GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A 20-year-old Florida woman who was 5-foot-5 and 240 pounds, lost 84 pounds to realize her dream today of enlisting in the U.S. Army, officials say.
When Allison Scarbrough of Gainesville walked into a recruiting station in May 2010 she was part of American's growing demographic of fat 18- to 24-year-olds -- in 2008, 39 states classified 40 percent to 49 percent of that age group as overweight or obese.
Scarbrough said she changed her behavior toward food, and modified her eating habits by eating more vegetables and doing away with high-caloric drinks, fast-food and unnecessary snacks.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Terrance Retsch encouraged Scarbrough to begin physical training this past September with the future soldiers of the Gainesville recruiting station.
Scarbrough, who is now an Army healthcare specialist, said the experience has been good for her mind and body.
"Weight shouldn't be something that stops you from doing what you really want," Scarbrough told American Forces News. "Losing weight is a lot of work, but even when you hit a plateau you have to keep at it. My mother didn't think I would follow through with losing the weight or joining the Army, but I did it, and now I'm ready to go."