One of Washington County’s own is going to appear on NBC’s The Today Show on Monday, celebrating a weight-loss victory that was more than a year in the making.
Nell Chaudoin, who some may remember as Nell Haydon when she graduated from WCHS in 2004, will appear on the nationally-televised program with her husband, John, who has shed 88 pounds, while Nell has dropped 127 since last summer.
Chaudoin said it was just time for a change.
“I kind of just was in a rut with my life. Everything seemed like it was going right, because I had a good job and I was happy in my marriage, but I just felt like there was more. I wasn’t eating what I was supposed to and I was just disgusted with myself for eating that much,” she said. “I realized that if one day I planned to have a family, I wouldn’t be instilling in them good, healthy habits. I want them to be healthy and happy and how can I get them to be that way if I’m not that way myself? I just came to a realization that something had to change.”
In May 2011, Chaudoin said she began tracking what she ate on a daily basis and maintained a specific calorie range, while starting her mornings with a 10-minute workout video. Over time, Chaudoin developed healthier habits and changed the types of food she ate altogether, and she said the change has been immense.
“It’s indescribable how I feel, then versus now. Before, I had heel spurs and I was just uncomfortable in my own skin,” she said. “Now, I get home from work and I’m ready to go do something that I want to do. I can go see a local band or go to the gym or shopping in Louisville. I just have way more energy than I did before and I feel more comfortable with who I am.”
A complete change in lifestyle is obviously challenging, but as Chaudoin points out, convincing those around you that you’re serious about the change can also be daunting.
“It was pretty hard at first, just because everybody around me was already making one choice, so they expected me to be a certain way,” Chaudoin said. “Now, if a co-worker brings donuts to work on Friday, I’m OK. I can live without it.”
She and her husband have been on a long journey to get to this point, and while Chaudoin said many of her family and friends in Washington County have yet to see her transformation, she’s had support along the way.
“The excitement level has varied among the people that I’ve told, but overall it’s been really supportive,” she said.
The Chaudoins involvement with The Today Show happened after Nell submitted their story to the show’s website after the couple reached the 200-pounds-lost mark in August. She said she wanted to share their story with anyone who was having trouble losing weight or didn’t know where to start. The opportunity to appear on television has brought a mixture of emotions.
“At first I was really excited, because I thought it was cool that I’d get this free trip and get to share my story, but now, I’m kind of getting a little anxious,” Chaudoin said. “I have to set a good example and there’s a little nervousness, but I’m still really excited about it.”
The Today Show airs from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on NBC.
Nell Chaudoin is the daughter of Bobby and Sarah Haydon, and the granddaughter of Bob Noe and Martha Ann Haydon of Springfield.
The Chaudoins reside in Nelson County.