Remember Betsy Ayala’s name, because she’s going to be your inspiration for how to live your life right after heartache, heartbreak, and devastating setbacks that would make the strongest of us crawl into bed with three pints of Ben & Jerry’s and watch all three seasons of Black Mirror on repeat.
Ayala, in fact, could have done all of the things above. She had good reason to. In 2013, only six months after giving birth to her daughter, she discovered that her husband had been having an affair. At the time, she weighed over 260 pounds and the messages she found between her ex and his new flame weren’t just lovey-dovey, they attacked Ayala, too, with her husband’s secret girlfriend referring to the new mother as a “fat f*ck.”
According to The Daily Mail, Ayala says that she became “lost” when everything she’d been building was suddenly washed away. And with a child to raise and a divorce on the horizon, she didn’t know what to do with herself. So she started working out. And crying. And praying for a change. And as she tells it, the change absolutely came. But it didn’t come in the way that she expected. Instead of reuniting with her ex (whatever, who needs that jackass?), Ayala began to feel better about herself and started loving life again. She knew she had to be strong for her daughter.
She also dropped over 100 pounds, bringing herself down from 262 to 157 as she fought both her weight — which she’d struggled with since her teens — and her anxiety.
She said: ‘I had pretty much had weight issues my whole life.
‘I was always the chubby kid, I never played sports or wanted to take in physical activity because I was overweight.
‘I did get bullied in school and got picked on. I think for me eating was like self-medication.
‘I have anxiety and instead of dealing with the real source of my anxiety I would eat and then that would become the source of my anxiety and I would eat some more and it was just a vicious cycle.’
But now she’s managing both the weight and the anxious feelings she’s always lived with. She’d started the weight loss before she found out about her husband’s affair — they’d been together since she was 17 and she was 31 when he started cheating — but took it further once the pair had split, dropping 50 pounds, starting Zumba classes, and hitting the gym six times a week. Now, despite what she’s gone through, Ayala says it was a “blessing.” And she’s an inspiration to all of us out there who have been beset by awfulness and are still trying to make it.
‘I was always very negative and had a chip on my shoulder because I was unhappy with me,” Ayala said. ‘I’m happier, I’m confident and most of all I’m positive.”