Today it is hard to picture Theresa Vacanti struggling with her weight.
"I was sort of that heavier kid. I was always the one in the back row of class pictures," said Vacanti.
This Council Bluffs resident says she was always dieting.
"I just always knew that I needed to change. I just needed the motivation to do it," said Vacanti.
In 2014, at 314 pounds, Vacanti was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It was a shock, but also a wake-up call. She decided to join Weight Watchers.
"The first few weeks I was losing like five pounds every week or so," said Vacanti.
The weight was melting off. But, naturally she hit a plateau, so Vacanti decided to do something she had never done, exercise. Healthy eating, mixed with working out five days a week, turned Vacanti into a person she never thought she would be.
"When I pick up my pair of jeans to put them on I think this is not going to fit, this will never go over my thigh and then it does," said Vacanti.
From a size 28 to an 8. Vacanti is now more than half the size she used to be. Her before and after photos landed her a spot in People magazine's "Half Their Size" issue. She says it was like airing her dirty laundry for the world to see.
"If I could help just one person by putting it out there, then it is well worth it," said Vacanti.
It is a tough journey that takes dedication and self-control, but being diabetes free and healthy is Vacanti's motivation to never go back to the before pictures.
Vacanti's husband Eric has gone on the weight loss journey with her. He has now lost 60 pounds.