By Krystal Hagan
Photo via @pressure.makes.diamondz

Samantha Hurling, 32, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, knew her health wasn’t great, but it was her dangerously high blood pressure—and not being able to do simple activities—that finally made her make a decision to change her life.

What made you decide to finally commit to losing the weight for good?

I'm a mother of young boys, and my health was terrible. My blood pressure was dangerously high, and I could feel myself not being able to do simple daily activities because of my weight (like going up and down a flight of stairs).

Hurling is pictured below before she began her weight-loss journey.

How much weight have you lost and how did you do it?

In January 2018, I had weight-loss surgery (vertical sleeve gastrectomy). My starting weight was 402 pounds and I'm currently at 257 pounds, a total of 145 pounds in about nine months!

Hurling is pictured below in February, down 42 pounds.

Who/what inspires you to keep going?

I'm inspired by lots of people on social media. Some have lost the weight and so I kind of look up to them, and some are just starting their journeys and look to me for inspiration. So that definitely makes me want to keep going and show that it's possible!

You mentioned the positive aspects of social media. Have you ever had doubts about sharing personal aspects of your life on social media?

I did have some doubts at first about sharing my weight-loss journey with complete strangers. I was scared to be judged and made fun of for my weight like I have been my whole life. I was also embarrassed that I had allowed it to get so out of hand. Then I realized this is a complete life change so I had to also change my mindset and leave the fear, anxiety and feeling inadequate behind me. I love to share my story now, but I also like to have boundaries for myself and my family/friends.

Hurling is pictured below with before-and-after photos, two months after surgery in March.

What has been the hardest part of your journey?

The hardest part for me has been changing my relationship with food and developing new habits and coping skills. My life always revolved around food, whether it was celebrating or emotional eating, and that habit is very hard to break. I still struggle with it now sometimes, but I never let it get out of hand anymore.

What is your go-to food/item/app that keeps you on track?  

Some of my favorite snacks would be hot ’n’ spicy chicharrones, cottage cheese doubles, and of course, my ready-to-go protein drinks. The weight-loss community on Instagram is great for support and being able to relate to people from all over.

Do you find yourself focusing more on diet or exercise? Or do you try to find a balance?

I absolutely try to balance both equally. Weight training is especially important when losing the weight so fast because it helps with toning. My diet is pretty consistent but I'm human and have slip-ups!

Hurling is pictured below in April, three months after surgery.

How has your weight-loss journey affected your family?

I'm happier and more outgoing now, so I can see the change when it comes to bonding with my children. I was able to go on amusement park rides with them for the first time this summer, and I know it was a great moment for all of us. I felt guilty for so long not being able to be as active as I should with them, and I am definitely making up for it.

What advice do you have for others, especially moms of multiples, who are struggling with weight loss?

My advice would be don't waste any more time thinking about losing weight and really commit to it. I especially say that to those who are on the fence about having weight-loss surgery. I understand the feeling of being judged for not losing weight "naturally" and being scared about the whole process, but it's honestly the best thing I could have done for a better life. Do research. Ask lots of questions. Reach out to people sharing their journey. Find out what's best for you and go with it!

Hurling is pictured below in September, eight months after surgery.