Odegaard, 24, from Fargo, North Dakota, is a senior at North Dakota State University (NDSU), studying to become a Family and Consumer Science teacher, a field that focuses on teaching life skills.
Recently, Odegaard achieved her goal of losing 100 pounds, something she wasn’t sure she would be able to accomplish, she told Fox News.
"I’ve struggled with weight my whole life and I never thought that I would get to this point," Odegaard told Fox News. "It’s just unbelievable that I’m here."
Odegaard told Fox News that though she had successfully lost some weight while she was in high school, she gained it back and more by the time she was in college.
She finally decided it was time to make a more lasting change four years ago, when she was at her heaviest, after having walked up the stairs at her parents’ house.
"When I got to the top, I was so out of breath and I could not catch my breath back again," Odegaard said. "I remember thinking to myself, ‘This isn’t normal. You shouldn’t be gasping for air just walking up 14 steps.’"
"After that, I decided it’s time…it doesn’t matter how long this takes you, you are going to do it," Odegaard added.
Along the way, things haven’t been easy, Odegaard said. She said that after she lost 40 pounds, she hit a bit of a plateau and she started to feel complacent.
"I was OK with where I was at," Odegaard said.
However, she also started to develop some health problems at the time and the doctors told her she was at a high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome, but if she lost more weight, she might lower her risk.
That warning kicked her back into gear and motivated her to keep going, she said.
Along the way, Odegaard has overcome other obstacles, including emotional challenges at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and working on weight loss while being a full-time college student while holding down a full-time job during the last two years.
"There were times when it was really hard," Odegaard said. "I didn’t see the scale moving, I didn’t see anything on my body changing and I really felt like giving up. And that was honestly the hardest thing to overcome, that negative self-talk."
What helped keep her motivated, she said, was "falling in love with exercising."
"I despised it at first," Odegaard said. "And now, I look forward to it so much. It’s the hour in my day where I listen to music and the hour is about me."
Odegaard also said that it’s been important for her to have a good support system in her family and friends and to remember not to compare herself to other people.
"I remember I’ve come a long way in my journey and I’m my own person and I am not doing this for anybody else," Odegaard said. "I’m doing this for myself. And I initially did this for my health."
Odegaard said she’s "almost in denial" that she lost 100 pounds, after doubting for so long that she would get here.
"I just remember hitting that mark and I was just in shock, I just cried," she said. "When you’ve struggled with something for so long, it’s just the greatest accomplishment."
However, she said she doesn’t plan to stop now.
"I’m not where I want to be yet," Odegaard said.
Still, Odegaard has seen plenty of other successes not related to her weight.
"I feel better," she said. "I walk lighter, I can sit easier, I can cross my legs. Those are non-scale victories…it’s stuff no one can take away from you and it feels amazing."