Columbus woman loses 323 lbs. to save her own life - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Columbus woman loses 323 lbs. to save her own life

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Marqkria McMiller has lost 323 pounds in four-and-a-half years, and it has taken her four years to maintain her current weight. Now, she weighs about 145 lbs.

The 28-year-old mother of two is a pharmacy technician, and nursing student. She weighed 407 lbs. when she was a teenager, and weighed 470 lbs. when she was pregnant.

Born in Pennsylvania, McMiller had heart surgery when she was only 5-years-old.

"My mother made sure I didn't participate in activities that required lot of movement," McMiller says. "She was scared that if other kids pushed me, or if I fell, or if I rode my bicycle, I would have a heart attack."

McMiller soon found comfort in food, because eating was all she could do when she was young.

"I ate five to six full meals, and snacks throughout the day," McMiller recalled. "I wasn't counting calories, I didn't care what I ate."

McMiller said she was teased as a child for being obese. She missed prom, field trips and other social events because of her obesity, but she said she overcame sadness and loneliness by eating her favorite foods.

"Cakes, chocolate, and all sorts of rich food," McMiller says. "When I was hurt or sad, I ate. And eating replaced all the negative emotions I was struggling with at that time. I ate until I felt happy."

McMiller has now lived in Columbus, Ga. for 11 years. When she was only 16-years-old, a local doctor told her that if she did not lose weight, she would not live to be 21.

"That was my 'A-Ha!' moment," McMiller says. "But I didn't start working out until I was 19 going on 20. It really didn't hit me until I was about to turn 20. I begin to fear that I might not make it to my 21st birthday."

So, McMiller finally acted on what the doctor told her. Instead of making unrealistic promises and going cold turkey, McMiller made small, achievable goals.

"I would try to lose 20 lbs. in a month instead of trying to lose 100 lbs.," McMiller says. "I started to walk in the park, and watching my portion."

McMiller attended a nutrition class where she learned portion sizes and more about healthy food.

"Working out is important," McMiller explains. "However, eating well is just as, if not more, important than hitting the gym. You are what you eat."

She continues, "It's a lifestyle change. It's not about doing fad diets, and then gaining all the weight again. It's all about eating right, and feeling good about how healthy you are."

McMiller said she hopes everyone finds courage to look after their bodies and health.

"To me, working out is just like a second job," McMiller says. "That's something I'm going to get up and do everyday, I'm getting paid in my health. I had to take medicine for blood pressure, cholesterol to look after myself as a teen. I'm off those medication now. Never say never. I thought it was impossible too. The goal is to set small goals which will end up bringing you bigger and better results."

McMiller said the best part about losing weight is being able to ride roller coasters with her 12-year-old and 9-year-old children.

"I was never small," McMiller said. "I never knew how fun roller coasters were. And I love feeling confident when I go to my children's schools. Before, I was insecure and was scared that my children might feel insecure, because I was too big. Now, I take my kids to the gym. It's a miracle."

McMiller has been on Good Morning America, Inside Edition, People magazine and more due to her shocking achievement.

She once wore size 56 in men, and now she wears size 7.

"My new goal is to gain 8 lbs. of muscle," McMiller said.

If you want to look into McMiller's journey of losing weight and regaining her health, visit her website at:

www.marqkria.org

McMiller's personal meal plan, nutrition tips and workout tips are available as well.

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