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Renee's struggles with her weight began when she was six years old. SIX YEARS OLD! She often felt alone, like she wasn't good enough, and food was her "friend".  There was a void in her life. Food was always there to fill it. 

Growing up Renee remembers shopping for clothes in the Pretty Plus department, but sure didn't feel pretty. Junior High was the worst. Her peers were relentless with taunts and her feelings of insecurity grew. She was called "Shamu" and wasn't allowed to sit on seats on the bus - having to pretend to be sitting on an edge of the seat. Renee's mom tried to help. Renee begged her to let her follow Weight Watchers® which her mom was doing. She tried, but she was always hungry and cried knowing she just couldn't do it.

The teasing eased up in high school a little, but the weight didn't. Despite attempts at the Vinegar Diet and Cabbage Soup Diet, Renee was still obese. There were a lot of 'nevers' for Renee: Never a date. Never a prom. And, on Valentine's Day, when others were getting carnations in school, there was never a carnation for her. Never seemed to be her theme when it came to weight loss. And she came to believe that she would never be able to stick with anything.

After graduating Renee got a job at her local Ames store. Constant walking and not enough time for eating did help the pounds to come off. But she'd grab a Pepsi and Peanut M&Ms and think she had done so well. She had no idea what healhty eating looked like. It was here at Ames in Maine, more than 25 years ago, that she met a young co-worker named Will Parker. They started dating and fell in love.

Dating brought new challenges. Every night she and Will would share a pizza. That, combined with moving to a desk job, caused the pounds to start coming back on again. Will never said a word and loved her even as she began to re-gain the weight she had lost. After marriage came their first son, Dan. Then their second, Matt. 

It was after the birth of Matt that Renee was diagnosed with MS. She was well on her way to 300 pounds and the weight combined with the disease made even walking painful. Weight loss seemed impossible. But still Renee tried various times at her old stand-by, Weight Watchers. Even though Renee was counting points, they mostly came from carbs and the unhealthy eating continued. She would lose the same 30-40 pounds over and over again.

It was in 2011 that Renee's sister decided to to have weight loss surgery and suggested Renee join her. Renee wanted to get thin, too! But when she approached Will, her supportive husband, put his foot down firmly. "You can do it without surgery. But you have to stick with something! No quitting this time." He was serious.

"Ooooh boy. I have to do this!" Renee felt awful. She was down to her last pair of pants and had no where to turn. At the beginning of 2012, she bought a 12 week pass to Weight Watchers and tried one more time. When, several weeks after starting, Renee still weighed the same thing, she decided to try something different. She had been getting Kim's eNews for a long time, had read her book, and had seen her success story online. God was trying to tell her something.

Renee remembers it like it was yesterday. She made the decision to join right after they got back from a Florida family vacation. It was in Florida, at a Chick-fil-A restaurant, that Renee's before head shot (right) was taken. 

Renee was down to a few jumpers and one pair of pants that fit. She was desperate. And she joined the site on May 7th 2012. 

Renee would like to say that that was it. She started eating healthy, staying on program 100% and lost her weight. But the truth is, Renee had a lot to learn about healthy eating. It was one day in July that was Renee's turning point. She called the Center and had her first 1-1 with Kim. After chatting for a while Kim asked her what she had eaten so far and Renee had to honestly admit that her breakfast was chocolate chips and sunflower seeds. "That's okay. We'll fit it in!" was Kim's answer. They proceeded to carefully plan two full days together and Renee hung up with a better understanding of PREplanning, a grocery list and a new resolve. The weight loss picked up. As a matter of fact, her WW leader actually told her she was losing weight too quickly and made her get a note from her doctor. (Her doctor, by the way, was thrilled with Renee's weight loss!)

After that, it was a matter of planning a well-rounded day and following her plan through. Renee notes with wonder that she has gotten so much support and has felt such a part of the Center in Connecticut despite the distance to Maine. By the following June Renee had lost 100 pounds! The last 30 pounds have made Renee face a few fears as she has stepped into the unknown. But her faith in God and unconditional love and support from her family helped her conquer those battles. Little by little, pound by pound, Renee finally reached her goal weight on January 13th, 2014. She has lost 131 pounds and has gone from not being able to walk much at all to loving walking, riding her incumbent bike and going to the gym. 

Besides eating healthy, Renee has learned one more very important thing ... never say never!

A SIDE NOTE FROM KIM: As a side note, I'd like to mention how much Renee has changed in other ways. Her self-confidence has slowly grown. Everyone here at the Center knows and loves Renee and looks to her for her unwaivering encouragement and often-times guidance for finding joy in the simple things of life: her boys, her husband, homeschooling and staying busy with where God has her in Maine. Renee complains little and gives much. And the biggest treasure I will store in my heart is seeing this quiet, lovely woman grown in confidence and humor. 


Renee wants to thank Kim, her staff all her kimmie friends who believed in her long before she believed in herself; her two wonderful boys and her best friend and husband, Will. But first and foremost Renee gives thanks and all the glory to God. Her favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Come on ... it's YOUR turn now!