Abby Rike is spreading a message of optimism.
“When you feel like your life is out of balance, you can have hope again,” said an encouraging Rike, 38. The motivational speaker will bring her story to Granbury at the Healthy Woman anniversary luncheon Saturday, Nov. 3.
Rike’s life story reaches from extreme highs to the lowest of lows. With a loving husband and two children, Rike described her life as “incredibly wonderful” before a tragic accident changed her forever.
She worked as a high school theater and debate teacher for 13 years. She and husband, Rick, led their school to an overall state speech championship, and had numerous state speech qualifiers and two state champions. She was voted Teacher of the Year in 2003.
Rike’s life was tossed upside down three years later. In October 2006, she lost her beloved husband, 5 ½ year old daughter, and 2 ½ week old son in a fatal car crash in East Texas.
“After the wreck, life as I knew it was shattered,” Rike stated.
For about 2 ½ years after the accident, Rike said she had no energy. “I felt like I was just existing, not really living.
“The Lord and I had a really long conversation. I realized that just existing — just taking up space — was not his plan for me.”
Taking stock of her life, Rike made a discovery. “The mind, body and spirit are so interrelated. It’s like a stool with three legs, if one is out of kilter you will teeter-totter.”
A chance meeting at the gym led to Rike’s participation in TV’s “The Biggest Loser” show in 2009. “I met a woman at the gym who had been on the show with her husband. I started following her blog, and she announced the show auditions.”
Rike admits she wasn’t a loyal follower of the show, but she had watched occasionally.
“Looking back,” Rike said, “I can see that God’s hand was in my every step.
“I didn’t know how to fix my heart. So I decided to start eating better and audition for this crazy reality TV show.”
Rike said she lost 47 pounds during her seven weeks on the show.
“It pushes you to the limits — mentally, physically and spiritually. I was pretty naive about going on the show. I just wanted to be healthy and have life in my existence again.”
Rike said the filming schedule in California, including no contact with her parents or friends, was pretty tough.
After leaving the show, Rike said “everything changed.”
“I changed the foods that I eat — and I work out. Everything about my old life is changed.”
Including the loss of another 53 pounds.
“It all happened very quickly. I lost a total of 100 pounds in 6 months,” Rike said.
To maintain her weight, Rike said she doesn’t follow any fads or crash diets — she just eats “healthy” and is more active.
“You have to set yourself up to be successful. You have to eat that way (healthy) for the rest of your life.”
These days, Rike is a full-time speaker and author living in Houston.
Her book, “Working it Out: A Journey of Love, Loss and Hope,” was released about 1 1/2 years ago.
“I hope it is an encouragement for others to see there’s hope,” Rike said of her book.
Healthy Woman is a free program offered through Lake Granbury Medical Center.
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