REIDSVILLE, N.C. — Hope Church holds up the men’s 3X shirt she used to wear as part of her uniform.
“Deep inside I was not happy when I wore this shirt,” Church said.
That shirt is no longer part of her uniform, but a reminder of how far she has come.
In the past year-and-a-half the Reidsville Police Department property and evidence specialist lost 147 pounds.
At her heaviest, she was a size 24-26 weighing 293 pounds.
“I can get into one leg of the pants and it brought me to tears,” she said.
Church began her lifestyle change while participating in a “Biggest Loser” contest for city employees.
“I won the contest and in that 12-week time period, I lost 16 pounds,” she said.
She was encouraged to keep going after learning that her father suffered a set-back in his health.
Church says she lost the weight by focusing on clean-eating and exercising.
Initially, she started walking and later transitioned into running.
Church completed her first 5K Mud Run last year and another 5K last Christmas.
“Now when I run I tell people it’s 10 percent my legs and it’s 90 percent my heart,” she said.
The transformation has inspired her co-workers including Venus Carter.
“I feel like she has boosted everyone here. We’ve watched her morph into another person. She’s so much happier and feels better about herself,” Carter said.
Church cleaned out her closet as a symbol that she is not going back.
“I didn’t lose the weight, I got rid of it. If you lose something there’s a potential for you to find it and I don’t want to find it,” she said.
Today, Church is a size 6-8 and her work shirt is a men’s extra small.
Her next goals are to run a Spartan Race and the Copper River Bridge Run.
She also says she wants to fly. Getting on a plane was not something she was comfortable doing before her weight loss.