JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – After losing 80 pounds, a Cedar Hill woman says she no longer has panic attacks.

Lauren Haskins-Cooksey, 32, once weighed 220 pounds. In May of 2021, she weighed 208 pounds and decided it was time to make a change.

“My panic attacks got so bad that it made me not want to do anything,” Haskins-Cooksey said. “Going downstairs to do a simple load of laundry, I would have to stop and catch my breath. It was horrible.”

When the stay-at-home mom had her second child, Olivia, by C-section on May 16, 2017, Haskins-Cooksey started to work on losing weight. At that time she was 220 pounds. She got down to 160 by May 2018, but then her daughter started to have health issues. The stress of Olivia’s febrile seizures caused Haskins-Cooksey to gain weight as she put all of her energy into Olivia’s wellbeing.

For Olivia’s 4th birthday in 2021, Haskins-Cooksey went to the zoo, and she said it was a struggle for her to keep up with everyone. She said that experience was truly her wake-up call.

She began by using the stationary bike in her home and making better eating choices. Haskins-Cooksey said she used to eat Pop-Tarts for breakfast every day. Now she cooks eggs.

Olivia’s seizures are expected to stop around age 7 or 8, but in the past year, she has had multiple medical scares.

“Every time I would want to eat, I would just take my anger out on the bike and peddle as fast as I could,” Haskins-Cooksey said. “It made me feel a lot better.”

At the start of her weight loss journey, Haskins-Cooksey was biking 25 minutes per day. Now she is up to one to two hours per day.

“It was really really tough to start my workout, but now I crave it,” Haskins-Cooksey said.

Haskins-Cooksey said she used to be sedentary and just walking up and down the stairs to do laundry would cause her to have a panic attack, but after about four months into biking, she said they were gone.

Her husband Richard, her 8-year-old son Benten, and 5-year-old daughter Olivia have been her biggest supporters. She showed Benten a before picture of her and he was in disbelief.

“He’s like that is not you, mom,” Haskins-Cooksey said. “He says some really cute things along the way like, wow, you’re really doing this.”

Now that she has reached her goal weight of 140 pounds, she is working on gaining muscle. Haskins-Cooksey said she does a lot of core work at home and does workouts she sees on TikTok.

She’s now looking forward to going on a family vacation to Disney World and the beach in March 2023. Both are places Haskins-Cooksey has never been. She’s excited to be proud of her body for the first time in a long time.

“I have never worn a two-piece in my life since I was 7 years old,” Haskins-Cooksey said.

She’s also excited to be able to keep up with her kids as they explore Disney World.

“It’s such a different experience whenever you don’t have all that weight on you, and you can go and spend hours and hours just having fun, and you don’t have to be tired and out of breath,” Haskins-Cooksey said.