Editor's Note: As 2019 wraps up, we're revisiting some of our favorite stories from #SomethingGood this year on NBC 5 Today. Get inspired with this incredible fitness journey.
Any weight loss journey is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s the advice Vicki Carter gives her fitness clients every day when they come to exercise with her at Jesse James Fit gym in Flower Mound.
"Oh, I tell them to suck it up, butter cup," Carter said. "If I can do it, you can do it! I did it from a wheelchair, so there is no excuse."
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Vicki Carter knows what hard work looks like because she had to fight to save her life.
"I was hit by a drunk driver in 1999. I crushed everything from my waist down. I broke both my femurs. My left leg was [nearly] severed off in the wreck. I had multiple complex fractures in my right leg," Carter recalled. "I had lost so much blood that they told me that I was not going to make it. The EMTs said that if there was anything that I wanted to tell my family, they would write it down for me."
Carter’s will to live got her out of the hospital, but her injuries were so severe she would spend the next 17 years in a wheelchair.
By 2012, Carter was 455 pounds.
She said it’s amazing how life can change in an instant and how there are no coincidences in life. One day, she had to take her daughter to cheerleading practice. That cheerleading practice was at Jesse James Fit in Flower Mound. It was on that day she met the owner of the gym, Jesse James Leyva.
"I owe that man my life. If it weren’t for that man opening up his doors to me and my family, I wouldn’t be where I am," Carter said. "I wanted it bad enough. It was a mindset. He gave me an opportunity, so I was going to take it."
That opportunity was training as often as she wanted to start shedding the weight.
Carter was able to lose the first 60 pounds on her own. She later realized she was going to need more help to get it all off. She underwent weight loss surgery and committed herself to the gym.
It was full steam ahead from there. Leyva finally got Carter out of her wheelchair and into a better lifestyle.
Carter has lost more than 300 pounds to date and is a personal trainer hoping her story will push others to find their inner strength to make healthy, life changes.