Bride 'ashamed' of proposal pics loses 110 pounds before wedding

AMARILLO, Texas — Excited for her marriage but dreading the wedding photos, a newlywed who says she was 'ashamed' after seeing herself in proposal photos lost 110 pounds before the ceremony.

“I saw (the proposal photos) and didn’t even recognize myself,” Haley Smith told People. “I cried because this was one of the happiest moments of my life, but I was just so ashamed. I didn’t understand how Matt could want to be with someone like me. After seeing those, I knew I needed to change.”

With just over a year to go, Smith, a psychology grad student, knew she needed a different approach to fitness.  In the past, she had tried to shed pounds with extreme diets or workout regimens, and they always failed within weeks.

"With the small changes, I would just pick two habits and after about a week or two of sticking to it, I’d pick two more.”

The 24-year-old from Amarillo, Texas, said started keeping track of her food and water consumption in a log, and started making small changes as she went  — upping her running schedule to three times a week, doing strength training, eating nothing after 8 p.m. and eating at home at least five days a week.

Despite seeing progress, Smith says it was difficult to stay on track.

“Motivation has been such a tricky thing,” she said. “Even with the small habit changes, I go through so many cycles of being bored or discouraged. When I am, I really try to find different ways of staying motivated. For example, I have decorated my scale, I hang motivational quotes and signs all over my house, I love daily goal charts that I can physically check off having completed a task, I bought a Fitbit, and one of my biggest motivations has been starting my fitness Instagram account. It really helps to keep me mindful of all of this while being held accountable.”

It wasn't easy, but Smith kept with it and ended up losing 110 pounds before marrying her husband Matt.  On the day of the wedding, she wore a strapless mermaid dress she never imagined she could pull off.

"Instead of being self-conscious and hiding or sweating the whole time, I was able to feel confident, relax, enjoy my family and friends.”

In a before-after Instagram photo, she had this advice for others wanting to make a change:

No ONE thing made me how I am today. It was a combination of about every health and fitness option I could find. So don't think there's some magic pill, wrap, gym membership, meal, vitamin, app, surgery, diet, workout, waist trainer, book, hypnosis, shake, powder or anything else that will just do it for you. It's finding your own way and using the tools that work for you. It's making the right healthy choices for your body. In the last year, I've made some big life choices and huge lifestyle changes, and I couldn't be more happy with myself. I still have a long way to go on this journey, and I'm not giving up.