Mom Won’t Let Wheelchair Keep Her From Losing Weight

Jamie Goodwin proves that anyone can lose weight -- even paraplegics.

April 30, 2014— -- Losing weight is tough for anybody, but Jamie Goodwin has to do it from a wheelchair.

Goodwin, a 38-year-old mother of three from Georgia, became paralyzed from the waist down when she was 17. She continued cheerleading from her chair and even entered the Miss Wheelchair America pageant, but after she got married and went through three pregnancies, her weight snowballed.

“I gained 60 pounds in one year,” she said, admitting that she had terrible eating habits and a “massive sweet tooth.” And she wasn't alone in her battle with weight. A 2007 University of Michigan Health System study found that about 60 percent of people with spinal cord injuries are overweight.

In 2012, Goodwin submitted a video audition to be the first paraplegic contestant on the weight loss realty show, "The Biggest Loser." She figured that if she could lose weight, it would send the message to America that anyone could do it.

Goodwin put the audition video on YouTube, and it got 10,000 hits in one day, she said, prompting the show to fly her to Los Angeles for a final round of auditions. But they ultimately chose not to have her on the show.

The following spring, Goodwin auditioned for "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition." Once again, she made it to the final round of auditions but wasn’t chosen.

“I was completely bummed,” Goodwin said. “I’m a really happy person, but I was really sad that day.”

Then, local professional trainer Amy Fendley Goodwin a message on Facebook offering her services for free. Fendley showed Goodwin exercises she could do from her chair, like boxing and pulling something called a battle rope.