Fort Wayne native discusses 208-pound weight loss on national TVSarah Horton went into work early Friday so she could get home in time to watch her daughter on national TV, discussing her 208-pound weight loss with singer and talk show host Harry Connick Jr.
“I loved it,” Horton said afterward. “I can’t even find the words … I’m just so proud of my daughter and all of her accomplishments.”
This was a girl who’d struggled with weight issues since preschool. But when 2005 Snider graduate Brittany Horton strode onto the set of “The Harry Show” last week in New York, she was wearing a body-hugging dress that revealed toned biceps and a firm physique.She was also holding up a pair of her fat pants, which she then tossed aside before joining Connick Jr. to discuss the pivotal moment back in 2012 that started her weight-loss journey.
Horton, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., had tried to sign up for health insurance, only to be told she was too heavy to qualify. “You’re a beautiful girl,” she recalls the woman saying, “but she wouldn’t even let me fill out an application.”
Humiliated, Horton went out to her car and broke down in tears. That was on a Friday. Over the weekend she went shopping for healthy food – and a scale. That Monday, she was ready to begin her new life, starting with finding out how much she weighed.
The answer shocked her: 386 pounds. She’d put on more than 40 pounds since having hernia surgery just a few months earlier.
Using a calorie-counting app and switching from fast food to fruits, vegetables and grilled lean meats helped Horton shed 80 pounds by the following January.
“The weight just fell off,” she said by phone from Nashville late last week.
Feeling better about herself, she began going to a gym to work out. It took her three years, and she hit “plenty of plateaus” along the way. But these days Horton carries a healthy-looking 178 pounds on her 5 foot, 11 inch frame.
Strength workouts and high intensity interval training (HIIT) with a personal trainer have been a huge help in toning her new shape and maintaining her weight the past two years, Horton said.
“I’ve got a few wrinkles here and there; it’s not perfect. But when I look in the mirror, I can’t believe my arms. It’s amazing.”
Horton said the invitation to appear on “The Harry Show” came via Facebook message a week ago Friday. She called the number, sent before and after photos, and the next thing she knew a driver was picking her up early Tuesday morning for a flight to New York.
There were two dress fittings on Tuesday, then rehearsal at the studio Wednesday morning before taping the show at 11:30 a.m. Horton was of five people featured on an “Extreme Weight Loss” segment near the end of the episode that aired at 3 p.m. Friday on WPTA, Channel 21.
Each guest offered a weight-loss tip. Horton’s was staying accountable and getting right back at it if you mess up. “Consistency is key for me,” she told Connick Jr.
It’s some of the same advice she offers everyone who’s asked – and there have been plenty of requests since she set up a blog, brittsofit.com, last year. When her brother developed type 2 diabetes last year, she sent him a 15-page customized meal plan and shopping list. He’s since dropped 80 pounds and reversed the disease.
“Brittany is so humble. She will drop everything and help anyone,” her mother said. “She has a big heart.”
Though Connick Jr. had compliments for all five guests, he seemed especially taken with Horton.
“I love your accent,” he said, admiring its “soft” quality – the apparent result of native Hoosier inflection tempered with several years of Tennessee living.
“She’s got a little bit of a drawl now,” her mom said Friday. “I thought it was cute how Harry said he wanted her accent.”
Horton caught a flight back to Nashville after Wednesday’s taping and was back to work as a respiratory therapist the next day.
Unlike her parents – Sarah Horton is a teacher at Children’s Village Early Learning Center, while Gregory Horton is a sales manager at Thompson Dayton Steel in Paulding, Ohio, and works in tailored menswear at Macy’s – Brittany Horton wasn’t able to get off work Friday in time to see the show when it aired.
“I’ve been texting her,” Sarah Horton said Friday. “She recorded it, but she’s going to go work out after work before she watches it.”
Tanya Isch Caylor blogs about postfat living at www.90in9.wordpress.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is the personal view of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.