×
Woman Lost 160 Lbs And Fulfilled Her Childhood Dream Of Becoming A Firefighter
ADVERTISEMENT

Woman Lost 160 Lbs And Fulfilled Her Childhood Dream Of Becoming A Firefighter

Penny Leaver, 43, from Farmersville lost 160 lbs and fulfilled her life-long dream of becoming a firefighter.

Image Source: Still from Good Morning America
ADVERTISEMENT

Penny Leaver, a 43-year-old from Texas, wanted to become a firefighter ever since she was a kid. She told PEOPLE, "I always wanted to be a first responder." She tried becoming a police explorer in school and was really attracted to the idea of working in the fire department. She has been featured in PEOPLE's Half their size issue and talked about her weight-loss journey in great detail. When she was in school, it seemed like she could achieve this dream of hers. She lived in a house where there was a constant check on the food the children were consuming. She said, "We were counting calories as soon as we could add." She was extremely active and was participating in sports activities like basketball and softball. However, when she left for college, things took a turn for the worse.

ADVERTISEMENT

 



 

 

As soon as she got away from the control her parents had imposed on her eating habits, she started trying out all the food that she never could. She states, "And from there, it just started spiraling out of control and it never got better." She gained a lot of weight over time and four years ago, she weighed around 316 lbs. She talked about how she felt during that time, "I hated myself. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt." She added, "I would have breakdowns in dressing rooms trying on clothes and then go eat afterwards because that was what soothed me." Her weight was also causing severe health problems like polycystic ovary syndrome, pre-diabetes and she had high blood pressure. She also developed supraventricular tachycardia or SVT which is a dangerous heart disorder that can cause heart attacks. Doctors suggested she lose weight but she really didn't understand how her weight was causing a problem.