By Kelly Dickey
The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
Stories of gradual weight loss. Stories of struggle. Stories of triumph.
That’s what Stephanie Belesky wants to hear.
Not the stories of rapid weight loss that often get attention. She wants to know about the people who slowly dropped the pounds. The people who didn’t see results quickly, but got healthier over a long stretch of time.
She’s been on both sides. When she started her own weight loss journey three years ago, the pounds melted off — about 80 in the first year. But since then, it’s been slower, and she gradually lost between 110 and 115 pounds.
She rarely hears tales of people who steadily lost weight, but now she gets to tell hers.
The 27-year-old Anderson resident is one of the American Heart Association’s 10 “Real Women. Real Change” campaign finalists.
Although she didn’t win one of the top three spots, as a finalist she’ll represent the American Heart Association to tell her story and encourage Hoosiers to take charge of their own health.
“I think it’s easier to be encouraging to other people when you’ve seen and you’ve experienced the results yourself, be that in health and fitness, weight loss or just anything,” she said. “When you’re not so bogged down with feeling blue and feeling pity for yourself because of what you look like and feel, it’s a lot easier to reach and pull other people out of whatever rut they’re in.”
Stephanie’s journey has been a family affair. Most of her family has struggled with weight throughout the years, and all of them have tweaked their lifestyles.
Stephanie’s parents, Ken and Teresa, have undergone their own transformations.
Ken lost 85 pounds after Weight Watchers came to his work several years ago. Teresa lost 100 pounds and won the White River Club’s Next Biggest Loser competition last year.