Weight Loss Wednesday: Arenda Franken


I am so excited to share another inspiring edition of Weight Loss Wednesday with all of you, and to introduce you to the amazing Arenda Franken. Arenda will prove to you what Chris and I have been saying all along—you can do this at home! Pinky promise! 😉 There’s another exciting thing about Arenda—she lives in the Netherlands. Our mission to transform lives has gone GLOBAL! Yay!!! 🙂

Like I said, Arenda achieved her transformation on her own. And by “on her own,” I mean all. on. her. own. She put together a nutrition plan—all on her own. She put together a workout plan—all on her own. She transformed her body and her life—all on her own. Amazing, right?!

So how did Arenda’s transformation begin? It’s an awesome story! Back in February 2013, when her weight had hit 251 pounds, she was watching Extreme Weight Loss and wishing, like so many of you, that she could do what our peeps on the show were doing. During one episode, Chris said, “The only one who can change you is you!” That was Arenda’s light bulb moment, and she knew Chris was speaking the truth. She made that first promise to herself and planned out the first steps of her transformation journey:

Step 1: Put yourself first. Like so many of you, Arenda was a people pleaser. She realized that if she was going to achieve her transformation goals, she was going to have to learn to say “no,” and when she did say “no,” she was so surprised at how those around her were so supportive of her and her goals!

Step 2: Join a gym. Even though it was so scary, she mustered up her courage, and she did it. She started with cardio and weight training, and it wasn’t easy, but she kept at it. She didn’t let anything or anyone get in the way of her workouts, and she watched EWL to help her stay motivated.

Step 3: Follow a good nutrition plan. Here’s what she did: Eat healthy foods (including lots of fruits and vegetables), watch portion sizes, count calories, eat treats occasionally (and stick with a handful instead of the whole bag!), and find ways to make those favorite foods healthier. Recipes from our good friend, Rocco DiSpirito, are some of her favorites!

No rocket science there, because we all pretty much know what we need to do. The hardest part is simply doing it! Well, Arenda followed her plan, and she soon began to see the results of all her hard work, which motivated her to set other goals for herself. One day she said to herself, “I want to be able to run again.” You see, Arenda loves to run! She used to run as a teenager, but when her weight started creeping up, kids started bullying her, she lost a lot of her friends and spent a lot of time at home, and she quit all sports, including running. And she’s very honest—after those first two minutes of jogging she was totally out of breath and tired, but she did not stop. No matter what. As running became easier, her next goal was to run in a local 5K. When she ran that 5K five months into her transformation, she’d already lost 45 pounds! People were noticing her physical changes, and that motivated her to try even more new things: Spinning, Zumba (including a Master Class with Kass Martin and Steve Boedt), Joywalking, Steps, and others. But she wasn’t done yet. She set a goal and trained for a 60K (40 mile) bike race. During the race, she fell off her bike! If you haven’t noticed, Arenda is a no-excuses kind of gal, so she hopped right back on and kept pedaling. A half marathon was next on her list, so she trained—in the cold winter Netherlands weather—and finished with a 2:11 time. By this time she’d lost 70 pounds!

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When she sent me her email, 1½ years into her transformation, she’d lost 93 pounds, and had done things she never even dreamed were possible. Her ultimate goal is to lose 100 pounds, and I have no doubt she can do this. One thing I’ve learned about Arenda…there’s no stopping this lady!

Another thing I love about Arenda is that she knows the importance of paying it forward. She’s sharing what she’s learned during her transformation journey with others, and her health insurance company even featured her in an advertisement to make people aware of the benefits of healthy foods and exercise. How cool is that?!


I’ve loved getting to know Arenda better and sharing her inspiring story with all of you. She’s a great example of making and keeping promises, embracing a “no excuses” mentality, and simply working hard to achieve your goals—no matter what.

There is nothing I love more than hearing (and sharing!) stories like Arenda’s, and in the coming months I’ll be showcasing more amazing transformations achieved right at home. So, tell me…what’s your transformation story? Are you or someone you know on the weight loss journey of a lifetime? I want to hear about it! Send your transformation tales to [email protected] for the opportunity to have your story shared right here on the blog. I can’t wait to hear about all of your amazing transformations!!




  1. Andrea - October 18, 2014

    Hey guys, i see that so many people are having such luck with this diet & meal plan. I am struggling and i need help. Id love if someone could reach out to my at [email protected]

    Thank you guys!!

  2. maddy - October 18, 2014

    hi i m from Pakistan . these all blogs are motivate me .now i start to tranform me . any suggestions for how to start at home?

  3. Michael Barnes - October 18, 2014

    Great job arenda i started my tranformationo on June 1st as of today i’ve lost 64 lbs now after reading your story it will help me keep going with my goals im from Oklahoma thanks again

  4. Arenda Franken - October 17, 2014

    Thanks Everyone for the very nice comment on my story! You can reach your goals if you work for it! Getting a lot of exercise does make a difference. Everyone who is already on their transformation journey: Keep going and you`ll get there! For everyone who`s thinking about starting: make the decision and don`t be afraid to try! The training will get easier when you get healthier and putting yourself first for a while doesn`t make anyone a bad person. When you lose those extra pounds and get healthier, you`ll give those around you the best version of you there can be.

  5. Allison - October 17, 2014

    I saw Chris’ post about this blog on FB so I clicked on it. I’m so glad I did. I’m in my 1st week of transformation and have been doing really well. But today I am in bed with a migraine and was just about to soothe myself with my can of processed comfort food. But this has motivated me to be responsible for my overall health and eat healthy whole foods (luckily already prepared, as you all suggest.) Thank you.

  6. Daphne - October 17, 2014

    Gefeliciteerd Arenda.
    Here also a fellow Dutchie! You are amazing!! Keep on the great work! XX

  7. Vanessa - October 16, 2014

    Hi Heidi, thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us. My very own journey has begun April 23 at a weight unknown to me but probably 113kg at least. Six months later I’m now 91kg and I feel like I am alive again! I’ve watched lots of EWL episodes and one of my favourites was Alyssa I think, young mother of two and supporting her handicapped husband. If she can find the strength to change, so could I. I intend to be a healthy and active mother for my four kids and this is what I am doing: walking, zumba, cycling, swimming, working hard on our farm, everything is good to become strong and fit. I aim to loose 5 or 6 more kg and go on with my training. This is no momentary diet, this is a life-time change!

  8. Nadine - October 16, 2014

    Gefeliciteerd Arenda!

    I’m from Germany and i’m on my way 🙂 (Thanks to Chris and (certainly) you, Heidi!)
    I started at 106 Kilograms in July. At this moment in time i am at 94kg and there is no end in sight.
    I’m so proud of every singe pound that goes away and i feel better every day!

    Good luck to everyone!

  9. Jill williams - October 16, 2014

    WOW~. There you have it anyone can do it but it’s you that has to want it and start it.

  10. Renee - October 16, 2014

    What an inspirational story! Thanks for sharing this, Heidi. I have been doing it on my own since June and have lost 40 pounds so far. I have a looong way to go, but I know I can do it and hearing stories such as Arenda’s keeps me motivated. Watching Extreme Weight Loss is what got me started on my journey (this time). The show inspired me to turn an extra bedroom into a rockin’ workout room, count my calories and keep moving forward. I use the Bode shakes also.

    When I need motivation I just turn to my two best motivators – the mini Heidi on my left shoulder and the mini Chris on my right 😉

  11. NINA - October 16, 2014

    What a great story…Arenda you are shining!!

  12. Debby - October 16, 2014

    Wow!! A fellow Dutchie!! You are an inspiration! You go girl! Good to see we can do this ourselves too!!

  13. karen - October 16, 2014

    This is the kind of story that I love…Bravo Arenda! Look at what you did, what you made possible, what you made your reality!!! Keep it going girl! xoxo A fan from Massachusetts

  14. nimali weeraratna - October 15, 2014

    I must say that Heidi and Chris has touched the lives of some of us all the way in Sri Lanka, wish you al could be here.

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