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Missy Santucci

This mother of two decided she needed to get healthier after losing both parents in her 30s. She transformed her body as well as her life in the process.

Missy Santucci

Written by Missy Santucci

Ever since high school I have struggled with my weight. I was always either too heavy or too skinny, depending on the year and what was going on in my life. I hit my heaviest weight — 175 pounds — after having my first child and losing my mother to cancer, both in less than a year. I was miserable, depressed and just didn't care, and I stayed that way for several years. I dropped to 115 pounds after I had my second son, but not in a healthy way. I hardly ate, with the stress of a failing marriage, being a full-time mother of two, and the loss of my father to a heart attack.

After a terrible bout with pneumonia that laid me up for a week and being diagnosed with Meniere's disease (an inner ear condition), I decided I had had enough. I needed to get serious about my health. I lost both of my parents by my early 30s. I don't wish that on anyone, and I definitely did not want to do that to my boys. I had a goal — to be healthy — but I was lost on how to get there. I tried several plans and diets but nothing that kept my interest for long.

I shared my struggles with my good friend and fellow JYM Army member Kevin Williamson, and he suggested I join the gym. At first, I laughed at the idea. I had the stereotypical idea that the gym was for guys or bodybuilders, not girls like me. Plus, I didn't have the first clue about weight lifting! Any time I had spent in a gym was on a treadmill, but I decided to put away all the excuses and give it a try. I joined my local gym, picked a "girlie" plan and began. To my surprise, I liked

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