tuck it in. When I’m working out, the skin slides right out,’ she said tearfully.
Family: The best part of her newfound health is that Noelle can ‘enjoy life’ with her family, pictured
Confident: The ‘transformed’ mom-of-five hits the local pool with Chris and their kids after Noelle’s surgeries
Noelle opted to have a tummy tuck and arm lift to target the sagging skin. She also had a breast reduction and lift to ‘put things back where they should be’.
Now five months post-surgery, she said the procedure has been ‘life changing’.
‘I’m able to see the true results now the skin has been removed,’ she said.
‘Being able to do all the things I couldn’t is an indescribable feeling. I’m able to live my life with my children and watch them grow up while being in on the action, that’s the best part of the journey.’
‘It continues to inspire me and motivate me to stay on the right track. I’ve learned so much about myself, my relationship with food; that I am worthy and I am enough. It feels so good to feel free from these chains that held me back from being happy.’
Her adoring husband Chris said, ‘My wife’s transformation, her outward appearance is amazing, you can see the results she’s worked for.
‘The biggest thing for me is her mental transformation, it’s like a new light has been turned on it’s even brighter and she shines.’