This time last year our family was struggling. One of the most difficult things to watch is watching your children struggle. We were "use" to seeing our son Jared with his fair share of life struggles (he is autistic) ....but watching Alyssa struggle with her weight was incredibly heartbreaking. This went on for years. Ignoring the problem became a way of coping, until something reminds you of the harsh facts.... like trying on and buying clothes, that was excruciating....meals and daily life a chore. Getting honest about where Alyssa was, was horrible. In a society that places so much emphasis on weight and beauty, a young teen can get lost. An "I want it now" mentality is also hard to overcome. Jan 10th 2012 was life changing day for Alyssa. I did something out of character for me as well. I bought a scale and made her get on it. I think at that moment she may have hated me. It was a kicking and screaming match but I won and she got on the darn scale. 255. That was the number. How did my baby of 13 years weigh 255? I felt so ashamed. I remember her crying like I had never seen. SHE then decided she would make a change and said "mama please help me". I was all in at that moment. I had no idea what I was doing but I had failed her enough and promised her I would not fail her again. God was good enough to give me common sense to enlist help. I knew someone at school would have to help so I asked God to give me wisdom in choosing people to hold us accountable AND give us guidance. God did some amazing things and sent us many people with all kinds of personalities that He knew we would need like Tim And Cassi Pinter, Nikki Post, Lindsey Geer , Natalie Zierten, Brian Thomas, the Scott family and the entire CLS cross country team, along with countless supportive friends and family. An entire year has passed and I have never been more proud of my daughter. She has gone from obese to a normal BMI, she has lost almost 90 pounds, she lost 33% of her body mass. She is not depressed and when your not depressed you can fill your heart and mind with God's promises. Her future plans are to become a trainer so she can help others who are overweight and obese. The process has been painful and LONG. There were many, many months that no one even noticed she lost weight. I cant even describe how painfully long this process FELT. There were AND ARE still countless hours of running, working out, eating right and going it alone. Ultimately she has had to make the decision to not only start but stick with it. She also decided (well maybe not all her idea) to join cross country at the end of last summer. We learned something about cross country runners.....they are REALLY fast!! The first 4 races she came in dead last. Humbling. Last teaches you that finishing is an accomplishment in itself. It teaches that humility can be a hard pill to swallow. A turning point for me as her mom was when Alyssa's coach said "I don't care where she was.....I care a out where she is going". Wow. Well here is to a new year of challenge and encouragement. I am thankful to all who have encouraged us along the way, for the kind words, for all your Facebook likes and messages and for your continued prayers. So here is to looking ahead without forgetting where we WERE, AND knowing that God's grace is always sufficient no matter how much you weigh.
What do you think of this story?
Select one of the options below. Your feedback will help tell CNN producers what to do with this iReport. If you'd like, you can explain your choice in the comments below.
Be and editor! Choose an option below: