Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Heidi Bylsma: Her Goal Was a Harley

One of the first people I talked with about weight loss was Heidi Bylsma. Heidi lives in Cool, Calif. She's a mom, a writer and a horse enthusiast, among many other things.

At her heaviest, Heidi weighed 250 pounds. Over the years, she had lost as much as 100 pounds on several programs, including Weight Watchers and Weigh Down. But the stresses of her life -- including homeschooling two children and parenting an autistic child -- brought back the pounds. In 2002, the family moved to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, but soon the move seemed senseless.

“We had moved to the country so we could have horses, and now I was afraid to ride them for fear of hurting them,” Heidi says.

As a writer, Heidi had once worked with Judy Halliday, the author of Thin Within, a faith-based weight loss program. Although her weight struggles continued, she loved the Thin Within concept of listening to your body's cues of hunger and satisfaction -- eating when you're hungry, and stopping before you're full.

When her scale read 250 pounds, Heidi went back to this simple concept and she started losing weight again.

“No obsessions! No gimmicks! God freed me of 100 pounds by the simple method of listening to hunger and satisfaction and running to him for everything else I need,” she says.

Heidi did reach a low weight of 150, but in time realized she couldn't maintain that weight without indulging an obsession with diet soda. Today, she maintains a weight of about 167 pounds, which you can see from her after-photo is a good weight for her as a 5-foot, 7-inch woman.

For Heidi, the high point of her weight loss journey came one day when she was able to once again hop on her horse.

“In May of 2007, I rode my horse Harley for the first time in three years! He was the horse I always dreamed of having,” Heidi says. “Riding him bareback with a halter—gosh, riding him at all—was a lifelong dream come true. I was free! Free from all the extra weight, free from fear of my horses, free from the fear of dying young.”

To read more about Heidi's life and her weight loss journey, read her blog at

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