If you’re in need of inspiration–look no further than this amazing true-life story of courage and determination. There are times in our lives when blaming extraneous circumstances and everyone else around us is the easiest answer to our problems. When inspiring sayings such as, ‘keep your chin up,’ or ‘we learn from our mistakes,’ become meaningless motivational speeches that simply fall flat because we’re not yet ready to take action. For Mia Wallace, the reality of embracing change came in the form of frightening desperation. Mia, who was until about six years ago, a healthy active, self-proclaimed health freak, gained more than 80 pounds, which sent her into a deep and progressive depression. After having major back surgery and being bed ridden, she began to experience sudden, extreme weight gain that she eventually linked to medication. “The first 40 pounds had a lot to do with the fact that I couldn’t go to the gym anymore, and I was being injected with steroids, while also taking other medication to combat pain.” The next 40 pounds, Mia attributes to depression. For almost five years, she struggled with this enormous weight gain. Mia couldn’t get out to do the activities she once loved — since she felt pain in her back, or she physically just couldn’t do them because she was too heavy. What's more, while depression held her back from making any reasonable and positive changes in her life, she also reached a critical point where her cholesterol skyrocketed, her blood pressure became erratic, and the common cold became all too common for her. At an all time high weight of 230 pounds, this previously energetic and lively 5’ 2” woman’s overall health became a grave issue. Then, after leaving a doctor appointment where the predictions during the visit proclaimed that this was just the beginning of a dangerous cycle of disease caused by inactivity, Mia hit rock bottom. It was at this moment when she finally knew it was time for a big change — and optimistically began considering all of her choices. “So, I said to myself I have options: the lap band, the bypass, or me.” Mia chose herself. And, she well knew what lie ahead in terms of the hard work it was going to take to get back into shape the healthy way. Her story is a testament to determination and willingness to begin again. Mia succeeded because she wanted it. We worked together to put in place a healthy new life plan. It included a personal training schedule, a gym routine of workouts to do on her own at least five days a week, and a menu of small protein-carb-fat balanced meals eaten several times throughout the day. More importantly though, it was a lifestyle change that she could live with and love. Today, almost a year later, Mia has lost more than 92 pounds, and has set a goal of loosing about 20 more. She wants to reach at least 120 pounds, “closer to the old me.” Another benefit of Mia’s success, besides the newfound wellness and confidence, is the bond she has with her 12-year-old daughter — and new gym buddy. “I finally I put on some really nice clothes and my daughter started to cry. She said ‘mom, I can wrap my hands around you. I’m so proud of you!’ I take her to the gym everyday. My mission is to educate everyone, including my daughter, about staying healthy and well through smart choices that become an integral part of who you are at your core.”