It’s crazy how life can go from happy or even “normal” to a living hell in a matter of moments. Justine McCabe was forced to endure one of those moments that changed her life forever.
Shortly after losing her mother, her husband took his life after a long battle with depression. Though Justine’s mom died from chemotherapy complications caused by her obesity, she couldn’t help but eat her feelings. Losing two of the people she loved the most within just a two-year time span was simply unbearable.
The disasters sent Justine into a downward spiral of depression, and she spent three months barely making it through the days.
Finally, her family came up with a plan to help her get going: exercise.
They were hoping that working out would not only give her a sense of accomplishment in the day but also an opportunity to chase goals and work on her weight. However, everyone seemed to have doubts that she actually had the will power to make the changes necessary.
It was all she could do to get out of bed, much less actually hit the gym.
“I didn’t like what I saw,” Justine told TODAY. “I feel like I look so broken and lost and sad and that’s the reason why I started taking a picture a day. I wanted to see myself change, see if my expression would change.”
And it surely did.
She came up with the idea to document her journey and took a picture of herself every day for a year; day one she was 313 pounds.
After losing her mom and husband, she completely stopped taking care of herself, but her journey was just beginning.
“I was the unhappiest I had ever been,” wrote Justine on Instagram. “I had a very bad debilitating back injury, I wasn’t coping well with the death of my mother or the daily stresses of my life. One thing I did know how to do, stuff myself full of food so I felt comforted. That is no way to live. Looking at ‘before’ pics I often feel sad for ‘her.’ I truly feel like a different person. I am always quick to tell everyone that even though I have lost a massive amount of weight…this isn’t really about weight loss at all…it’s more of a journey to rediscover myself.”
“My husband’s death was a really heavy and horrible time. It was worsened because my mum had died not long before, too,” says Justine. “Having a loved one commit suicide and being in the aftermath of that is one of the most fearful, awful things you can go through.”
“The 365 days of selfies was one of the first things I did; it started during my mourning period—the first one was horrible, I looked so lost and broken.”
But a year and 124 pounds later, people can hardly recognize the woman she once was.
“I made the choice. I have to do something different,” says Justine.
Though her pain ran deep, she refused to wallow in her self-pity and watch her 9- and 12-year-old boys suffer for it. She needed to be strong for them too.
And now, they can ALL fit inside mommy’s old jeans!
Justine knows her body is far from perfect, but she’s found a new inner strength in her fight for freedom that has allowed her to embrace her flaws with grace.
The mother of two used to resort to unhealthy foods to help cope with her fears. Now, she not only eats healthy but has decided to conquer her fear of heights by skydiving and cliff jumping!
“I knew if I could survive living without my husband and mum, then I should push my boundaries and limits to face all fears I had, to live a life they would be proud of.”
No valley is too low that it can’t be scaled with the right mindset! See the snapshots showing Justine’s remarkable transformation journey below!