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How a Newton Falls woman lost 95 pounds during the COVID-19 pandemic: 'I was in charge of my own diet'

A change of attitude and nutrition leads to her golden goal, while the memory of her father keeps her going.

NEWTON FALLS, Ohio — Shelly Tessean was living what she called an amazing life, except for one thing.

“I've struggled with my weight my whole life. In the past when I was younger, I would lose the weight but I would always gain it right back, so this has been more of a lifestyle change for me,” Tessean told 3News' Dave Chudowsky. 

48 years old and married to her high school sweetheart, Ryan, for 23 years with two children, Tessean has promised every year to make a change -- but it never materialized until 2020.

“I really think that the pandemic helped me in this goal," Tessean said. "I was, you know, working from home, I was in charge of my own diet, I wasn't going out and socializing, I wasn't having all those outside distractions."

The Newton Falls resident lost 19 pounds in the first three weeks and a total of 95 pounds after changing her eating habits. While Tessean did exercise, nutrition was the main factor. No sugar or dairy, and nothing artificial, which left her with proteins, vegetables, apples, oranges and berries.

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Her goal is to lose a total of 100 pounds and start to build muscle.

“There’s some pictures I can’t even believe that was me.”

Admittedly a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl, Tessean lost her father four years ago. Emotional eating was initially a comfort, but now he is her inspiration.

“On the day I was born, my dad gave my mom a ruby and diamond ring in 1972, and after my dad passed away my mom gave me that ring, but I was never able to wear it because my fingers were just too chubby. Now, I wear it."

Tessean said she wants to continue to be able to wear that special piece of jewelry. Her change has as been so extreme she has a hard time believing what she looked like before when she looks at old pictures and told us her husband walked right by her in the grocery store not realizing it was her.   

“He just looked at me and he kept on walking, and I said, 'Ryan,' and he goes, 'Oh my gosh, I didn't even know that was you.'"

Not being able to try on new clothes during the pandemic was her main challenge. She went from a size 24 to a size 12. She continues to maintain her new lifestyle by not putting the weight back on and now has a goal of losing a total of 100 pounds while building muscle. She has no plans on going in reverse.

“I’m not going back. I got my 30th class reunion this year."

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