How BODi Member Anne Learned to Love Herself, 3 Weeks at a Time

If you met Anne Vilchuck a few years ago, she probably would have introduced herself with a fat joke. For as long as she could remember, she had been overweight — and, fearing that others thought the worst about her, she used humor to beat anyone to the punch.

“I was so embarrassed,” she says.

She tried to lose weight — repeatedly. But she was a quitter. When a weight-loss program didn’t yield the results she desired, she gave up.

“I tried every diet program, and nothing worked for me. I thought I was just destined to be fat forever,” she says. Worse, “I felt I had let my family and myself down.”

Eating for More Than Two

All her life, she avoided taking anything that seemed like a risk, for fear of the potential consequences. Then, after multiple ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, Vilchuck became pregnant. That led her to obsess over anything and everything that might harm her baby.

To cope with her distress, she ate.

“Food was the only thing that would help push my fear of losing my pregnancy down enough that I could manage it,” she says. By the time she gave birth, she’d gained 87 pounds, much more than the 37 to 54 pounds recommended for most women.

As her baby grew, Vilchuck continued to put all her energy toward protecting her son and neglected herself. She needed a change, but felt lost.

“I was tired all the time and never wanted to go out of the house,” she says. “I really hated my life.”

Unhappy Birthday

Vilchuck never took pictures — even with her son and husband — because she felt embarrassed about her appearance. But on her son’s first birthday, Vilchuck asked a friend to take their first family photo.

When she saw the picture, instead of being proud, Vilchuck felt ashamed. She identified with being overweight, but now she was morbidly obese. “I knew I needed to do something,” she says.

Around this time, she joined some online mom groups to find support and people she could relate to. A woman in one group posted with an offer: a $20 Target gift card to anyone who purchased the 21 Day Fix exercise program.

“Who cares about the program, I hadn’t spent twenty bucks on myself in months!” Vilchuck remembers thinking.

She signed up, and when the package arrived, she took the gift card, pushed the box aside, and went off to buy a cute top. But the 3XLs were too tight, while the 4XLs hung to her knees.

Rather than buying anything, “I cried my eyes out,” Vilchuck says.

Three weeks later, a friend visited. Vilchuck bemoaned her size and casually mentioned the workout program she’d bought. “It looks really hard,” she said. Her friend turned on the TV, pressed play, and the two of them started exercising.

“I modified all of the moves, but I didn’t quit. At the end of 30 minutes, I was still alive!” Vilchuck says. After her friend left, she committed to continue 21 Day Fix. “I had to get out of my comfort zone,” she says.

Sticking to the Plan

In addition to the daily workouts, Vilchuck used the program’s Portion Control containers to measure her meals and had Shakeology once a day. She never counted calories and was ecstatic that she didn’t need to eat “diet” food.

After the 21-day program, she’d lost six pounds. So she kept going, repeating the program over and over. After the fourth round, clothes started feeling looser.

“I think my body finally let go of the idea that I was going to live in a fat suit forever,” she says.

But after losing 106 pounds in about eight months, Vilchuck experienced a setback: She had an ectopic pregnancy and had to have her left fallopian tube removed. “I was heartsick,” she says. “I was afraid I would gain all of that weight back.”

But she continued to follow 21 Day Fix and use her Portion Control containers. And she didn’t gain a single pound. “I took a risk by not falling back into my old, comforting habits, and this time, my consequences were not so bad after all,” she says.

The Risks Paid Off

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Vilchuck has since completed 21 Day Fix an impressive 22 times. She also lost 130 pounds in a year and a half and finally developed muscle tone.

“I haven’t owned a sleeveless shirt since I was 10 years old because I have always hated my arms,” she says. “Now I have defined muscles! I even posted my first picture on social media of me flexing.”

But the biggest accomplishment has been the change in her outlook. “I feel amazing!” the former risk avoider says. “Now I am strong and confident. I look in the mirror and say, ‘I can do anything I put my mind to!’”

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