Miss Carolina was once 234 pounds

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to be healthier; slim down, lose weight, eat better, start exercising.

I don’t know if it’s because everyone is feeling a few pounds heavier after the holiday gorging fest of unlimited chocolates, fountains of egg nog, and pie after pie, but for some reason, as soon as that new calendar year comes around, so does our realization that those pounds ain’t gonna walk themselves off.

Perhaps the new season of “Biggest Loser” airing just a few weeks into the new year (marketing genius) will also be motivation for people to start hitting the gym with new inspiration.

Losing five, 10 or 20 pounds takes a lot of patience and discipline. But how about 114?

Bree Boyce, also known as Miss Carolina, weighs 120 pounds today. Would you believe only five years ago, this young woman was tipping the scales at 234 pounds?

“I enjoyed food so much, any kind. I never disliked any kind of food, which was a big problem for me,” Boyce tells People in its annual “Half Their Size” issue. “I’d just go through the fast-food line and call it a day.”

Through an incredible amount of hard work and life-changing decisions, Boyce was able to not only shed more than 100 pounds, but also earn a coveted spot in next year’s 2012 Miss America pageant competing for the crown.

“It was definitely about making that drastic change. It was not about going on a fad diet. For years I had failed attempts. People are always searching for a quick fix. It’s all about changing your lifestyle.”

Boyce mentions incredible support from family members helping her achieve her goal.

I love stories like this — people taking complete control over their lives and choosing to take the long, hard road into putting their best self forward.

The most my weight has ever gone up is around 32 pounds with my pregnancies. And losing those few extra pounds was sometimes a long and frustrating road. But I always told myself the feeling of being fit is much better than the feeling after eating that bowl of ice cream or extra serving at dinner. The thing about gaining weight is, it piles on a bit more easily than it falls off. There’s certainly a lot more effort put into slimming down than bulking up. (Unless you’re talking to my little brother who’s 6-foot tall and barely weighs 130 and eats anything he wants. His body is physically incapable of putting on even one pound more.)

“I learned that if I became a healthy person, I could achieve all the goals I wanted to in life,” Boyce said. She is a very public example of hard work and dedication. What a remarkable young woman — I’m looking forward to seeing her compete next year!

Have you ever set an incredibly difficult goal and had the satisfaction of achieving it? What kept you going when you wanted to give up?

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