Betsy Ayala had struggled with her weight throughout her entire life. In her twenties, her weight hovered around 205 pounds—but it ballooned to 262 after giving birth to her daughter in 2013.
While some women make it their mission as new mothers to shed the baby weight ASAP, Ayala, who was at this point 34 years old, wasn't all that concerned with her weight. Aside from taking care of her child, her main concern was overcoming postpartum depression and anxiety.
"My brother suggested that I try to eat better to feel better," Ayala told People. "I had a newborn, and I didn't have the will to cook, so I learned about [protein shakes] and I gave it a shot. Slowly, I started to feel better, and I started losing weight even though that wasn't my intention—my intention was to feel better overall through good nutrition."
The Houston-based marketing manager had lost an impressive 30 pounds (!) when she discovered that her husband—whom she had been with since high school—was cheating on her with her co-worker. And as if that's not bad enough, they were both mocking her weight behind her back. Talk about a couple of jerks!
"I found out through some messages I read on his Facebook where they were calling me a cow," Ayala told The Daily Mail. "He would always tell me I looked fine or would try to get me eat junk all the time, which is why I was so devastated when I read those messages…It was almost like he…wanted me to stay that way."
But instead of letting her now ex-husband's cruelty get her down, Ayala decided to stay strong for her daughter and boost her own self-esteem by making positive, healthy changes. (Plus, everyone knows that living well is the best way to make an ex feel crummy—they don't call it a revenge body for nothing!) So, in early 2014, she started doing Zumba three days a week with her sister. After she became fitter, she then progressed to running and weightlifting six times per week.
Ayala also started eating a high protein diet and cut out junk food like chips and soda. But that doesn't mean Ayala doesn't loosen the reigns on occasion. To stay sane, she allows herself one cheat meal per week. She's now down to 159 pounds and looks better and healthier than ever!
"At the beginning, it was hard, but it's honestly not as hard as you think it is," says Ayala of balancing motherhood and a healthy lifestyle. "Once you feel good and you make that change and you see how amazing it feels to feel good, it just becomes part of your life."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Way to go, mom!