How a Weight Loss Goal Grew Into a Journey Far More Meaningful


About a year ago, Jamie Goodwin sat in front of her computer for nearly two hours, staring at a picture of herself and deciding if she wanted to post it to Facebook.

In the photo, she sat in the wheelchair she’d been in for the past 20 years, since a car accident left her paralyzed from the chest down. She weighed about 230 pounds, far more than she had before having three children. If she clicked “Post,” she’d be announcing to the world that she was trying to lose weight — an effort she’d tried and failed at for the past two years. Her husband, Will, stood by, like a cheerleader. “Post it. Do it,” he said. She listened. Her Wheelin’ Weightloss journey was now Facebook official.

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In the year leading up to her post, Goodwin had been rejected from two reality TV shows: The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. She’d made it to late rounds in castings but been disappointed both times.

“I was crushed,” Goodwin told The Mighty. “I thought, ‘How am I gonna do this on my own?’”

But when she posted her discouragement on Facebook, Amy Fendley, a local personal trainer, saw it. Fendley didn’t know Goodwin, but she sent her a message anyway, offering her free fitness and nutrition guidance. Goodwin called her and the pair met the next day.

“I started crying when I read her message,” Goodwin recalls. “This was what I needed.”

Fendley educated Goodwin about proper eating and fitness habits. She was the one who initially suggested Goodwin document her weight loss journey on Facebook.

Today, almost a year later, Goodwin is down nearly 40 pounds. She works out four times a week, time permitting. She went from trying any means of calorie-burning — she used to drag herself back and forth on the ground at home — to joining a gym and completing 5Ks.

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Through her Facebook page, she’s connected with people from all over the country.

“It works both ways,” Goodwin tells The Mighty. “I encourage them, but they encourage me. I just wanted people to see that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

While on the phone with The Mighty, Goodwin gets a new email from a complete stranger.

“I was paralyzed in a car accident, too,” the email reads, “I thought it was the end of my life. My weight loss has always been a problem. Seeing this has given me hope. You’ve inspired me. I know I can do it. I know it’s possible.”

“I’m going to start tearing up,” Goodwin says after reading the email. “That lady right there is proof that I’m doing the right thing by sharing my story.”

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