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Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 25
Ashley Hylton conquers Extreme WeightlossLocal resident drops 164 pounds to become the person she was meant to be
BY SHELLY CONE
Many people have fantasized at least once about running into an ex or attending that high school reunion and causing jaws to drop in awe. Last week, Ashley Hylton got her moment.
After a year of diets, workouts, and lots of emotional ups and downs, Hylton revealed a svelte new body and a positive mindset to a crowd of supporters. But for Hylton, the change was more about health, longevity, and the love of her family than it was about impressing a few old friends.
After appearing on this season’s Extreme Weightloss, Hylton had gone from 325 pounds the year before to 161 pounds at the show’s finale.
“It was kind of unreal. It was definitely not like a real-life situation,” Hylton said.
She said that before the weight loss she and her family struggled to enjoy life. They couldn’t travel because they would have to buy two plane tickets in order to fit in the seats. They couldn’t take their son, Tyler, to Disneyland because they couldn’t fit on the rides. Even playing with him at the park was difficult because Hylton couldn’t fit on the playground equipment. She worried she wouldn’t be around to live a long and fulfilled life with her family.
Hylton’s sister, Stephanie Butterfield, also said she feared for her sister’s life when she was overweight. Butterfield said that whenever Hylton would visit her and sleep on the couch, she would have to sleep upright so she wouldn’t stop breathing.
“I felt as if losing the weight was something that would save her life,” Butterfield said.
On the show during her reveal finale, Hylton told the story about how her daughter was born prematurely and died within her first two hours of life. Hylton believes it was because her body wasn’t able to carry her to term.
“Before, I felt I was just existing and there was no purpose to life,” she said.
Getting on the show wasn’t easy but it was necessary, Hylton said, for her to change.
“Both my husband and I are comfort-zone people. Being in front of people is not my favorite thing. To make change, I knew I’d have to do something uncomfortable,” she said.
She auditioned for the Biggest Loser several times, each time getting further and further in the process. Then she got a call from the show’s producers telling her she wasn’t right for the show but that they thought she’d be right for another show called Extreme Weightloss.
Hylton credits her family’s support as the key to her success, and her journey inspired those around her as well. She was expected to work out four to five hours a day. Every day she worked out two hours with her trainer Stephanie Kennedy at Central Coast CrossFit. Her cousin, Tanya Lee, would come over every morning to run three or four miles with her. In the process, Lee lost 35 pounds.
Hylton’s husband, Jason, joined in and experienced his own success, starting out at 398 pounds and getting down to 228 pounds.
“Without him doing this with me, I would not have been successful. Sometimes I wouldn’t want to work out and he’d try to get me up and then I’d hear him working out and I’d get out of bed,” Hylton said.
Butterfield said the weight loss that Hylton and Jason experienced came as a relief to family and friends.
“It almost makes me cry. Even just when she lost 40 or 50 pounds, you could see such a drastic difference. You saw this light. She had a glow. Both Ashley and Jason, you could see this new person inside them. The people they were meant to be,” Butterfield said.
Their son, Tyler, was also affected in a positive way. Tyler was 4 years old when Hylton started her weight loss efforts and now is 5.
“His teacher was giving out cupcakes and offered him one and he said ‘Oh, no, no, no. That’s not going to make me run faster,’” Hylton said.
She said the hardest part about her journey wasn’t so much the food or the exercise, it was the mental part and trying to figure out how she got that way in the first place. But she has hope for a new future.
“I didn’t want my son to have all his memories to be about playing video games and watching TV. I want us as a family to experience life, create memories, and live as healthy a life as possible,” Hylton said.
Contact Contributor Shelly Cone through Executive Editor Ryan Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.