Doing it for herself
After being rejected by her college crush, one woman decided to get him back and prove him wrong. However, she didn’t just do it for him. After struggling with her weight for much of her life, she decided it was time to make a few changes in her life. She knew that she needed to slim down; she knew that she had to take care of her body; and she knew that she wouldn’t be happy until she could look in the mirror and be proud of her achievement. What would her crush think then, however?
The woman in question
To truly understand this amazing story and the incredible transformation this woman went through, we need to learn a little more about the woman herself. So, say hello to Rachael Heffner! Hailing from Indianapolis, this 27-year-old has recently become the lady of the hour thanks to her story. It has been shared by thousands of people across the globe, and she has inspired even more with her transformation and her determination to change her appearance, and give herself a better life after her rejection.
Weighing in on her size
At her heaviest, Rachael weighed in at 285lbs. Although she knew that she was heavier than most, she didn’t see her weight as an issue. After all, she had been like it for much of her life. It wasn’t until her former crush rejected her that she decided to undergo this transformation – and what a transformation it is! While she did this largely for herself and her own health, it was a definite compliment when her former flame realized he had made a mistake. However, you probably won’t expect her response.
From an early age, Rachael had always been a little bigger than most. She has since noted that she was “chubby” and her full-time working parents normally just allowed her to eat what she wanted when they were both at work. Because of this, she piled on the pounds – but things went from bad to worse when her mother was diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis. Her health began to deteriorate, and she sadly passed away when Rachael was just 7 years old. She had lost her mother and her best friend at once.
Finding solace in food
As Rachael struggled to deal with the grief of losing her mother, she began to find comfort in food. She had learned very little about healthy food and nutrition from her mother and father as a child, and without her mother around she knew even less. So, she filled her stomach with junk food such as potato chips, sugary snacks, and a huge amount of soda. On top of this, she would always have large portions of food for her main meals. In the end, she got heavier and heavier as the years went by.
In fact, Rachael has since noted that she had little control over what she ate or what she drank. She would find herself subconsciously reaching for a new packet of potato chips even though she had just finished a packet, and she would guzzle soda as if her life depended on it. For the most part, she was addicted to soda and fizzy drinks. She would drink four large bottles of Mountain Dew, Sprite, Coca-Cola and more every single day, and her body craved the sugar that came with them.
Going to college
By the time she was just 19 years old, Rachael weighed in at 300 pounds, and she was extremely unhappy with her life. She hated the way that she looked, and she felt uncomfortable – but she found solace in going to college and meeting new people. It was here that she met one particular man. Before too long she had developed a crush on him, and she finally plucked up the courage to ask him out. However, her heart was broken when her crush rejected her without even thinking about it.
Making it clear
During an interview with British newspaper The Daily Mail, Rachael spoke about the reaction for the first time and how it made her feel. Although he tried to cover up his reasoning, he made it quite clear that the reason he didn’t want to date her was because of the way that she looked. While she may have had an interesting and fun personality, he just wasn’t attracted to her because she was a lot heavier than the other women at college. Rachael was hurt, and she was determined to show him that he had made a mistake.
A New Year’s Resolution
While home from college during the holiday period, Rachael decided to make a New Year’s Resolution. She was going to finally lose weight and become healthier and happier in herself. She put her plan into action almost straight away and went to buy a pair of running shoes the next day. However, she didn’t stop there. When she got back to college, she threw all of the junk food out of her kitchen, and she set herself the goal to lose 139 pounds. That was about half of her body weight.
Making a replacement
Although she was motivated, Rachael initially struggled to get into this new healthy routine. This was largely because her body missed the sugar from the soda that she was drinking every day. Her body was craving the sweetness, and she didn’t know what to do about it. In the end, she decided to replace the soda with Gatorade until she was able to wean herself off it completely and settle with glasses upon glasses of water. She was making progress, and she could see that it was starting to make a difference.
Cutting down on portions
As Rachael got used to this new lifestyle, she also tried to make changes to her diet. Instead of relying on take-out or buying food on campus, she started to make her own meals at home. She would buy fresh ingredients and follow recipes to create the food from scratch, and she would also cut her usual portion sizes in half. It was a huge sacrifice, but she knew she had to make it to achieve the results. Her body was struggling, but she was pushing through.
Because her body and her stomach was used to large portion sizes and sugary treats, Rachael found herself getting extremely hungry. She felt as though she was never full, and that she was always craving some sort of food. Yet, she remained strong and tried to curb these cravings. Whenever she was feeling overwhelmingly hungry, she would snack on fruit and vegetables, and she would drink as much water as she could to fill the hole. It was a tough few months, but her stomach eventually began to shrink.
Starting to move around
Amazingly, Rachael was so determined to continue to lose weight that she even started to work out. She went to the gym with her college roommate and did everything she could to get her heart pumping and her legs moving. Although she started with just a gentle walk on the treadmill, she was soon able to work her way around the gym and add new exercises into the mix. She incorporated both cardio and weight lifting into her routine to shift the weight once and for all.
Losing the weight
As the weight continued to fall off, Rachael eventually managed to get down to a weight of just 145 pounds – and she was almost unrecognizable. Her college friends and her former school friends had to double take when they walked past her in the street, and she had a newfound confidence. This new figure and new appearance seemed to pay off, because, for the first time in her life, Rachael was being hit on by men she passed in the grocery store, or even on her way around campus.
The only one that mattered
However, the only man who mattered to Rachael was the man she had a crush on in college. She had been rejected in the past, and she was over the moon to see him crawling back when she had lost the weight. Finally, he asked her out! Yet, Rachael surprised herself when she turned him down because she didn’t want to go back there. Even though he apologized for the way he spoke to her, she was not ready to forget just yet. She had even more goals to achieve.
One last problem
Rachael was over the moon to see the results of her weight loss, and she could see the changes in the mirror. Unfortunately, she soon realized that losing such a huge amount of weight also comes with a few negative effects. Because she had dropped numerous dress sizes, her skin was sagging. It was especially saggy on her stomach, and she filmed a video and posted it on Facebook to help raise money to get it removed. Amazingly, she reached her goal and was able to book it in just a few weeks later.
However, this surgery was not going to be an easy feat. She knew there were risks associated with the skin removal surgery, and she wanted to be as prepared as possible for it. She read that the best way to recover quickly from the surgery was to build up your core muscles and make your abdomen as strong as possible. So, she teamed up with a personal trainer and decided to spend a few weeks in the gym, making sure that her muscles were ready for the impending surgery.
The week of surgery
Before too long, the day of surgery had come along, and Rachael was ready to get under the knife and truly complete her weight loss journey. What she didn’t realize was that she would also hit another goal this week. Just a few days before she made her way to the hospital, Rachael decided to weigh herself one last time before the excess skin was gone for good. It was then that she discovered she had reached her goal. She was 130 pounds, and she had completed her mission!
Two weeks later
The skin removal surgery was a huge success, and Rachael was over the moon with the results. Her body looked completely different, and she had come such a long way from her college years. However, she couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that she didn’t believe her journey was over. She knew that she had so much more to give, and she wondered about what she could do next. After hours of thinking, she knew what she had to do. She was going to become a professional bodybuilder.
Rachael couldn’t undertake any strenuous activity straight after surgery, so she had to wait a few weeks before she could put this plan into action. However, she started to create an exercise routine that would transform her weight loss journey into a strength-building journey. She started off on the treadmill when she was finally able to exercise again, before making her way over to the weights section and ultimately upping the ante until her body began to show signs of change. Within just a couple of months, she was a completely different person.
Nowadays, Rachael is a far-cry away from the woman that she used to be. Not only is she physically different, but she is also mentally happier and healthier. She has since quit her job to pursue her bodybuilding and personal training career full-time, and she is doing extremely well for herself. She now parades along the stage in her bikinis, flexing her muscles, and proving to those who doubted her that she has been able to transform her life for the better. She is the new and improved Rachael.
Regarding all of the work she’s done as a professional bodybuilder, it has brought upon a number of milestones that she never thought she would do. In fact, Rachael said that appearing on stage during these competitions was the first time she had ever been in a bikini. She also said that it was the first time she could finally show off all the hard work she’d been doing to her friends and family. The feeling must have been immensely satisfying.
Tons of awards
Perhaps what makes her journey even more impressive is that she didn’t just become a bodybuilder. She became one of the best in her region. This is apparent when you consider that she won first place in a handful of competitions in such a short span of time – novice figure, novice physique, open figure, open physique, and Miss Indiana overall women’s physique. Oh yeah, and she also won the award for best new competitor. Not too shabby, eh?
The unsung hero
But there is one person who Rachael has felt the need to praise throughout all of her accomplishments – her trainer, Adam. “I thought I was serious before I met Adam,” she said. “But I feel like even in the year and a half that I’ve known him, my mental state has changed completely.” It seems that even when she was skinny, she wasn’t sure if she could take things to the next level, and Adam helped her out there.
No matter who we are, we all have our share of doubts. No matter what we’ve managed to accomplish, there are always those thoughts we have that try to bring us down. “I still had doubts,” said Rachael. “I believed in myself, but I still had doubts in myself.” This is a completely normal feeling, and perhaps especially normal for someone who wasn’t always a fitness mogul. It makes sense that she would have occasional flashbacks.
And yet, just when she needed it most, she met Adam. He worked as a physical trainer at ARC Fitness, and when he met her, he graciously got on board with her goals. “When I met him, he was the only person I ever met that asked me my goal. And he was like, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ There was no question, like, ‘Are you sure?’ There was no nothing. He was just like, ‘Let’s do it.’” This was exactly the boost that Rachael needed.
From trainee to trainer
Due to the fact that Rachael and Adam hit it off so well, she spent a lot of her time at ARC Fitness. And when she eventually become a professional, winning all kinds of awards, the staff took notice. Soon enough, Rachael wasn’t just go to the gym to get trained, but to train others as well. In fact, she currently works at ARC Fitness as a director of operations. Sounds like a perfect fit, when you consider how inspiring she is to countless others.
Giving her credit
But as helpful as Adam was, he gives her all of the credit. “She’s one of the most committed competitors I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. I’m just amazed, and I couldn’t be more proud of what she’s accomplished.” Adam is someone who understands that he didn’t need to force Rachael to do anything. He knew that her willpower was there from the getgo, and that was all he needed to train her to take the next step.
Emotional for him
Adam further elaborated on what it was like watching Rachael blossom into a bodybuilding professional. “It was very emotional, especially for me, because I’ve been there. I’ve been there from the very beginning. I’ve seen that change from the very beginning – where she said she would never get on stage, to the mindset that it took to change, to the mindset that it took to change other people, and love herself.” And Rachael herself has a lot of thoughts about loving yourself as well.
On the subject of loving yourself, Rachael hasn’t shied away from making it clear to her followers how important it is. “Love yourself today, because at the end of the day, you’re all you have. You’re number one, and if you’re happy with yourself and doing you, everyone else will follow. Winning attracts other winners. Moral of that – surround yourself with great people.” This is a direct quote from her Instagram, and there are many more.
Reward in mind
In addition to loving oneself, Rachael says that preservering is all about knowing you’ll get rewarded in the end. “The reward of helping people, inspiring people, getting up on stage and doing something that I love, that I had no idea I loved until I did it. That’s my reward.” For anyone who’s ever had a goal, and gone through rough trials to achieve that goal, they’re well aware of how valuable envisioning a reward at the end of the tunnel can be.
Enjoy your food
She also has pearls of wisdom regarding certain misconceptions of dieting. “You can’t eat healthy your whole life and deprive yourself of things. Food is meant to be enjoyed. It’s not meant to be feared. It’s not about that. You have all the power over food. Food has no power over you.” Her words hit home, especially because there are so many people in the world today that purposely eat less in order to get skinny, when they really should be eating right, and striving to be healthy.
Proving pops wrong
Perhaps the craziest thing about this whole story is that when Rachael was younger and overweight, she didn’t think she’d live past 25. After she decided to lose the weight, her father told her, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” She responded by saying, “Okay! I’m going to prove you wrong.” Not only did she eventually prove him wrong, but she has already surpassed the age she said she would never make it to. And she’s looking healthier than ever!