A few years ago, Amie Henderson of Chattanooga, Tennessee, wouldn’t recognize the woman she is today. Now 77 pounds lighter, Amie is the healthiest she’s ever been, but she would tell you that change did not occur overnight. In fact, her journey began eight years ago.

In 2010 at the age of 37, Amie suffered a heart attack that required double bypass surgery. Following her procedure, she relied on a pacemaker, defibrillator and cardiac rehab to help her recover, but was still missing key pieces in her long-term plan. Amie initially had success shedding pounds, but struggled to maintain her weight loss as old habits began to creep back in.

It wasn’t until June 2018, when Amie saw a picture of herself, that she realized her weight was putting her at risk for another heart attack. At that moment, she made herself a promise to start making healthy lifestyle changes.

This time things were different. Amie’s son Luke assured her that she would see a big difference by using their Bowflex Max Trainer M7 cardio machine her husband had recently purchased to make exercising easier to fit in. She knew that hard work was ahead, but was cautiously optimistic.

Although at the start of her fitness journey it was difficult, day-by-day Amie built up her endurance, while her son helped hold her accountable. Now, the minute she gets home, Luke is there to keep her motivated to exercise — no excuses. As a result, Amie has developed a strong commitment to working out and maintaining a healthy diet.

Amie limits her carb intake and aims to work out at least 30 minutes a night by lifting weights and using the Max Trainer settings like fat burn, calorie burn and stairs.

With her son’s encouragement and past experience as motivation, Amie has stuck to working out and maintaining a healthy diet. She finds that creating a series of realistic goals helps keep her motivated. For example, she is only 23 pounds away from reaching her goal of gradually and safely losing 100 pounds.

“I’ve been sticking with it because I honestly feel a whole lot better,” Amie said. “But I’ve decided that I am not going back because I have already made it this far.”

In the past Amie didn’t pay attention to nutrition facts or know much about healthy eating. Now, her diet includes salads, protein shakes and healthy snacks. Occasionally, she and her son treat themselves to a cheat meal as a reward, but don’t make it a part of their routine.

As a result, Amie’s overall lifestyle has improved. In the past, she hated traveling and walking because she would get too tired, but now she enjoys visiting new places and taking long walks. She even likes trying on new clothes. These successes serve as a powerful incentive to continue on her healthy lifestyle.

Amie’s advice for those going through something similar, especially if you start feeling discouraged, is to remind yourself that it gets easier and you are getting stronger. Stick with it and don’t give up — you will get results.

When Amie sees other people struggling with their weight and health, she hopes her story serves as an inspiration to begin or restart their fitness journey and never give up.