Soldier returns from Afghanistan to find transformed wife

Jerry Najera, Multimedia Journalist
POSTED: 11:29 PM MDT Oct 06, 2013    UPDATED: 05:58 PM MDT Oct 08, 2013 
EL PASO, Texas -

Victoria Bruce had two wishes.

The first, to see her husband come back safe from war.

The second?

"Feeling his arms go all around me and then some."

It's something she hasn't felt in years. Now, 150 pounds lighter, Victoria Bruce was hoping to show off the results of her weight loss journey to her soldier.

During Sgt. Ronald James Bruce's nine-month deployment, Mrs. Bruce changed her life and her look.

"It's been a very long journey," she said.

Just before he left overseas, she underwent weight loss surgery at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso.

Her Facebook blog show she dropped 45 pounds while he was still here.  But then, the real transformation happened. 

"Over the last eight months, I basically took back charge of my health," said Victoria Bruce. "I went from not exercising to exercising three to five times a week."

And it was her health and her family's well-being that inspired the once-335 pound mom to change.

"I thought I was going to be heavy, the mom at the park that sat on the bench and couldn't chase after her kids and I was just kind of in that sad place where that was just what it was going to be," she told ABC-7.

After seeing one of her friends have dramatic weight loss surgery, Victoria Bruce decided it wasn't her destiny to be that heavy woman sitting on the sidelines.

The grueling schedule paid off. Victoria Bruce lost more than half her body weight and regained the figure she had when she married. And she did it as a "single" military mom, with her husband on the other side of the world.

Sunday night, Sgt. Bruce came home to a very different woman.

While families clashed with their soldiers in a chaotic, loving reunion, Victoria Bruce giggled as she hid behind a pillar, watching her soldier from afar.

Then, the moment came.

She revealed herself to a shocked husband. And there was the bear hug.

"It's pretty amazing," he said.

Victoria, beaming in her slim, red dress said, "This is like the culmination, like the pivotal point of the journey, when he would get to see all the hard work and just to know that he was proud of me."