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Raleigh Woman's Weight Loss in National Spotlight

Posted January 4, 2008
Updated January 5, 2008

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— A Raleigh woman's dramatic weight loss gained some national attention Friday.

Susan Caldwell, 33, is a picture of good health, but it wasn’t always that way. Two years ago, she weighed 285 pounds.

“Now, I look at pictures and I just cringe. I can’t believe I looked like that, and I never want to go back there ever again,” she said.

Caldwell says she started gaining weight in college and was in the worst shape of her life in 2006 when she saw a woman in People Magazine in the grocery store.

“I weighed almost what she weighed, and I remember looking at the picture of her, being amazed that she was able to lose that much weight,” Caldwell said.

Inspired by the magazine, the mother of two changed her life. She watched what she ate and began working out.

“You see it incrementally. Each month goes by, you see a little less of Susan, a little less of Susan,” said Bill Clausen with Tone Up.

Her hard work and determination paid off. Caldwell lost 123 pounds and dropped 14 dress sizes. On Friday, She graced the pages of People Magazine’s “Half Their Size” issue.

“The thought of being able to inspire other people like it inspired me was an amazing feeling,” she said.

The key to Caldwell’s success has been taking it one step at a time by setting small goals to reach her ultimate goal of 155 pounds.

“For some reason, the last 7 pounds seem to be the hardest for me, but I’ll get there,” she said.

None of the people featured in the issue had surgery to lose weight. Most said they did it the old fashioned way by eating right and working out.


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  • tangerine Jan 7, 2008

    Great job, Susan. Thanks for the inspiration. In the last year I had lost 25 lbs. but have really been "off track" for the last 2 months. Thanks for helping to "right" me.

  • mommy2caroline Jan 7, 2008

    Congratulations, Susan! I applaud you for your hard work and you are an inspiration to many. Nice to see someone from NC portrayed positively in the media and NOT some toothless scholar discussing the latest tornado. We need more people like you highlighted in the media! :)

  • missparrothead Jan 7, 2008

    Congratulations Susan!! Keep up the great work. Exercise and keeping active is FUN- there are so many different activities that you can do. Plus you are a positive role model for your children!

    I'm 41 yrs old and have a 5 and 8 yr old and almost the only mommy on the beach who still goes boogie boarding with her children (aside from the fact that I like to do it myself if the waves are good!). Hats off to you!!

  • circlecity Jan 7, 2008

    Great job

  • jedichick Jan 6, 2008

    Awesome! I am motivated to get my self healthy this year and seeing articles like this just keepds me inspired! I am so excited!

  • Jenbo Jan 6, 2008

    Actually, Parr, it is possible to drop many sizes and not lose that much weight. It has to do with body composition. Someone who drops a lot of fat and builds a lot of lean muscle mass will lose a lot of inches but not a lot of weight. Since I lost 30 pounds last year, my weight is staying the same, but I'm still dropping sizes thanks to weight training.

  • amypsychrn Jan 6, 2008

    Way to go. May 1, 2007, my husband and I cut out all sugar and processed "white" foods and white foods like potatoes that had high glycemic indexes. He has lost 70 pounds and I have lost 30. Best of all we feel so much better! We also walked two miles a day. And just FYI, clothes now are "cut bigger" now because clothes manufacturers use "vanity" sizing. A woman will pay more for a size 6 than she will for a 10!
    Way to go Susan, keep it up!!!! You are a great role model.

  • uncalumni02 Jan 6, 2008

    Way to go!!! Losing weight and keeping it off is a very hard task. I joined Weight Watchers in May '07 and have lost 55 lbs...I have 15 more to go. It really is a lifestyle change...for the better!

  • redneckdiva Jan 5, 2008


  • Tidbit Jan 5, 2008

    Kudos to this woman!!

    However, something that always amazes me. I know women (at leat 6 in Raleigh alone) who have LOST the amount this woman weighed at the beginning. YES - that means they lost over 250+ lbs each, individually.

    3 of the 6 did it on their own. It's amazing all the "sucess" stories I see, the people are heavy and have lost, but not near the scale that I have seen others. The other 3 did it through weight lost surgery - which contrary to popular belief is even HARDER than everyday dieting. It's not an easy fix as many portray. It's EXTREMELY demanding, rigirous, tedious, and requires even more focus and determination.

    Eh... oh well.

    I'm still happy for this woman! She should be proud! Now the hard part really begins for her. Keeping it off!