Erin and Brian LeBlanc took a traumatic life moment and turned it into an inspiration to lose a combined 200 lbs. together.
After experiencing two miscarriages, including an ectopic pregnancy, doctors told the young couple that moving forward with another pregnancy would “endanger” Erin’s health.
“That was really hard to deal with,” Erin, 32, tells PEOPLE of the heartbreaking news. “[Being a mother] is what I had thought I was going to be my whole life, so for that piece of my identity to be kind of taken away from me, was really detrimental. So I ate all my feelings and gained a ton of weight just from trying to process it.”
Brian, who also struggled with his weight, had hit 250 lbs. while Erin reached 200 lbs. They decided they need to make a change after seeing Pixar’s Up.
“The couple’s story is our story. The first few scenes were a bit heartbreaking. They also had a miscarriage and couldn’t have kids,” says Erin. “The whole movie they had these little adventures together, but never really had been on a big one. So the theme of the movie is you have to go and find your adventure.”
She continued: “We wanted to go on adventures and live life to the fullest, but we weren’t in any physical shape to do so. If we had continued to live the unhealthy lifestyles we had at that time, our life together would likely have been cut short.”
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So, a in June 2015, Brian started losing weight first and Erin joined him a few months later.
“There’s no magic bullet to weight loss there are a few small steps over a period of time,” says Brian, who used MyFitnessPal to count calories, reduce portion size and track his 10,000 steps per day. Now 125 lbs. he also started running, having completed seven half marathons to date.
Erin, now 129 lbs., also changed her eating habits and discovered a love of fitness, especially weight lifting, along with him. The Edmonton, Alberta couple also enjoy climbing mountains and hiking together.
“Losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, setting and achieving fitness goals — it’s simple, but it’s not easy,” says Brian. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. When you see the results over time, it’s so gratifying.”
An added bonus was the money they saved through meal prepping and being mindful of their choices.
“We plan and buy our meals for the week on Sunday,” says Erin, who stocks up on healthy staples like lentils and buys just enough fresh produce for the week. “We used to go to the grocery store and load up on fruits, vegetables and all these healthy foods, and then they just rotted away in our fridge while we went out for burgers and fries. We lost money from food waste and eating out, now we have essentially zero waste because we buy what we’ll cook.”
They also have been better about dealing with stressful situations. “Instead of driving to [get fast food] when we are stressed, we will go to the gym or for a run,” says Erin.
The couple, who have also started a food and fitness blog, have also stuck to their original goal of living life to the fullest.
“Since [losing weight] we’ve been on so many amazing adventures together, life is so exciting and we have fallen more in love than we ever thought possible,” they say. “We cannot wait to see what the future holds for us, and what other adventures are out there.”