Jessica Weiderhold

Jessica Weiderhold's "after" photo. (Courtesy Jessica Weiderhold / April 21, 2013)

Jessica Weiderhold made every excuse in the book as her weight ballooned past 200 pounds.

After two pregnancies in two years, the kindergarten teacher was eating during a 2011 Christmas party when she had an emotional breakdown.

"I became self-conscious about my weight and started crying about my food choices," she said. "I called my best friend in desperation for help."

Weiderhold's friend, Erin Sinar, was the perfect person to assist. Sinar suffered from weight problems until she started following a Beachbody fitness routine and drinking Shakeology meal replacement shakes. Team Beachbody is a national fitness and wellness program that combines a variety of workout plans, nutritional regimens and coaching, and offers challenges in which participants can win money for their weight loss.

The Fullerton Elementary teacher wanted the same results.

"The great thing about Beachbody is you have a coach, and mine was my best friend," Weiderhold said.

The Perry Hall mother lost 11 pounds in 11 days by drinking Shakeology once per day before she decided she wanted to challenge herself more.

"I told Erin it was time to do something a little more rigorous because by just losing the weight, I was just going to become a skinnier version of myself," Weiderhold said. "I didn't want to just run or do anything monotonous. I didn't want to do a lot of plyometrics with jumping. Beachbody offers a whole array of workout programs. None of them were exactly what I wanted except the Les Mills Body Pumps. I like to lift weights."

The 90-day program she chose helped Weiderhold lose two pounds a week. She says her ultimate goal was to lose 70 pounds by the time she went on a family vacation to Disney World in June.

By the day she left for Florida, Weiderhold had lost exactly 70 pounds. She credits her husband, Jeff — who also did the Beachbody program — and Sinar for helping her lose weight.

"My husband and I both committed to making change," she said. "He lost 60 pounds by the time we went to Disney. I also needed my best friend and coach. I took pictures of myself on the scale every week and sent them to her. I checked in with her about food choices. I did a complete 180 in my lifestyle."

The Weiderholds — who previously didn't exercise and often ordered fast food — now eat homemade meals when possible and jump through sprinklers instead of watching TV.

It's a culture that husband Jeff says was created when his wife decided to make the life-altering decision to lose weight and become physically active.

"Her hard work and dedication day in and day out has inspired so many people, including me, to make a change," he said. "To see her do it while balancing her career and raising two kids shows that there is no room for excuses."

Weiderhold says her advice for others trying to lose weight is to stop making excuses and find a motivation for losing weight.

"You have to commit and you will succeed," she said. "You have to set realistic goals. I used to try and lose three to four pounds in a week. I had to slowly, progressively lose the weight. At the end of every Les Mills Pumps video, they say "Kia Kaha" which means be strong. That's the best advice."

What's next: the Beachbody Challenge

Weiderhold says she was only expecting to receive a free T-shirt when she entered the Beachbody Challenge, submitting measurements, before and after pictures and answering essay questions. She was named the August 2012 winner for the 30-39 age bracket and is now a finalist for the $100,000 grand prize, which will be announced Saturday at the Team Beachbody Coach Summit in Las Vegas.

The stats

Jessica Weiderhold, 30

Before weight/clothes size: 209 pounds, size 16

After weight/clothes size: 137 pounds, size 4

How long it took: Six months

How she did it: By drinking Shakeology meal replacement shakes and following an exercise program called Les Mills Pump.

Tell us your own weight-loss story

Have you recently lost weight and become more fit? Tell us how you did it, so your story can inspire others. Send your information to cmallette@baltsun.com or Catherine Mallette, How I Got Fit, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21202, Before-and-after photos will be helpful in determining whether we choose to share your story.