- Gabi Rose became serious about getting healthy after a near-fatal asthma attack
- She dramatically changed her family's eating habits
- The family now runs 5K races together
- Rose has become an inspirational weight-loss expert
Gabi Rose wore maternity clothes for more than 12 years.
Her weight, which bounced up and down around her four pregnancies, wasn't just an aesthetic concern. She had frequent asthma attacks, broke an ankle several times, developed rosacea and noticed that her hair had stopped growing.
"I didn't realize it was affecting my entire family," Rose said.
Once Rose got serious about losing weight for good, she, her husband, David, and daughter Rachel lost a combined 300 pounds together. A big factor in the trio's transformation was changing how they ate: choosing healthier foods and cooking at home.
"The weight loss in my opinion is the easy part," Rose said. "It's the maintenance that's hard, and that's difficult and takes time and education and understanding."
A family health crisis
Rose had many complications with her pregnancies. She was hospitalized for four weeks because of preeclampsia with her first son, Josh. Her third child, Noah, almost died as an infant. Rose suffered badly with asthma and weighed close to 300 pounds when she was pregnant with her youngest child, Sarah.
Her older daughter Rachel, now 14, suffered weight problems, too. Rachel remembers going to Target with her mother and wanting to try on clothes in the kids' section. But because of her large size as a third-grader, she had to shop in the adult section.
It was hard for Rachel, knowing children were in the other part of the store; she was surrounded by "all these old women."
"Rachel looks at old pictures of herself and she says, 'Why did you let me get so big?' " Rose said. "It probably is my fault. I was kind of lost myself."
Rose tried commercial weight-loss programs, but nothing worked.
She became serious about getting healthy after an asthma attack in 2005, a year after Sarah's birth. Rose was driving her children home from a friend's house when she felt a heaviness in her chest. She reached for her inhaler, but it wasn't in her purse. She panicked and pulled over.
"The only thing I could think of is: 'I'm going to die here on the street,' " she said. "I called my husband and I told him where I was, because I didn't think I'd be alive when he got there."
Her brush with death made her decide once and for all: The weight had to go.
Changing bad habits
In those days, Rose didn't cook much at