Jenny Hodges: Obese mom-of-three on how her children inspired her to lose over half her body weight

'I couldn't even bathe my kids': Obese mom-of-three on how her children inspired her to lose over half her body weight

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UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 1 October 2012

A mother who struggled to take care of her own children because of her heavy body weight has lost 212lbs, a success, she says, has saved her life.

At 369lbs, Jenny Hodges admits it was difficult to take care of her children's most basic needs; unable to bathe or play with them, she thought of herself as a failure.

Now, 20 months later and weighing just 157lbs, the 37-year-old explains how her weight loss, through hard work and perseverance, has given her the confidence to do 'anything.'

Before and after: At 369lbs (left) Jenny Hodges says it was difficult to take care of her children's most basic needs; now, weighing just 157lbs (right), she says her weight loss has given her the confidence to do 'anything'

Before and after: At 369lbs (left) Jenny Hodges says it was difficult to take care of her children's most basic needs; now, weighing just 157lbs (right), she says her weight loss has given her the confidence to do 'anything'

Before and after: At 369lbs (left) Jenny Hodges says it
was difficult to take care of her children's most basic needs; now, weighing just
157lbs (right), she says her weight loss has given her the
confidence to do 'anything'

She told the Today show: 'When I became a mother for the third time in three years, my weight really began to take a toll on me.

'I couldn't bathe them in the bathtub because I couldn't get up off the floor from a kneeling position, so they took their nightly bath in the kitchen sink. I couldn't get down on the floor and play with them, and it was a struggle to take them to the park,' she recalls.

During summer in 2008, the mother-of-three fell the backyard while attempting to kick a ball around with her children.

'The kids had to run for daddy,' she
said. 'He had to roll me on a blanket and drag me inside the house. I
was humiliated and scared. I knew that if I didn't do something, that I
was going to leave my children without a mother and no way was I going
to let that happen.

Obese obstacles: During summer in 2008, the mother-of-three fell the backyard while attempting to kick a ball around with her children, and could not get herself up

Obese obstacles: During summer in 2008, the mother-of-three fell the backyard while attempting to kick a ball around with her children, and could not get herself up

Time for change: The 37-year-old lost half her body weights while she was in graduate school, and looking after three children

Time for change: The 37-year-old lost half her body weights while she was in graduate school, and looking after three children

'I had to learn how to leave the guilt of the previous 37 years behind. I was a woman on a mission,' she added.

Joy Bauer, the founder of Joy Bauer Nutrition Centers and the nutrition expert on the Today Show, said of Mrs Hodges' success: 'She's really the ultimate inspiration for anyone that feels overwhelmed and strapped down. She did this while she was in graduate school, with three kids.'

Ms Bauer, also the leader of The joy fit Club, praised Mrs Hodges' weight loss technique, relying purely on diet and exercise.

She said: 'There were a few things she did that were really smart.

'First,
she allows herself a treat after dinner every single night, but she
keeps it consistent. We know through people reporting and through
research, when you don't have a whole lot of variety, it's easier to
lean on your sweet tooth. Her go-to snack is a Greek yogurt pop.'

Family success: With the help of her three children and husband (pictured), Ms Hodges lost 212lbs, a success she says has saved her life

Family success: With the help of her three children and husband (pictured), Ms Hodges lost 212lbs, a success she says has saved her life

Of Ms Hodges' love of black bean soup and turkey chili, she continued: 'In her in her past life, she never cooked. It was fast food and she would order in. It was her husband that taught her how to cook – the secret ingredient in the [homemade] chili is cocoa powder and beer.'

Mrs Hodges' also credit exercise as a big part of her success.

She explained: 'The exercise is phenomenal. I found exercises that I love to do and I think that's been a key part to my success – finding an exercise that I love and then sticking with it and involving the kids.'