Overcoming obstacles to fitness

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ST.  LOUIS (KTVI) - FOX2 / News 11’s Kim Hudson tells how the women in her family faced down tight schedules, tight budgets and neighborhood crime as barriers to their fitness goals.  So far, they lost a combined 300 pounds.

I have seen several of my aunts and uncles die from obesity-related illnesses.  I thought my young sisters and cousins would be next.  Then one of my cousins, 37-year-old Randi Hudson, became a personal trainer.  She is ripped.  But in 2010, she was 85-pounds heavier.

“Just living a fast life.  Didn't really have time to cook dinner,” admitted the divorced mother of two.  "I felt I was not being the best mom, and I didn't know how to change it.  It began to stress me out.  So, I ate more.  It was crazy.”

She said she noticed when she needed more coffees just to get going in the morning.

"Getting up and down the steps at 34 was an issue.  I knew I had to do something about it."

Her then 16-year-old son Kenneth Raymond helped his little brother Stevenand his mom get started on their own weight loss with the Insanity fitness DVDs.

"I thought it was completely impossible.  Even on the first day.  I remember sitting on the ground, during the DVD while it was playing saying, ‘KJ, I can't do this.’  I was almost in tears.  It was difficult."

She lost almost 10 pounds in a few weeks, but suffered a devastating setback during the holidays in 2010.  She hit the reset button in January, 2011.

“This time, I chose to start and not to stop.”

She also leaned on her younger son, Steven Raymond, as she shrunk to a size 4 while squatting 275 pounds.

"I saw little girl muscles,” she looked at her arms.  “I didn't get all bulky, like a man."

She became a business owner, with a franchise in the Look Good Naked fitness program.  She started the web to train clients all over the country.  But, she noticed the grip that obesity still had on her family.

"And I didn't want to force it down anyone's throat, so I used social networking as just an avenue to continue to talk about it and talk about my journey and even the difficult things.  Like, 'Oh, I don't want to get up and workout, but I'm going to do it anyway.' And then afterwards, I talk about how great I felt."

Those posts, and help from coworkers helped single-mom Shahieda Hudson and married mother of three Shakir Johnson.  The 37-year-olds helped each other, as well.

“We're twins!” they laughed.

They are also my little sisters.  But their weight maxed out at 325 pounds, before they were 30 years old.  One day, Shahieda was wearing one of her favorite t-shirts -- a man's double extra-large.

"And when I looked down at my arm, the sleeve of the t-shirt had creased my skin,” she admitted.  “And, that is when it dawned on me that maybe I had gone too far."

They started running.  They lost a hundred pounds, each.  So, not even crime near their North St. Louis homes would stop their afternoon jogs.

"I've seen people who are driving along,” Shahieda said.  “That are shocked or the people that are sitting on their porches that are like 'You go girl!' You get the horn blows."

The ladies acknowledged that finances could be a barrier to fitness.  But, they overcame that by going green and tire-flipping.

“It's a passenger tire, a mid-sized vehicle tire, it's an Accord tire,” Shakir admitted.  “I was told by the guy who gave me the tire that you can flip a moped tire long enough, and it's a workout.”

Flipping right with them was our cousin, Vanessa Hudson.  She is a 36-year-old married mother of two.

"I was 264 pounds.  I have gotten down to 234 pounds,” she smiled.  “In about three months.”

Vanessa admitted that her appetite was a big hurdle to the body and life she wanted.

"People don't know when they are full.  So, you'll eat just a little bit more just to say, ‘Oh, that was so good I just want another bite,’” she got straight to her point.  “Completely stop.  You have to portion what you are eating."

She recently started joining Shahieda and Shakir on their jogs through the neighborhood that has seen its share of gang violence and drug activity.

"I'm kind of used to the raucous.  It's like you kind of see it and you don't.  So, you just kind of hey this is for my health and this is what I'm going to do,” she said.  "Sometimes, you have to have that 'I'm not going to let nobody stop me' kind of attitude."

Vanessa agreed with Randi and the twins.  She admitted that she could never lose the weight alone.

"I had been working out for awhile.  The, I would stop,” she explained.  “And then, I would start again.  And then, I would stop again.  But when you have someone to do it with, it's so much easier.  It's a little bit more encouragement."

These busy women are getting healthy, motivated by the biggest responsibility in their lives:  their families.

“I feel like there's no excuse, because I need to be here for them,” Vanessa said.  “No excuses.”

You can learn more about Randi Hudson's weight loss and tips for staying fit at https://www.facebook.com/lgnbootcamp.

Friend me on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/KimHudsonTV
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimhudsontv
Email me:  kim.hudson@tvstl.com

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