For many people, a Disneyland vacation is a dream come true. But for Christina Jordan, who weighed 271 lbs. after years of struggling with overeating, extreme dieting and more, a trip to the iconic amusement park became one of the worst days of her life.
It was also a major turning point.
“My family and I waited two hours in line for one ride, and we’re hot and cranky. And when we finally go to sit, the seat belt doesn’t fit over me,” Jordan, a 34-year-old mom of three, tells PEOPLE. “The poor kid that’s manning the ride says, ‘I’m sorry ma’am, it doesn’t fit, you’re too large to ride this ride.’ ”
“I bolted off that ride. And I go to leave, and I couldn’t fit through the people counter. My hips were too wide, so they had to open the gate, and I felt like cattle being brought out to slaughter. It was the most embarrassing moment of my life. But it also opened my eyes to the fact that I had to change.”
“I didn’t want to live the rest of my life on the sidelines.”
After years of trying every diet imaginable, including a doctor-prescribed 500-calorie-a-day plan, Jordan took matters into her own hands.
“I started reading everything I could find on holistic nutrition,” she says. “I decided to stop stressing about being skinny, and just focus on being healthy — wherever my body decided to take me.”
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Jordan began eating five to six times a day, incorporating a lean protein, a complex carbohydrate and a healthy fat into every meal. In nine months, she had lost half her size, and she maintains that weight today.
“I eat five times more now than when I was obese,” she says.
For more on our six Half Their Size stars and their incredible weight loss stories, watch the full episode of People Features: Half Their Size, available now on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) and at People.com/halftheirsize. Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, Xfinity, iOS and Android devices.
The Queen Creek, Arizona-based Jordan now has her master’s in nutrition science, is working on her doctorate, and runs her own business as a nutritionist, helping people lose weight just as she once did.
“I had almost given up,” she says. “I said this is just the size I’m meant to be. But I didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel alive.”
“I realized that I would be the best mom and the best wife, by being the best me.”
Hear more from Christina on The Doctors Jan. 11. Check your local listings.