"Why don't you just lose weight?"
This question was addressed to me by a Doctor, as I sat on an exam table, wearing nothing but a paper gown. This woman probably weighed all of 110 pounds, soaking wet.
I had tipped the scales that morning at 298 pounds, which wouldn't be a problem if I was a 6'5" defensive lineman, but I am a 5'2", middle aged homemaker. At this weight I used to joke and say that I was as wide as I was tall. My blood pressure was 130/90 that morning. My Doctor informed me that I would need medication if my blood pressure continued to rise. I would also learn, after blood test results came back, that my cholesterol was high.
I left the Doctor's office in tears. I felt fat and disgusting. Knowing the health risks I was up against because of my weight, still did not motivate me to lose weight. I had been overweight my whole life. This was how I was meant to be. Losing weight was impossible...or was it?
As I sit here this morning, thinking back to that morning in the Doctor's office, I am overcome with emotions. My tears are not from sadness, but from joy. Looking back at the life that I led when I weighed 298 pounds: unhappy, very low energy, tired all the time, not being able to fit comfortably, (or at all) into restaurant booths, chairs, and movie seats, not being able to walk up the stairs in my home without being left breathless, aches and pains, and not being able to find clothes that would fit me, compared to the life I lead now: healthy, energetic, enthusiastic, happy and fit, I wonder why I waited so long to make the lifestyle change towards health and wellness. It's not that I didn't want to be healthy and fit, or enjoy living in a society that is designed around thin people. I was overwhelmed with the idea of losing 100 plus pounds. I didn't think I was strong enough or could make the drastic changes that I would need to in order to lose weight. At that weight, my diet consisted of a lot of fast food, processed food, very little fruits or vegetables, and a lot of sweets and desserts. I felt that losing weight was hopeless.
As many of you know, my husband was the first one to make changes towards a healthier lifestyle, after reading the book, "The End of Overeating" by Dr. David Kessler. I have admitted to him that when he first decided to make these changes, I was mad...not mad at him, but mad at myself because I didn't think I would be able to make changes as well. If it wasn't for him, I would not be where I am today. I've been asked if I had an "AH-HA" moment that made me decide to lose weight, but I think I had more of a small thump on the head! After watching him for about three months, something clicked in my head...I saw him eating healthy, well proportioned meals and going on daily walks. These changes were resulting in weight loss and a higher level of energy. I should not have been surprised, but I was. We live in a society where we are surrounded by ads for fad diets, diet pills, cleanses, etc.
"About 95% of fad diets fail", says Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist at NDSU. "Put another way, only 5% of dieters are able to maintain a significant weight loss, which means a drop in weight equaling 10% or more, of what they weighed before they began dieting".
"Making positive lifestyle choices, such as exercising and healthy eating, can prevent illness and help you live longer, leading experts say. Healthy choices you make now can help you feel better and prevent health problems before they occur. Food fads and diet trends come and go, but healthy eating and exercise have been proven time and again to be the basics of having a longer life expectancy." -Jessica Cooke, Livestrong.com
We come to believe that this is the only way that weight loss can be obtained. If we go back to the basics of good nutrition, and are mindful of our proportions, weight loss is possible. It took me two years of hard work, dedication, and a lot of sweat, to lose 150 pounds. I have maintained my weight for the past two years, by continuing to be very mindful of what I eat and by exercising six days a week, using the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home program.
It is not unusual to find me with my head buried in a cookbook, getting really excited over a new recipe that has been added to my favorite Vegan Delish app, or reading an article on health, wellness, and fitness. If someone would have told me five years ago that I would become a health nut, I would have laughed out loud! Sharing my weight loss story has resulted in many new friendships, and I cherish each and every one of them. I receive messages from people that I did not even know were aware of who I was, telling me that because of me, they have changed their lifestyle and are seeing results from these changes. I am honored to be called an inspiration, and hope to continue inspiring others to not be afraid of taking that first step towards a healthier lifestyle.
Here's to many more years of good health!!