It’s been almost a year since Debi Paullin decided to change her life.
The 42-year-old Stephenville resident has lost more than 60 pounds since making a New Year’s resolution last year to trim down and get fit - and the results are amazing.
After years of diet fads and watching her weight rise and fall, Paullin decided she would give the old-fashion way a shot - by simply dieting and exercising.
“I was at a job interview in December of last year and the lady interviewing me asked what I hoped to be doing in five years,” Paullin said. “And I told her I want to be somewhere inspiring people.”
Paullin said she left that interview and drove straight to the Body Shop Fitness Center, owned by Joseph and Mandi Stokes.
“I always wanted to get fit and get into bodybuilding, so I told that to Joseph and Mandi and they kind of looked at me funny,” Paullin said laughing.
But this was no joke.
The then 220-pound woman standing inside the gym that blustery winter day was determined to set her life on a new path. She was done feeling sick and lethargic - and she wanted to look better.
On Jan. 3, Paullin made a commitment to herself and took a photo holding a copy of the Empire-Tribune.
It was the day her transformation would begin.
Paullin is borderline diabetic and four years ago was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“All of a sudden I became paralyzed,” she said, describing the onset of her disease. “My face went numb and I couldn’t walk, wash dishes or pick up a fork.”
She began taking medication for the MS at a cost of $90,000 per year. She hoped that changing her lifestyle would reduce the amount of medication she had to take.
So she began researching weight training programs and sought the advice of a nutritionist.
“I do a little bit of cardio and power walk but I have lost most of the weight by weight lifting and nutrition,” she said.
The hardest thing she had to do was learn to eat more healthy fats and proteins.
“I eat six times a day,” she said. “People would be shocked at how much I eat.”
She also drinks about a gallon of water a day and stays away from alcohol.
“I also try to keep my sugar below 25 grams a day,” she said.
Paullin wants to inspire others to get healthy and understands the struggles associated with losing weight.
“I have lost tons of weight over the years, then gained it all back plus some,” she said. “I finally had to stop quitting on myself.”
Paullin said at her heaviest she weighed close to 300 pounds.
Today, at 5’ 6” tall, Paulin weighs 160 pounds and has gone from a size 14 to a 6.
And those medications? Gone.
“I feel good all the time,” she said. “I can’t believe I finally did it and I think about all those times I quit on myself. I meet people all the time who want to get healthy, but they sit on the couch and eat ice cream and chips. It makes me sad. I want them to know they can change their life just like I did.”