I often say I am a "Work in Progress." I'm sure I will never be satisfied with my weight, always wishing to be a few pounds lighter (still at 150.6 lbs., as of this morning). I'm hoping that kind of thinking will help me keep making good choices. But if I mess up once in a while, I can never forget that I always have a chance to start over. Even in the middle of the day. If I have a bad start to my day, it does not give me free rein to go hog-wild the rest of the day. By reining myself in and STARTING OVER, I limit the negative effects those bad choices will have on my body, and eventually ON THAT SCALE!
When I weighed 328 lbs., I considered my situation hopeless. It was overwhelming--all that weight to lose--I knew I would never be able to do it. I also knew I was killing myself, digging my premature grave with my spoon. Yet I found it impossible to stop eating the wrong food. It would be too hard to give up all those rich desserts, candy, potato chips that I loved. It was ALL I HAD in life--FOOD!
How sad is that? To put your entire life in the control of FOOD!? Food is to nourish our bodies, to gives us energy to function, so that we may live. Food is not meant to be our reason for living, but just the fuel we need to do that living!
I will be the first to admit, I started very very slowly on my journey to get healthier. For the first 5 months, all I did was give up sugared soda (Pepsi)! That led to a 24-lb. weight loss. That was not encouraging. Even when I decided to alter my eating, my plan was only to limit my portion size at meals and give up unhealthy between meal snacks. I never altered my cooking plan or recipes to make healthier foods at that point. But at 328 lbs., the weight came off anyway. Because I was so obese, just making small changes had an effect. I think the biggest change in my thinking came, however, when I joined Spark. That was in March of 2010 (originally, I pulled my membership for one day in October of that year, but realized I could not do it alone and immediately re-joined). I have never looked back.
I started walking that month too. As you heard me say on TV, the first day I only got to the end of my driveway and back. Now..I don't live in town. I probably should have explained that. We have a long, inclined driveway, the round trip was probably .15 mile. I know that's not far, but farther than a driveway in town would be! I was out of shape though. I would get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and walk the six or seven steps to the toilet and when I returned to the recliner I slept in, my heart would be pounding and I would be panting. I remember that first night I walked, climbing back up the driveway. HOLY COW! I was all alone at home that night and hoped I would make it, since no one was there to help. It hurt so much. Not only was I out of breath, which I hated, but my back hurt, my hips hurt, and especially my knees hurt! But I went out the next night and went to my mailbox, just past my driveway. It was only a few feet further, but every night after that I went just a little further. I would spy a tree or a utility box or a driveway down the road and think, "I'll go THAT far tonight." Sometimes I wonder what kept me going, because walking really did hurt my joints and wear me out. I remember getting back home and plopping my huge rear end down on the picnic table sitting outside, and huffing and puffing for a while before I even had the energy to go on into the house.
But every night I was out there, going a little bit further until the night a few weeks later when I finally made in ONE WHOLE MILE. I was so thrilled and excited.
I often wonder what made this time different. Why did I stick with it? Why am I still sticking with it? I had lost weight a few times in the past, the most recent diet being 30 years prior, however, so it had been a good long time. But I did think about it almost every single night, as I lay in bed before falling asleep. I would think, "Tomorrow, I'm going to eat healthy and start losing weight." But tomorrow never came.
I don't think there's an overweight person in the world who doesn't wish they were thin. But it's something that even money can't buy, so even rich people can be fat. It might be one of the hardest things to attain, if you're fat--A NORMAL SIZED BODY! I know I really hated being fat. I was embarrassed, humiliated and guilty because I knew it was all my own fault. As I got older, I also knew the toll my weight was taking on my health, I worried about my future. Would I drop dead of a heart attack as my not-heavy mother did at 65? Would I need a walker or a wheelchair to get around?
I always point to my doctor's words on December 14, 2009: "The EKG seems to show you've already had a heart attack," as the impetus that got me truly started on a healthy lifestyle. I had heart/health scares before. But when I would get the all-clear after undergoing tests, I would forget all about my plan to lose weight and go back to my fast food, snack food diet. For some reason, this time the "all-clear" from the cardiologist didn't give me permission to return to my old ways.
And now here I sit---over 19 months at or below my goal weight of 160 lbs. And every day is still a wonder to me. Just walking down the hall at work makes me happy, because it is so easy. I no longer plod, with my heart pounding, just wanting to get to a place where I can sit down! Now I have a spring in my step and feel so much joy in my ability to move so easily.
There are so many wonderful aspects of being at a normal weight. I continue to marvel at everything about this world now that I'm living in it in a normal sized body. I actually enjoy getting out of breath when I walk quickly or for long distances. But I have to walk far faster and much further than before to get breathless!! And that too is wonderful! I absolutely love everything about being normal-sized, from being able to cross my legs to wearing pretty clothes in a size 8 (instead of a 5X), to feeling self-confident again.
Right now I have a cold that has left me hoarse (I can barely whisper) and coughing. But it is about the first cold I have had in probably over a year. Losing weight has even made me less susceptible to catching the common cold evidently! Another wonderful thing! When I woke up last night to use the bathroom, I had to cough for a bit before falling back asleep (and I'm sleeping all night in my bed these days), but no longer was I terrified that I was going to have a heart attack, because of my obesity. I take Nyquil to help me sleep when I have a cold now. I used to be afraid to take any cold medicine, other than Coricidine for HBP, because I had a 29-year old obese friend who took a lot of cold medicine one night and didn't wake up the next morning.
The chance to start our lives over exists in all of us, no matter how old we are, or how heavy we are. It might take a while to get where you ultimately want to be, but once you start making those good choices, and seeing results, you can see where those changes are leading and you can see how good it is. That will hopefully motivate you to keep going. My enjoyment of life now helps me realize how important it is to keep making the choices I know are right for me. I will never give up. But if I mess up and make a bad choice, I can always start over!
Jan. 1, 2010--The Beginning
November 19, 2012--Just before being inducted into the Joy Fit Club on the Today Show. This might have been the proudest moment of my life! Miracles ARE Possible!!!