Be Inspired: Shannan’s Story

By Jim F

Some people have it tough, and others have it very tough.

Shannan Hutchinson is one of the latter. Shannan has Multiple Sclerosis – yet despite the phenomenal challenges posed by her illness, Shannan was able to lose over 90 pounds – by eating right and exercising.

Here is her story.


For 5 months in 2002 Shannan was paralyzed. It took 18 months before she was able to walk again. By this time Shannan weighed 260 pounds (BMI 41) and her doctor suggested that she needed to lose weight.

Gastric bypass seemed like the only option – but after watching her mother experience 6 months of sickness after weight loss surgery, Shannan decided to go it alone.

Shannan started out slowly with water rehabilitation. She then progressed to power walking in the pool, and eventually water aerobics. Now, on a good day, Shannan can walk for 20-30 minutes at a time. “The key is knowing your bodies limitations” says Shannan.

Shannan has used the Weight Watchers meetings – and enjoys the accountability this offers. She currently eats 4-5 small meals a day, and stops eating before 8pm. It’s not all restrictive – “I love the fact I can still have my pizza or burger and fries once a week.”

Portion control is an important factor. Shannan also has to endure frequent courses of steroids (prednisone), and many other prescription medications.

In Shannan’s own words:

I have an AWESOME support network. My husband, 2 boys, parents, in-laws and friends have totally surrounded me with love, encouragement and support. It’s wonderful to have all of my support but I know that I was the one who made the choice to lose weight for me.

If you do it for anyone or anything else you will probably fail. I have become a little selfish. I can finally say I love myself. I was so caught up in disease, being a wife and mom that tried to compensate for all I felt I wasn’t. Now when I take a little time for Shannan, I’m happier therefore I am a better mom, wife, friend and woman.

Shannan was the grand prize winner of the 2006 Weight Watchers Inspiring Stories of the Year Contest.


From Diet-Blog and (I’m sure) all the readers: Thanks for being an incredible inspiration.


  1. Lauralou

    You look like a movie star!!

    Just reading your story has put me back on track, thankyou!

  2. stephanie

    Omg she is gorgeous!! Such inspiration!

  3. hana61

    e great story i want to lose 100 po h how i look but hunds not because of how i look but its how i feel.i need motivation and hope i find it here

  4. custer

    Wow. Super inspiring. Most of us are just too lazy but she battled it out with a disease. She looks really pretty in her after picture too.

  5. Cecilia

    Your story really is inspiring to me. Since I was 8 years old, I was struggling with my weight. And until now I’m at 4’10 frame and weigh about 161lbs. But instead of complaining about it, I’m gonna do something about it. Thanks for your story, it’s very inspirational to me.

  6. Never teh Bride

    Oh my gosh, she’s gorgeous! How wonderful that she is overcoming such fantastic odds to take control of as much of her health as she can. What an inspiration 🙂

  7. Rhonda

    Wow! Your story is amazing! I have just joined WW and have lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks. Your story has motivated me. I have made these changes towards my weight loss!
    1) Joined WW on-line and meetings!! Love the on-line
    version included in the $39 plan! Changed the way me
    and my whole family eats.
    2) We bought an infared sauna from
    It burns 600-800 calories per session!!!!!
    It’s recogned by the FDA for treatment of pain
    relief.(Effective in providing pain relief with those
    suffering from bursitis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid
    arthritis, back pain, headache, sprains, strains and
    many other muscular-skeletal ailments.
    3) Got on custom vitamins specifically designed for your
    4) Began exercising..just walking around the
    neighborhood each day! Also, joined a gym.
    Anyway, I’m so proud of you!! Keep up the good work!!

  8. shannan hutchinson

    Thank you to everyone who has left feedback on my story. It’s been such a powerful journey, not only the weight loss but the self discovery. I embrace people in my situation because if alcohol or drug use is your addiction you enter rehab. You can then distance yourself from booze or drugs. We have to look at food everyday to survive. If we continue to support each other and encourage the end results are dramatic.

    God Bless, Shannan

  9. Mostly Plump

    Congratulations Shannan. You are truly an inspiration!

  10. Jan

    Shannan is a true inspiration, and she looks the picture of health, even with an illness.

  11. staci

    People like shannon make you step back and wonder what you’re waiting for…

  12. Giselle Bray

    You are so awesome! Thanks for the inspiration. I am most greatful for your wisdom of doing it for yourself and the seeming selfishness it requires (which it is NOT ofcourse!) Great job living your life!

  13. Patricia (Spain)

    A wonderfully inspiring story. She looks fabulous and simply glows with joy! Congratulations!

  14. Lola

    I have so much respect for you. I hope you will be my inspiration, I want this to be my turn…wish me luck….Lola

  15. Lose Weight With Me

    That is so awesome!

    This truly knocks the wind out of a lot of excuses for not exercising, doesn’t it?


  16. Amy

    What an amazing woman. To lose 90+ pounds, but to do it while suffering from a debilitating illness is truly incredible.

  17. Stacy

    What a great story. It’s so important to hear or read about others who have accomplished the same thing you’re trying. It gives us someone to model our efforts after.

  18. Pher

    WOW! That is incredible!! Wonderful inspiration for us all.