Few people understand that the way Elizabeth Borkland does. A High Point native, she has lost 278 pounds and is still counting.
Three years ago, it would have been impossible for Borkland to lift weights and exercise. That's because she didn't realize how much she weighed until a humiliating experience gave her a dose of reality.
"I was on vacation in California when I stepped on a trucker's scale where they weigh trucks and those numbers are huge," Borkland said. "And I found out in very huge numbers that I was 522 pounds and I was not happy."
Life at 500 pounds had its share of challenges, including finding clothes that fit and getting around every day.
"I would get out of breath getting to the car, walking to my office," Borkland said. "I mean I needed my assistant to go to Starbucks to get my latte in the morning."
But Borkland said the shock of seeing the actual number and feeling uncomfortable were not enough to get her health in order. It took something closer to home.
"The 'Ah ha!' moment was when my brother found out he had Diabetes by falling into a diabetic coma," Borkland said.
Borkland started walking everywhere and stopped eating out. Those small changes helped her lose 100 pounds.
"It's great to lose 100 pounds, but when you're 400 pounds overweight, losing 100 pounds kind of doesn't matter as much," Borkland said. "So it was about not stopping."
To push past the exercise plateaus, she joined Instagram and posted photos of her progress. Through the photos, she found a support system.
Working with her trainer, Jonathan Cedolia, Borkland has gained 18 pounds of muscle and has learned to ignore the scale and focus on how she feels.
"This past week I went to an event that I wore a size 16 dress to," Borkland said. "I haven't worn a size 16 since I was 10. So I mean that was amazing! I looked beautiful! That was amazing."
As her journey continues, she says the key to success is patience.
"It took me 30 years to realize that I was 500 pounds. Do not think you're going to change in five minutes. Trust the progress. Slow progress is better than no progress."