After losing 160lbs, a Texas girl fulfilled her childhood dream and became a firefighter. and passing the physical agility test to enroll at her local fire academy.
Penny Leaver, 43, had been an athletic child but started to gain weight in college, and it soon ‘spiraled out of control’ to the point where she weighed 316 lbs. At her heaviest.
But after a serious health scare, the Farmersville, Texas resident got serious about changing her lifestyle and went on to lose more than half her body weight.
When she lost her job during the pandemic last year, Leaver took it as an opportunity to both change careers and get into incredible shape, and recently finished her first round in the fire academy.
People reported that there is a big difference between being fit and being able to firefighter-fit. You use different muscles.
A Texas woman lost 160lbs to fulfill her childhood dream and became a firefighter. She passed the physical agility exam to be accepted at her local fire station academy.
Penny Leaver (43), was an athlete as a child, but she gained weight after college, weighing 316 lbs. Her heaviest
Changes in her life led to her losing more than half of her bodyweight.
Leaver said she had been quite athletic when she was younger, playing sports like basketball and softball and participating on the drill team
She said, “I was healthy and active. I could do anything I wanted.”
She gained weight after she moved away from college and continued to gain as she grew older.
She explained to Good Morning America that she had slowed down her exercise routine and began eating foods that were not permitted in my home as a child.
At her heaviest, she said, she felt ‘horrible’ and ‘hated herself.’
She said, “I would break down in the dressing room trying to put on clothes then go for dinner afterwards.”
She claimed that her weight “spiraled beyond control” and that she felt terrible.
Her pre-diabetes status led to other health issues, such as high blood pressure.
Her doctor told her that she could die from a condition in which she had a high-risk heart attack.
Leaver began a Weight Loss Program called Optavia. She lost weight very quickly. Also, she found her natural self-confidence and ability to lose weight faster than ever before
Her weight contributed to health problems, too: In addition to being pre-diabetic and having high blood pressure, she had dangerous episodes of supraventricular tachycardia in which her heart would race and put her at risk of having a heart attack.
“My pulse was 236, just sitting at my desk at home,” she stated.
Although doctors would advise her to lose weight it was only after her last episode that a cardiologist stepped in and warned her that she might not make it until her next birthday.
She said, “I was 40 and I thought that it would be impossible to make it to 41.”
Leaver committed herself to Optavia, a weight-loss program that helped her lose weight fast. She also found that she had more natural than before.
“I felt incredible and that made me feel better,” she stated.
Within 15 months she had lost 160 lbs.
When the pandemic hit, Leaver lost her job in September 2020 and began emotional eating.
Leaver recalled her childhood dream to be a firefighter, and she began thinking about the next steps. She worked hard at getting into shape so that she could pass her physical agility exam.
She is now ready to start her second round at the fire academy. Next fall she plans to complete her certification
It made her feel like she was a bit invincible. “If I was able to achieve that goal, all other things would be possible.”
Leaver experienced a setback when her job was lost during the pandemic. She then turned to emotional food.
The setback turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though: While thinking about her next steps, Leaver remembered her childhood dream of being a firefighter and threw herself into getting in goof enough shape to pass the physical agility test.
After passing the test, she began working as a volunteer firefighter.
She has already passed her first round at the fire academy and will soon start her second. She plans to complete her certification by the fall.