By Scott Thompson

THIS WOMAN says being overweight made her look OLD BEFORE HER TIME, but since losing almost HALF of her body weight people can’t believe she’s FIFTY-THREE-YEARS-OLD.

Co-owner of a construction company, Tracy Bess (53) from Georgetown, Texas, USA, married her high school sweetheart Dough and is mother to four adult boys who were expensive to feed when younger which lead to her eating lots of processed foods which were budget friendly.

Along with comfort eating, Tracy also struggled with mobility issues due to tarsal tunnel syndrome in her late 40s which affected her ankle and wreaked havoc on her body so she couldn’t keep up with her four sons.

Tracy lost half her body weight. MDWfeatures / Tracy Bess

Tracy couldn’t squeeze into some chairs and seatbelts on planes were over extended. She felt like she was the odd one out, the ‘big girl’ and ran for cover during photo opportunities.

Desperate, tired and fed up of wearing unfashionable UK size 26 XL clothes, Tracy decided she needed to take action to shrink her 17st 2lb frame and through tracking calories she now weighs 8st 6lb and is a UK size 4 and she’s training for a marathon.

“I married my high school sweetheart and we have four adult sons ages 26, 26, 22 and 20 and I have a grandson who’s 18 months old. Feeding those four hungry boys was expensive so we ate a lot of processed food,” Tracy said.

Tracy shows others you can be fit and healthy at 50. MDWfeatures / Tracy Bess

“Food was used as a way to reward and comfort myself and I never saw it as fuel before. I also had pain and mobility issues because I had tarsal tunnel syndrome in my late 40s and it affected my ankle which meant my mobility was reduced a lot. This also caused further weight gain. I’ve since had an operation to fix this though. I felt like I was trapped inside another person. I never felt that the larger woman I saw in the mirror wasn’t the person I was supposed to be.

“I had difficulty fitting into some chairs. Airline seatbelts were at the longest they could be. I felt out of place with other women. I hated being the ‘big girl’ of the group. I would hide behind others for pictures or delete pictures taken of me that showed how big I had become. I couldn’t shop in regular stores for clothes, I hated not being able to buy or wear fashionable clothing and shoes. I couldn’t wear high heels because I was so unstable due to my size and I couldn’t wear a bikini with confidence.

“I couldn’t be active with my sons without getting out of breath. I basically felt like I was ageing faster than my actual age. I didn’t want to be intimate because I simply didn’t feel sexy at all despite my husband telling me that I was.

Tracy used to comfort eat. MDWfeatures / Tracy Bess

“A friend told me once to watch out because my ass was so big that it bumped into others when I turned around in a crowd. That was one of the lowest points in my life.

“I was simply tired of that chapter of my life. I knew that only I could re-write my book. I wanted to be the active person that I felt was trapped inside. I started recording my calories on MyFitnessPal, started walking, running and practicing yoga. These days I mostly run and lift weights.

“On a typical day I might eat a gluten free waffle with almond butter and sliced banana or fresh blueberries and a coffee with a plant-based creamer. For lunch I might have a large salad with a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, nuts, tofu and sometimes chicken. Then for dinner often I have lots of fresh roasted vegetables, a gluten free pasta, soups, salads, homemade gluten free/dairy free pizza for a treat, fresh fish, roasted chicken.

Tracy turned her bad eating habits into positive ones. MDWfeatures / Tracy Bess

“It’s also very important to stay hydrated. I drink a lot of water. I also prefer to eat my calories vs drink them.

“After consistently doing this I’ve naturally brought my weight down to just 8st 6lb and now wear a size 4 dress. I’ve ran numerous 5ks and 10ks, 6 half marathons and I’m now training for a full marathon.”

Tracy has lost a few friends who were jealous of her achieving her weight loss goals but those who support her tell her they can’t believe how much weight she’s lost and that she looks incredible for her age.

“I have lost some friends to this journey absolutely. The best I can figure out is that it’s because of their own insecurities with themselves. I decided that if they were truly my friend they would have supported and applauded me and used my success for inspiration to reach their own goals,” Tracy continued.

Tracy is now just a size four. MDWfeatures / Tracy Bess

“People who didn’t know me before are shocked that I’ve lost so much weight. They who already knew me before tell me they are shocked at the change and can’t believe that I’m 53 years old.

“The best advice I can give to anyone else out there who wants to lose weight is to start by changing just one thing first. I didn’t start out by eating less, eating clean, running races and training for marathons. It takes time, pick one reachable goal to change and once it’s incorporated into your life then add another change. Keep doing this.

“Be persistent and consistent, be patient and trust in this process. You won’t see changes every day, but they are occurring.”

You can follow Tracy’s journey on Instagram