At 266 pounds, Jody Drollinger said her life was depressing, dreary and joyless.

So in January 2014, the 43-year-old set out on a weight loss journey by exercising and cutting out fast food and soda from her diet — and has since shed an impressive 126 pounds!

“This journey has been one of the best accomplishments I have ever achieved — and it’s just getting started!” the Pine Grove, Calif. native exclusively told ‘Closer.’

Read on to find out how Jody successfully lost the weight and turned her life around!

  • What was your life like before the weight loss?

My life was a complete mess. It was depressing, dreary and joyless — not to mention life-threatening! I lived on fast food and soda. I avoided social situations, family and friends. It was a life void of happiness.

weight loss wednesday: jody

(Photo Courtesy of Jody Drollinger)

  • Was there a specific event or moment that triggered your weight loss?

I was in need of shoulder surgery, and during the consultation with the surgeon I was told I couldn’t [undergo the operation because] they feared I wouldn’t [survive]. I was told if I didn’t lose a significant amount of weight, I would be dead in 10 years.

  • How did you get started with your weight loss journey?

My doctors gave me the option of gastric bypass, but if I wasn’t fit enough for shoulder surgery, how could I make it through the bypass surgery? That gave me just one option — to do it the hard way! On Jan. 2, 2014 I took my first steps into the gym and have probably [taken] a million since. My exercise of choice at the time was the recumbent bike. I also knew I had to make some serious lifestyle changes with my diet and sleeping patterns.

Related Story: Kelsey Lost 50 Pounds to Feel Comfortable in Her Body Again!

  • How does it feel now that you’ve lost the weight?

There are too many words to describe how I feel! Fantastic! Wonderful! Happy! Joyous! Light! I had a close friend tell me that “I found my smile” and they are right. My life before had nothing in it to
make me smile, and now I can’t stop. This journey has been one of the best accomplishments I have ever achieved — and it’s just getting started!

To submit your own weight loss story, email