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Half her size: Church member shares triumph and tragedy with People magazine



As the new year begins, People magazine and ABC News show “20/20” share stories of Americans who have lost serious weight.

Leah Fernandez, right, was featured on the cover of “People” magazine after losing half her weight. (Photo via www.people.com)

One of them, Leah Fernandez, is director of communications for the Campus Church of Christ in Norcross, Ga. She’s half the woman she used to be — literally — since losing 126 pounds through the Jenny Craig weight loss program.
Fenandez’s story of triumph over her weight is coupled with devastating loss.
“Last May my husband, T.J., ran my first 5k with me,” she told People. “His ankle started to give him issues, but he yelled, ‘Keep going! You can do this!’ The next day he died in a motorcycle accident.”
T.J. Fernandez was a martial arts instructor who worked with Warriors for Christ, which teaches Christian-focused style of martial arts called Tao Hsieh Wu Shu. He died May 6, 2012.
“It took the wind out of me,” his wife said of the loss, “but the inner strength that emerged from my weight loss helped me cope. Even through my grief, I feel him giving me a fist bump for reaching my goal.”
Leah Fernandez isn’t the only church member to drop some big numbers in the past year. Read our recent feature about fitness programs and Christians who have “trimmed the fat,” including Carlee Doggan, who has gone from 600 pounds to 155.

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