A Canadian woman decided to lose 100 pounds after she received an email from her husband notifying her that he would not be returning from a trip.
Jennifer Velardi, 33, lost her mother to suicide less than a year after Velardi got married, prompting a rapid weight gain spurred by grief. Velardi would comfort herself with food to help fill the hole left after her mother's death, reports the Daily Mail. Her weight gain put a strain on her marriage, she says, and her husband began to feel distant.
"Our marriage was very rocky," said Velardi. "I was going through a very emotional time. I wasn't always easy. I was depressed. As my weight continued to steadily increase from the stress, it got worse and worse between us."
Velardi's husband took a trip to visit his family in the Dominican Republic, and on the day Velardi was supposed to pick him up from the airport, she received an email saying that he wouldn't be coming home.
"It was sort of like a slap in the face to me and woke me up from the emotional coma that I was in after my mum passed," she said. Velardi noted that she had "let myself go" for three years after her mother's death.
But soon after, Velardi decided it was time for a change.
"I wanted to lose weight and I was tired of waiting around for a hero to come and save the day," she said, remembering the initial moment she took charge. Velardi ditched the junk food and soda, opting for a strict caloric regimen and cutting back to sensible portion sizes.
"Being obese was exhausting," she said. "My hips hurt, my legs hurt, my body hurt all the time. My joints were under a lot of stress."
She slowly upped her training program, too. She went from walking to jogging, and soon worked in weight training as well. She also underwent abdominoplasty and brachioplasty in 2016 to help remove the excess skin left behind after her weight loss. She says she can now do several things her weight used to prohibit her from doing.
"Now I am able to engage in all kinds of different physical activities," Velardi says. "I couldn't fit into roller coaster rides at amusement parks."
Through her 100-pound weight loss, Velardi inspires thousands of followers on her Instagram page. She has also transitioned into a new career that helps empower women to take control of their bodies and their happiness.
"[My mother's] greatest wish was to see me happy. I spent so many years feeling trapped, unmotivated, and unworthy. I know she would love to see how I am currently living a positive, healthy lifestyle."