How Theresa Lost 276 Pounds and Changed Her Life

By Ted


This is the weight loss journey of Theresa Borawski who lost 276 pounds in her own words. She was also recently featured on the Joy’s Fit Club segment on the Today Show. We hope her story inspires you as much as it inspired us.

How I Arrived at 428 Pounds

I am blessed to be born into a large, extended family that enjoys getting together to celebrate special events. Good food is always in abundance and is the center of every family function, whether happy or sad. I learned at a very young age that food makes the happy times better and the sad times more bearable. My father died when I was a child and I learned to hide my pain and sadness with food and candy.

This was a pattern that continued throughout my life, and when the pain of being overweight, rejected, and left out became unbearable, I turned to food. I have always struggled with weight, but put on a happy face, and pretended that I didn’t care, that I didn’t hear the comments of the other kids, or didn’t mind being the last one picked for the team. I hid my pain quite well, and focused on helping others instead of myself.

theresa-before-weight-lossMy life took a downward spiral in 2003 when I lost a job of 15 years. This was an extremely devastating time in my life. Suddenly, I found myself unemployed and I had to move 200 miles away from home to take another job. This loss was followed very closely by the death of my grandfather and then a few months later, the death of my beloved friend. My new job ended with a budget cut. I faced unemployment once again and went back to college at age 42.

When I graduated, I could hardly walk across the stage to receive my diploma. During this time, I coped the only way I knew how: I turned to food to help me through it. As a result, I gained approximately 100 pounds as a way of building a protective layer around my heart so that no one or nothing could hurt me again. I began to suffer severe physical pain and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and was told that I would end up in a wheelchair.

They were right, and before long, I was 428 pounds and depended on a walker or wheel chair to get around. I could no longer participate in life’s activities and was forced to become a spectator while people around me lived their life. I was in intense physical and emotional pain, considering selling my house to live in Assisted Living because I could no longer take care of myself, and was ready to give up.

I had to sit on a chair by the sink to wash my dishes or brush my teeth. I could not walk to my mailbox, or go into the drug store to pick up a prescription. I could only shop at stores that had mobility carts, and I went to work dressed in clothing that looked more like a tent than a blouse. I weighed 428 whopping pounds at my heaviest (March 1, 2011)

My Weight Loss Miracle

Then I was blessed with a miracle! After my grandmother died, my sister told me that she was having bariatric surgery, and my doctor informed me that he didn’t know what else he could do for my RA, I decided that I didn’t want to live like this anymore and I decided to change my life.

In addition to overeating, I had developed a sugar addiction and was consuming over 2 liters of soda each day. I emptied the bottles into the sink, dumped the sugar bowl in the trash, and began to count calories. I started eating eggs and dry toast or oatmeal for breakfast and replaced my fast-food lunches with a can of low-calorie soup or fruit and yogurt. I began eating pork, chicken or stir fry for dinner with A LOT of vegetables.

theresa-after-weight-lossSoon the pounds were just melting away, all without surgery, diet pills, any specific diet plan, or even exercise until a few months ago due to the immobility. The key for me was finding a plan that I could live with for the rest of my life. I have never once considered this a “diet”, but rather a way of life. People go on and off diets all the time; it’s pretty hard to quit “life”!

Oh, How My Life Has Changed!

Today I am 276 pounds lighter, 14 jean sizes smaller, and no longer need a wheelchair, walker, or cane to get around. My medication requirements have been reduced dramatically, and I no longer live in constant, physical and emotional pain.

I am a walking, talking miracle, and have been given a 2nd chance at life with nothing more than a lot of God power and will power! I am a brand new person, have so much energy, and am now a participant in life, rather than just watching it pass me by. I am blessed beyond measure and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me!

Way to Go! Theresa Borawski, We are so inspired by you!


  1. Mark

    A truly amazing and inspirational story. I keep seeing more and about sugar addiction and it’s dangers. The Hungry for Change Documentary linked refined sugar, flour to the dangers of refining the other wise healthy coca leaf in to the infamous dangerous drug cocaine. A really interesting perspective that highlights the dangers of sugar and what can do to person. Well done Theresa for the changes you have made to your life.

  2. Kristen

    Thanks for sharing your story, Theresa!! I totally relate in having used food and weight to cope and build a protective layer I could hide behind. No diets ever worked for me, but simply learning to care for myself–emotionally, physically, etc–allowed me to lose and keep off 100 pounds. It’s awesome hearing other stories like this!!

  3. Patsy Seabaugh

    Congratulations, I To have had a weight problem, weighed 300 lbs 3 years ago, lot of heath problems started developing. I was diagnosed with diabetes, my mother was a very bad diabetic!!! In which it end up taking her life at 58 yrs old.Tried lots od so called diets, diet pills & so on, recently I was diagnosed with Spinal Stenois & arthritis all over my bck!! Well I started counting calories, it was very hard at first, cause I love sweets, rather eat sweets than a meal. I was a big baby, as I grew up I was not a big child. My weight gained started when I got married, have no children either, then came the. Verbal abuse & physical abuse frim my husband, very traumatic, have depression & anxiety also, seeked help for my mental problems, I made up my mind one day I’m so tired of getting help for my problems, when they told me my back was in bad shape, suggested to get some if the weight off!! That’s when I started counting calories, it works, so I went from a size 26 ” waist & today I am in a size 18 waist & some 16″ waist.I have to admit I do feel better, my back feels better also!! I need toning up in my stomach area & my arms, that’s where there’s a lot of flab, don’t have the money to get liposuction, plus I really don’t want it done!!! So I lost 89lbs in 9 months!! Yes I still want candy, ice cream, cakes, & pies, but I limit how much I can eat on desserts, it can be done!!!! Sincerely Patsy Seabaugh

  4. Dr. Susan Harmony Ph.D.

    Normal people without severe obesity in their families CANNOT get to 600 pounds simply by overeating.

    Obesity is FAT CELL FAILURE. Manuel Uribe and such people have a disregulation of the INVOLUNTARY weight regualtory system.

    Body weight is INVOLUNTARILY regulated by neural circuitry. You people have ALOT of learning to from Dr. Jeffrey Friedman. This site is FRAUD.

  5. Dr. Susan Harmony Ph.D.

    And science PREDICTS she will regain due to BIOLOGY. The body defends fat mass aggressively. The body actively responds to and undermines weight loss attempts.

    Obesity’s genetic component is equal to height.

    What this blog sells people is FRAUD. Obesity is hellishly complex and NOWHERE near figured out.

    Scientists do not even understand the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors.

    • Dan

      My experience is that *dieting* does not work. The body WILL defend its weight if a person tries to starve their weight down. On the other hand, my experience is that a very high dose of exercise *does work* very well, even without starving myself. I struggled with my weight for 25 years, trying to starve myself thin. The weight always came back. Scientists have discovered the FTO gene which is down regulated by a very high dose of exercise. The Amish have this gene, but since they are very active, very few of them are heavy. When I began to exercise by bicycling everyday, I lost a lot of weight and since I continue to bicycle absolutely everyday, I have maintained every ounce of my 95 pound weight loss for 3 years now and have lost even a couple more pounds. Exercise makes me much more resistant to weight gain and even holiday eating does not make me gain weight, or at least it limits the weight gain when I exercise daily at least an hour. And yes, ,my body does get used to the exercise and so I have to increase my dose now and then and stay at that higher dose everyday. I also count calories and eat a mostly plant based diet. I agree obesity is genetic, but it can be controlled, but not cured. Not believing that it can be cured has helped me keep the weight off, because I never let my guard down for a moment.

      • Dan

        Another aspect is that if a person’s appetite control is out of whack, that that necessitates counting calories. For me, this involved weighing and measuring everything I ate. One must figure how much one can eat and eat that much- not too much or too little. My weight on the scale can tell me if I am eating too much or too little. When I was trying to lose weight without counting calories, I would often swing from eating too much to eating too little. Going to either extreme can make the body more prone to holding onto weight. I myself cannot rely primarily on intuition- I must measure my food. Eating mostly plants also promotes satiety. Exercise also helps to regulate appetite in many cases.

  6. Michelle

    Wow, she made such a huge change in just 2 years! Simply incredible.

  7. Milemom

    Absolutely amazing Theresa. I am wondering about the skin, though–do you need surgery to remove the excess or were you amazingly blessed with skin elastic enough to go back to normal?

    Also, obviously you’ve done a wonderful job on your own, but I would recommend–based on your RA–to review Dr. McDougall’s site and success stories…just see if what he has to say makes sense to you. It is very inspiring to read the stories of those who have reclaimed their health.

  8. lussy

    It’s unbelievable. Congrats, I also trying to lose weight.After regular exercise not very effective some one suggesting me to try protein for weight loss from purewellness.
    Is really protein can work

  9. O.

    Sounds like this was her first diet. Those are often easy and the pounds “melt” as she said. It’s the yo yo dieting that’s the hardest to make progress on.

  10. SanJoseChiro

    Congrats Theresa. You’re a great inspiration for many :).

  11. Spectra

    Way to go, Theresa! I agree–it’s all about finding a way of eating that you know you’ll be able to stick with for life. I myself lost 90 lbs and have kept it off–I know what foods work for me and what things I can eat to keep myself full and to keep cravings at bay. It’s so awesome that you were able to lose the weight naturally and healthfully–congrats!

  12. emily

    How about simply getting on all natural weight loss chewing gum,My dietitian recommended me to take tonify – fat burning chewing gum. It’s great product giving excellent result

    • Jim

      Okay, so we occasionally let the odd spam comment through just so we can all have a laugh.

      Theresa (in the above article) should have just chewed some gum. I’m sure that would have been way easier than completely re-engineering her life…. [sarcasm over]

  13. Jane

    Wow you are truly inspiring! I really agree with part you say about it’s not a diet but a change of life. Diets don’t work but changes do. Congratulations on this outstanding weight loss. You very courageous!