Behind the CNN 'Military Wife' Weight Loss Story

When deployment slaps you across the face do you let it get you down, or do you fight back?

You may have seen the story floating around Facebook early this month – “Military Wife Drops More Than 100 Pounds to Surprise Husband”  Misty Shaffer, an Army National Guard wife, dropped  100 lbs over her husband’s deployment and surprised him with her new, healthy self at homecoming. Thanks to a coworker who thought her story and journey was amazing and called the local TV station, the whole thing was captured by a camera crew and went viral.

When I reached out to Misty it was because I wanted to know more about the military part of her story. To CNN “Military Wife” is a catchy headline. You could even complain that the only thing the civilian media ever hears about the military spouse community is when “reunion porn” is involved. Why aren’t we about the MilSpouses who do really cool things like start companies and empower their communities?

And those critics may have a point. But to Misty getting rid of that weight was just a part of how she dealt with deployment and, as our friend El would say, snapped herself back. For the day-to-day lives of men and women who struggle with weight loss and the personal empowerment that comes with that this is a major thing.


“I think that if anybody -- man or woman -- can lose weight in great amounts and keep it off it is worthy off sharing,” she said. “I mean starting companies is great, too, but you have to look at what people go through and the obstacles they have to face day to day … [when they have] had weight problems all their life. It’s a huge deal. … People that don't struggle with weight just don't realize the struggles, the hurt, and the pain we go through so to overcome that is a very, very big deal.”

Deployment was the kick in the pants she needed to get her journey started. The surprise at homecoming aspect of Misty’s weight loss was just the icing on the cake.

“Being a military wife and having to deal with deployment made me notice that our daughter needed me to be there for her,” Misty said. “I would be so tired that I wouldn't feel like doing anything with her and I hated that tired feeling all the time. With her dad being gone so long and her not fully understanding the situation, I had to do something to help out with the attention that she would be missing out of from him and also the attention she was missing out from me.”

Not having her husband around eating junk food (oh we have ALL been there!) helped give Misty the motivation she needed to make healthy choices as she was first getting started. She did what experts suggest spouses do during a deployment and used his absence as a positive thing.

“I know if he was home eating that stuff around me I know I would have given up after about a week like I always did,” she said. “After like three to four months things got a lot easier and a lot easier to turn down the junk.”

Misty has kept the weight off for a full year now and is living her life in the healthiest way she can.

“The biggest thing I would like people to take from my story is it is possible to accomplish anything you put your mind to and as long as you stick to it and have a good support system it can go from a dream to a reality,” she said.

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