On December 14, 2009, after I complained to my doctor about heart palpitations after the slightest exertion, I underwent yet another EKG. His words to me afterwards still ring in my head, "The EKG seems to show you've already had a heart attack." Holy Crap! I was only 58 years old, I wasn't ready to check out yet! I knew it was time to do something--ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH. I was tired of enduring all the indignities that go with being morbidly obese.
Subsequent tests with the cardiologist showed my heart was okay. But I knew that would not be the case for long if I didn't get my weight under control. All I wanted to do was get healthier. I knew there was no way I could lose enough to get to a normal weight. I just wanted to feel better.
At my check-up in July 2009, I had weighed in at 328 lbs.
The "Before" picture.
I asked the doctor to look that up later--to verify my starting weight. I never owned a scale until several months into my journey. I never wanted to know how much I weighed. Now I can't keep off the thing! By December of 2009, simply by giving up full-sugar Pepsi, I had lost 24 lbs., and weighed in at 304. This is when I really started my journey of TRYING to live healthier.
I started slowly...I decided I would do no snacking, but still eat the regular food I had been eating, just less of it--no second helpings! Since I didn't own a scale, I wasn't sure if it was working, but my clothes did seem looser. I could fit in 4X's, instead of the 5X's I needed before. In March I joined Spark, which has truly been a Godsend. I honestly don't think I could have done this without Spark, the wonderful resources here, and all the great friends I have made from Spark. I also started walking in March of 2010, when I still weighed 280 lbs. The first night I only got as far as the end of my driveway, less than 2/10 of a mile round trip. Every night I went a little further, even though it hurt my back, hips and knees horribly, I persevered, until I got to ONE mile. That was a huge accomplishment! I bought a pedometer and for months I never missed a single day of walking. Slowly I started feeling better when I walked. It didn't hurt as much. It took me a half-hour to walk a mile at first, but now I can do a mile in 17 minutes or so. Still not fast. My goal is a 15-minute mile, but I'm not sure if my short legs can even go that fast. It's a goal to work towards anyway!
We celebrated Mother's Day in May of 2010 at Red Lobster. I found a way to eat healthy there (no cheese biscuits--it's been a long time since I've had one of those, and I won't lie, I miss them!). I was weighing around 260 on Mother's Day.
I had a goal to get down to the 240's before a close friend's wedding in late June, and I made it. I wore what I considered to be a pretty new outfit, but only one person even commented on my weight loss. I was down 80 pounds, but when you are so obese, it's hard to tell to everyone but your closest family and friends that you have lost a lot of weight!
In July I bought my first pair of jeans in 30 years--at the Lane Bryant Store. They were size 22, and I thought I was pretty hot!! I couldn't wait to wear them to work because I knew people would notice my weight loss in them. And they did! That was FUN!
I set another mini-goal--to be at 220 lbs. by my 40th wedding anniversary in September of 2010. I made it! We spent a few days at a cabin in a state park with the whole family. It was a wonderful time!
My oldest son & I.
I walked to the pool and even went swimming in my new size 22 swimming suit.
It wasn't pretty, I already had lots of excess skin on my upper legs and arms, but I DID IT! We even played a round of miniature golf--I had not done that in many years either--too much walking!
Later that Fall, my son asked me to go to a day at the Pumpkin Farm with my grandson's daycare. I was happy to go--it involved a day of walking everywhere--something I could not have done before--but I loved it. We had a great time!
Duncan & I eating lunch, the one time we sat down all day, at the Pumpkin Farm!
One of my major goals was to get below 200 lbs. by my 60th birthday on Jan. 1, 2011. I made it early--on Nov. 3, weighing in at 199.6. I celebrated by getting my hair cut and dyed!
As the fall progressed I enjoyed buying lots of new clothes. This is a sweater I got at Shopko, I think it's a size 2X!
By Christmas I was definitely below 200 lbs. and enjoyed wearing this Christmas vest I had bought many years earlier. It had always been too small to close in front before, but now it FIT!
We celebrated my 60th birthday by going to a Chinese restaurant with the family. I wore a pretty new suit my son had bought me for Christmas--in size 1X!!
After my birthday at the first of the year (2011), my sons and I started a Biggest Loser Challenge. We set the finish day for early May 2011. It really helped me get to my goal weight, as I was inspired by our $10 from each person to the winner bet we made. I didn't win, but I did come in 2nd!
As the winter wore on--I really enjoyed buying lots and lots of pretty sweaters and other clothes in increasingly smaller sizes!
I was also amazed that I was losing my huge rear end. That had been part of me since I hit puberty and it has disappeared. I am proud of my small butt!!
On April 15, 2011 I hit my goal weight. My goal was 160, I weighed in at 159.2. A few weeks earlier I had hit another huge milepost, when I weighed in at under 164, because this marked HALF of my starting weight. I was officially HALF of me!!
I was able to be outside more, and take long walks with granddaughter and grandson. I actually enjoyed time spent with my grandchildren and volunteered to babysit for them every chance I got!
In June of 2010, I got an opportunity to be in a Diet Cookbook. It involved traveling to a small town in the middle of the state for a photo shoot. They did my hair and makeup and I felt like a model!
This is me at home replicating one of the poses I did at the photo shoot.
Another of my goals was to go to the amusement park with my grandkids. We went in June of 2011 and I FIT on every single ride. It was one of the best days of my life.
We celebrated our 41st anniversary in Sept. of 2011. This celebration was more low-key, we just went out to dinner with friends. That was the day my before and after picture appeared in our local newspaper as well. I got a lot of attention from that!
In October, I returned to the Pumpkin Patch with Duncan and his kindergarten class, looking slimmer than I did the year before. We had another wonderful time!
I asked for a new red coat for Christmas and hubby bought me one!
It almost matched my granddaughter's red coat!
In January we went to the Railroad Museum in Omaha. I had been a few years earlier, and struggled doing all that walking. I was constantly looking for a place to sit down. Now this time....I walked and walked and walked! I loved it!
This spring, for the first time in many years I wore a dress to work.
I still try to walk a lot. I hope it is helping me keep the weight off.
I am having the best time with my grandkids now. They come out several times a month and spend the night and I run around waiting on them, because I CAN!
I am really enjoying buying lots of new clothes.
My new Easter outfit, April 9, 2012.
I am pursuing dreams I had long ago given up. Yesterday I got my paperwork done and an ID badge for the local public school system. I have been hired to substitute teach starting this Fall! I took a class at the University where I have worked for the last 35 years, last Fall, to update my teaching certificate. I am really looking forward to this new phase of my life as I hope to retire after the first of next year!
I cannot begin to tell how my life has changed with this weight loss. I think the biggest difference is the sense of freedom I have. I am no longer limited by my inability to walk very far, now I can walk for miles, literally, and can go anywhere and do anything. Hubby & I were just discussing our upcoming vacation. I can do anything I want!!
My health has improved beyond my wildest expectations. I currently take only one (diahhretic) pill for my blood pressure, which was 128/70 yesterday at the doctor's office! I used to be on 5 medications for BP, and still it measured around 140/90 consistently. My doctor told me that I have added years to my life. Since I'm 61, those are important words to hear!
I won't lie and say that maintenance is easy. I have to work at it every day and I still obsess over food. This morning I weighed in at 149. That is still over 10 lbs. below my original goal weight of 160, but also 10 pounds over the low weight of 139 I hit on Oct. 30, 2011. I'm trying to keep my weight close to 150, all my new clothes still fit, size 10 jeans and size 8 slacks, I can wear anything from a medium to a large in tops, even have one top that is a SMALL. I think that must be a fluke. I am happy at this weight, but do not want to go any higher EVER! And that is an on-going challenge. One that I am happy to undertake.
My advice to anyone who is struggling with their weight is to start NOW on your own journey to get healthy. Believe me, you will never regret that day you start--it will become one of the BEST days of your life. It is for me. And April 15 remains an important day as I celebrate one year of maintenance this year. I am doing it. It's not easy, but it is so worth every effort I put into the battle.