As a 21-year-old in December 2010, Aubrie Kraemer was told by her doctor she might not live past 50.
She was battling bronchitis and pneumonia simultaneously. She already had asthma, but it affected her a lot more because she was 5-feet-tall and weighed 265 pounds.
“I had never been that big before,” Kraemer said. “I knew I was big, but I didn’t think about it as being that way.”
The doctor gave her medication to treat bronchitis and pneumonia. But he also told her that if she didn’t lose weight, she could be on the verge of heart disease, a heart attack or heart failure. The muscles around her heart were having to pump harder because of the extra weight.
Story continues below gallery
“You almost take offense to it when you hear it because you don’t want to believe it,” she said of being told to lose weight.
While that was hard to hear, Kraemer decided to make a lifestyle change. She joined a gym, took exercise classes and planned her meals.
By July 2011, she had lost 75 pounds. Then in December, she celebrated a 100-pound weight loss.
Kraemer wound up losing 135 pounds and has since been able to maintain her weight around 135 pounds.
“It kind of became one of those things where you’re working so hard to do something and you don’t want to let yourself down,” she said. “You want to make sure that you stick with it, and you stay with it because the results are better than dying at 50 because you are overweight. It became a big lifestyle change for me.”
Throughout her time at Seymour High School, Kraemer said she battled with weight issues, but she couldn’t get motivated to lose weight. Once she graduated, it sank in that she was overweight, but she didn’t want to do anything about it.
That trip to the doctor changed her mindset.
“You can’t do it until you want to do it,” she said of losing weight. “When you want to do it, you will be amazed at how much you can conquer with that.”
Kraemer started out going to the gym at least four days a week, mainly focusing on cardio and using a treadmill and an elliptical.
Once she started losing weight, she cut her exercise back to at least three days a week and later added some weightlifting.
She avoided fast food, soda, candy and sugar snacks and turned to all-natural foods high in protein. She ate six times a day, starting within the first hour of waking up and not eating past 9 p.m. She also portioned her meals and used the MyFitnessPal app, where you log what you eat throughout the day.
By the time she had lost 75 pounds, Kraemer was happy to see her work pay off. She also began working at Snap Fitness in Seymour.
“Once you see those results, you want more of it. You don’t want to stop it where you’re at. You want to keep going,” she said. “You run into all kinds of emotions. You feel awesome. You feel great. You finally have hit something that you have wanted so long, and you’re actually doing it.”
Kraemer added the weight didn’t just fall off right away. There are plateaux, and there are challenges when you begin developing muscle.
“But at the same time, everything you are doing, you are doing it for you, and you feel better, and you feel awesome,” she said.
When she had dropped 100 pounds, Kraemer went out to eat with her family; and her mother, Angela Norris, gave her a necklace. She has worn that every day since then.
“For an achievement that you’ve done and you’ve waited so long for and finally get, it means so much to you,” Kraemer said. “That day, she was crying, I was crying. You’re just overjoyed because you can’t believe it.”
Kraemer’s initial goal was to get down to 125 pounds, but she settled for a little higher.
“The more people that I talked with, they kind of made me see that that’s just a number,” she said. “You have to look at it shape-wise and your body. You want to look healthy, and you want to look fit, and you want to feel good. I’m going to push it to stay healthy and to stay fit and to stay active, and that will always be a part of my life.”
A couple of years ago, after having lost 135 pounds, Kraemer went to her doctor after she had passed out. Blood work and tests revealed she was anemic.
“You’re still going to have your small issues even though you lost weight,” she said. “There’s just things that you have to intake more on … and I had to intake more protein.”
Other than that, Kraemer’s doctor was happy with what he saw. He told her she was always healthy, lively and high-spirited, but that was kicked up a notch because of the weight loss.
She also had to shop for new clothes, going from size 20 to 5/6 and extra-large to small.
“I cut my (health) risk in half,” she said. “(The doctor) was like, ‘Your blood pressure is down. Your rates are almost half.’ You don’t know that until you see those changes. You don’t realize how much you are carrying around until you see it in full effect, and you feel better with it.”
The hard part was to maintain her weight, but she managed to do so.
“There was nothing wrong with that person before. She was beautiful, and she was lively, and she was great,” she said. “But I don’t want to be that person. I want to be this person, and I want to maintain it.”
Besides continuing to eat right and exercise, Kraemer said it helped to have a good support system, including family, friends and co-workers.
“Without the support, nine times out of 10, you are more likely not going to keep at it,” she said. “You have to make sure in some way that you’re still active throughout your day. You don’t want to give that part up because you’ve worked so hard. Why would you want to put it down now?”
Working at Snap Fitness, Kraemer has had the opportunity to help members exercise and lose weight.
Kraemer said it has never been her intention to boast about her weight loss. But she’s OK if her telling her story inspires others.
“When you’re helping somebody (lose weight), and then you see them change in that way, it’s very, very cool to see,” she said. “It’s something you can never describe. It’s just a very happy feeling.”
Name: Aubrie Kraemer
Occupation: Works at JMA Railroad Supply Co. and Snap Fitness, both in Seymour
Family: Mother, Angela Norris