12-year-old sets a goal to get healthy, loses 43 pounds in 8 months

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – If you’re planning to get healthy as part of your New Year’s resolution, this story might provide just the inspiration you need.

A 12-year-old Knoxville girl has lost 43 pounds over the past eight months. No one shamed her, no one told her to lose weight. She just decided to do it on her own.

Her name is Abigail Trempe. She works out hard at Lakeshore Park three times a week, with the support and encouragement of her dad, David Trempe, a local minister.

Sprinting up and down the park’s toughest hills, carrying weights to make the workout even more challenging, Abigail refuses to give up. The little dynamo didn’t have the stamina for her current workouts a mere eight months ago.

“She cried the whole time, ” Abigail’s dad remembers. “She hated it. And so when she said, ‘Daddy, I really want to do this.’ We were like, okay. I said, ‘baby, you can do this.’ She goes, ‘will you help me?’ ‘I’ll help you if you’re serious,’” he told her.

“But I will not wake you up, I will not be begging you to come to the track — you’ve got to have the empowerment, you’ve got to do it, and she says ‘ok.’”

Her journey to health began when she decided to make some sacrifices for Lent.

“Well, because usually on Ash Wednesday you have to give up something you love, and that you just love to do and when I was younger I just loved eating sweets. I don’t know why, I just loved it, so I decided might as well just give it up,” Abigail says.

“It was hard at first,” she admits. “Then, the more I did it, I actually started enjoying it. I felt more, just more … and better about myself about it.”

“I just started feeling, I don’t need this anymore. I don’t need to just eat up all this stuff because, first of all, every single time I ate it, it hasn’t done anything good for me. It just makes me feel not good about myself or just makes me feel all — just tired,” she says.

Abigail has taken charge of her own nutrition, letting her parents know what she needs from the grocery store. She researched what would work for her. Every day, she prepares her own meals. When a crew from KXAN sister station WATE visited, breakfast was two slices of organic multi-grain bread with two tablespoons of almond butter, topped off with a handful of walnuts.

“It makes me feel very proud, ” Abigail says, “that I got from back there to here.”

Before the reporter and subject went their separate ways, Abigail had a request: she wanted to end our visit with a prayer, which included a message for everyone.

As they bowed our heads, holding hands, Abigail said, “I pray that this story really does encourage everybody to just keep moving forward and just don’t break or feel like you’ve failed. Just as long as you keep going and as long as you keep moving, you will never fail.”