Karen Kelly will be the first to admit that for many years life wasn’t easy. She started suffering from depression at a very young age. To fill the void she was feeling, Kelly would sit around the house and eat potato chips, power bars, and drink diet Pepsi.
”I’ve always carried weight. I can remember my mom taking me to the doctor and I was 11-years-old and 168 pounds and they tried to diet and all that and it didn’t take. It wasn’t only that you didn’t want to see people. I didn’t want to see my reflection, a mirror, a camera. I was in the back of every room.”
After her mom passed away she watched her weight balloon to 356 pounds.
Kelley, the mother of a beautiful son, was suffering from chronic depression that became so overwhelming that she even considered ending her life.
Her entire life changed because of a serious of incredibly events. While driving one night she was nearly killed by a driver who swerved onto the wrong side of the road.
“I can just remember my two hands on the wheel and I did not turn. He pulled and I turned around and I guess it just clicked,” she said. “I didn’t care because I think I felt like I was already dying. I said, ‘That’s it. I got to live.’”
Kelly decided that the best way to motivate herself to get out and exercise would be to adopt a high energy labrador retriever named Mia. The idea was simple, take the dog for long walks.
“The first day I walked 100 feet and I was sweating, my heart was beating so fast, my pulse was racing. I looked at Mia and I said I’m never going to get home. I’m in tears because I’m so out of shape and I’m so tired. She just looked at me and her tail was wagging so we walked home.”
Eventually Mia and Kelly started walking longer distances and after 4 years the weight had lifted — literally 200 pounds.
Kelly now teaches Zumba classes and helps other people along their fitness journey.