Master Sgt. Christopher Hughes was amazed by how his wife Geralynn looked after losing 120 pounds. She lost the weight while her husband was deployed in Afghanistan.
Courtesy of Hurlburt Field
When Master Sgt. Christopher Hughes returned last week from a deployment to Afghanistan, his family was one person smaller — kind of.
His wife, Geralynn, had lost 120 pounds while he was away for four months.
Christopher, 37, knew his wife was working hard to lose the weight, but he didn’t realize until he saw her what that really meant.
“When they were walking up, I recognized my sons, but when I saw her, it really didn’t click until I got closer,” he said.
Christopher said he was talking to his commander when he recognized his wife.
“It’s great seeing you guys, but I’m going to talk to this girl right now,” he told them.
He walked over to his wife and picked her up, telling her how proud he was of her.
“Oh my gosh, look at you,” Christopher told his wife. “Wow, the hard work has really paid off.”
Geralynn, 37, had gastric sleeve weight-loss surgery in December, but that was only a part of her journey. She changed her eating habits and began a strenuous exercise routine.
“I got the kids involved, helping make healthy meals,” she said.
The process began six months earlier, with surgical, nutrition and mental health consultations to prepare her for the loss. She also took up running and CrossFit to help her get in shape.
“They wanted to make sure everyone going through the program is physically and mentally ready for the process — because it is a lifestyle change,” Geralynn said. “It is a great lifestyle change.”
Even though her husband said he loved her as she was, she was ready for a change.
“I was 300 pounds and tired of being overweight. I wanted to be healthy for the kids and be a good role model for them and my husband.”
Christopher, formerly of Hattiesburg, is stationed at Hurlburt Field, an Air Force base in Okaloosa County, Florida.
Christopher’s family is from Hattiesburg, but they lived in Pennsylvania until returning to the Hub City around 1996. He left four years later to join the military.
His parents, Barbi and Glenn Hughes, have moved to Ocean Springs, but his aunts, uncles and cousins still live in Hattiesburg.
Christopher and Geralynn met through the Air Force when she was active duty, too.
“He said I’m smaller than when we first met,” Geralynn said. “That’s amazing.”
The Hughes say the support system at Hurlburt encouraged Geralynn to keep going.
“With everything she went through and the support she’s gotten on base here with other people that were in the same journey, it was pushing her even further,” Christopher said.
“It makes it easier doing my job, knowing my home life is taken care of.”
While Christopher was away, the couple would talk about Geralynn’s progress, but he purposely didn’t see his wife so he could feel the full impact of her weight loss when he got home.
“Every conversation that I had with her, I could hear it in her voice,” he said. “Her confidence level was going to be higher and higher.”
Geralynn shared her CrossFit routines, and Christopher added them to his regimen.
“Her journey was pushing me even harder to workout there,” he said. “I wanted her to be as proud of me as I am of her.”
Sons Tarquin, 13, and Andrew, 10, also benefited from their mother’s weight loss. Andrew was worried about gaining weight and was afraid of eating, “but now he’s not so afraid to eat.” Tarquin lost 30 pounds from changing his habits, including drinking water and working out.
Geralynn said she would like to lose another 30 pounds and plans to keep working toward that goal. Still she is proud of what she has accomplished.
“It felt amazing,” she said. “It was nice to feel my hard work paid off.
“It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.”
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Husband returns home from deployment; wife surprises him with 120-pound weight loss