A widow has transformed her life by taking selfies every day for a year to help her shed nine stone.
Justine McCabe, 31, was gorging on fast food and barely left the house after hitting rock bottom following the death of her husband John Paul last February.
Three months into mourning she was coaxed into going to the gym by family and friends to perk her up and encourage her to lose some of her 22st 3lbs.
After feeling uplifted from exercising the mum-of-two realised she needed to change her life and started by taking a selfie every day for a year to document her weight loss journey.
McCabe swapped high calorie snacks for clean eating and her large portions for a gym membership where she worked out six times a week.
At the same time she decided to set herself challenges based on things she was scared of such as skydiving, travelling abroad alone, exercise, climbing the Eiffel Tower and more.
Now a year on from her challenges she’s unrecognisable after losing a whopping nine-stone (124lbs) and dropping from a dress size US-24 to 10 (UK-26 to 12).
McCabe, from Los Angeles, California, said: “My husband’s death was a really heavy and horrible time, it was worsened because my mum had died not long before too.
“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 death of my husband shook me awake and made me realise I needed to make a lot of changes.
“After having time to re-evaluate my life while working out, I came to the conclusion I needed to pursue my dreams and tackle my fears – I needed to truly live.
“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.
“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.”
McCabe revealed as she began to shed weight she became more adventurous.
Despite a number of fears including heights and flying, she was able to conquer parasailing, cliff jumping and flying to Paris.
She added: “Before, someone couldn’t have paid me to go skydiving or any of those things, but after my husband died I wanted to face these fears.
“Every challenge I tackled made me feel more alive and brought me back it life, it kept me fuelled to keep going on and living.
“Losing weight was part of that lifestyle change for me, I’d been overweight since I was 18 and was always trying the latest fad diets to get the weight off but it never worked.
“Whenever I’d go on a plane I used to need a seatbelt extender which was embarrassing and I was always ‘the big girl’ to everyone.
“The selfies were a massive encouragement for me, whenever I didn’t want to go to the gym I’d skim through them and realise why I was doing it all.
“Looking back over the selfies gives me goose bumps, I can’t believe I’ve come so far and accomplished goals that once seemed unreachable.
“I now feel like I’m a different person. I chase my dreams and am truly living.”
McCabe started to put on weight at the age of 18, when she put on more than six stone (80lbs) during pregnancy.
From there her weight spiralled out of control as she would eat large portions and countless convenience store snacks, eventually hitting 22st 3Ibs (313lb) at her heaviest after her husband’s death.
She said: “Before I used to eat very big portions, then lots of fried food and sometimes at dinner I’d go back for three servings.
“I was always snacking between meals, I used to eat a lot of processed food like candy, donuts, cookies, anything quick and convenient.
“It really affected my confidence, I was known as ‘the big giant girl’ because of my height and weight, and to deal with that embarrassment I comfort ate more, it was a vicious cycle.”
Seven months into her healthy life she had lost 100lbs, which was a big milestone for McCabe as she was finally able to fit in a pair of jeans she kept since the age of 18.
Now weighing just 13st 5lbs (189lbs) she says she’s determined to keep up the challenges as they’re enriching her life.
She added: “Weighing less than 200lbs was amazing, it was like saying goodbye to the ‘big girl’ that I was before.
“Now people who have known me for years don’t recognise me and their minds are blown by how much weight I’ve lost.
“The challenges won’t stop here, this year I’ve got four more obstacle races, hiking up mountains, more skydiving, bungee jumping and travelling, now I’m just trying to live a limitless life.”
McCabe attributes her weight loss success to her personal determination and also to her online coach.
Jonny Straws, personal trainer, said: “From the very beginning Justine had a goal in mind and would seek the most challenging route to increase her success.
“We shifted a cardio based mentality to implementing weights and a variety HIIT training, also our meal plans adjust monthly with a focus on finding the enjoyment in healthy foods.
“I can’t wait to help her as she continues to elevate her fitness and health to new heights.”
You can follow her on Instagram @hairstargetsfit