SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A traffic ticket can ruin your day, but for one Lowcountry woman it changed her life. It was the citation that got her on the road to weight-loss success.
It's not easy fighting fat in one of the heaviest states in the country. A map shows South Carolina as one of a dozen states where more than thirty percent of the people are obese.
If you are one of those thirty percent, you may realize you face serious health problems. But you may not know about another potential killer. Researchers have found extremely obese people are 60 percent less likely to buckle up when they get behind the wheel and are 56 percent more likely to die in a car crash.
Janette Colantonio, of Summerville, remembers the drive home from school when a state trooper pulled her over.
"I saw the blue lights behind me and I pretty much knew what the ticket was going to be for," Colantonio said.
Colantonio wasn't wearing her seatbelt. But at 408 pounds, she couldn't get it across her frame. She had not buckled up for years.
She remembers trooper Mark Amos was very kind, but he wrote her up last year in March. A year and a half later, Colantonio asked us to help her find Amos to thank him for the ticket that started her journey to lose over 200 pounds.
"I'm sure there's a lot of things that led up to that point, but that ticket was like reality in my face," Colantonio said. "And I don't know if I would have done it as quickly if I didn't get the ticket."
Amos didn't tell her to lose weight, but to Colantonio, the ticket may as well have read this way: eat healthy foods, exercise and educate yourself about a healthy lifestyle.
"I never believed I could lose two hundred plus pounds in a year and a half, especially without surgery or pills," Colantonio said.
Amos hopes people learn from her.
"It happens a lot with South Carolina's obesity rate," Amos said."Hopefully she's going to set a prime example what you can do and how you can better yourself."
Colantonio's goal is to get down to 145 pounds. As she continues to lose weight, she wants people to join her by motivating folks through her Facebook page.
Her husband calls her an inspiration.
"That you don't need to be heavy. Anybody can change," Matthew Colantonio said."Anything they want to change, you just have to have motivation to change it."