It was a perfect Kodak moment.
Beautiful outdoor summer wedding. Charming lake. Everybody all gussied up.
So Hayley Martin, who works in Southpointe, asked someone to snap a photo of her and daughter Bella.
But Martin—who admittedly shares everything on Facebook—couldn’t bring herself to post that picture.
“I was horrified by the photo,” she said.
She just looked too big.
But even that experience didn’t ultimately sway her to get into a weight-loss routine.
It was actually a conversation with Bella in the car a short time later that did that.
Martin asked the 4-year-old what she wanted to be when she grew up.
The answer made her cry—but changed her life.
“I want to be just like you—but I don’t want to be fat like you,” Bella told her mother.
“I honest to God cried all the way to work,” she said.
But that was the breaking point—the point where she said she stopped making excuses and started getting fit.
“It took that to slap me in the face,” she said.
That was late July—and she was 316 pounds at her worst weight.
While she tried Weight Watchers, Martin said she the point system just wasn’t for her.
By August she did find what worked for her: A contest run by a Canonsburg business owner who had embarked on her own weight-loss journey.
Run by the owner of Studio M, the six-month challenge tasked women with a weight-loss goal to be met through clean eating and exercise.
To the winner went a photo shoot.
“I said, ‘A picture started this, I know this is my answer,’” Martin said. “It wasn’t cut throat and it wasn’t just about the weight.”
The contest started with 25 ladies of all shapes and sizes—although only 11 made it through the challenge.
“These girls were so inspiring,” she said.
The women would meet each month, talk about their successes and failures and weigh in to track their progress.
Their progress was also tracked by photos taken by Studio M along the way.
Although Martin said wearing a sports bra and workout pants in the photos was awkward at first, but looking back it helped her track her progress in a visible way.
She and her family started eating “clean”—a cuisine she said is composed of fresh, non-processed ingredients.
Her progress continued at the Cameron Wellness Center, where she used the pool, met with a personal trainer and a nutritionist and participated in many of the 96 weekly class offerings.
She said the nutritionist was uber helpful—helping her understand the pitfalls in her diet plan, as well as helping her identify small goals to help her overall health plan.
For Martin, it took meeting with the nutritionist to make one of her biggest breakthroughs: She started looking at labels and ingredients instead of just focusing on calories.
“The weight came off so much faster,” she said. “It made a world of difference.”
She even started a blog and Facebook page titled “Transforming Flab to Fab.”
After the six months, Martin came in third in the contest—and lost 30 pounds in the process (60 pounds so far!). By June she should be down 100 pounds.
And that’s when she is going to cash in the photographer credits that she won from Studio M.
Martin said she is finally going to get that photo with Bella—finally have that Kodak moment she missed at the wedding.
She was a size 26 back then. Now she fits a size 14.
As for Bella?
“She tells people, ‘My mom isn’t fat anymore,” Martin said.
And she couldn’t be prouder.
Martin is now going to share her weight-loss journey with fellow Canon-McMillan Patch readers, writing about everything from workouts to clean eating to tips for healthy living—all from her personal experiences.