....Here I sit, feeling OH SO WONDERFUL! On Dec. 14, 2009, when my doctor said to me, "The EKG seems to show you've ALREADY had a heart attack," he really got my attention. I had been to the doctor in the past, fearful that I was in congestive heart failure or having a heart attack, and all the very extensive tests I went through, were always good. No blockage, no damage. It was hard to believe that I could abuse my body that way for 30 years (more than that actually), and not have done any damage, but I thought on Dec. 14, 2009, my luck had finally run out. I had complained to my doctor that day that any physical exertion left me breathless. I would get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and walk the 5-10 steps to my bathroom, and return to bed with my heart pounding and gasping for air. So he did the EKG, which he obviously misinterpreted. Subsequent tests (and I have told this story so many times, I know you're all sick of hearing it), with the cardiologist showed that once again, my heart was still okay. STILL OKAY.
But I knew it was just a matter of time. With a maternal grandmother who passed away suddenly of a stroke at the ripe old age of 62, and a mother who passed away suddenly one night of a sudden heart attack at the age of 65, I knew my cardiac history was not good and if I didn't do something soon, that same fate might very likely be awaiting me. I was getting very close to 60 years old, it was time to get serious.
In July of 2009, after visiting the doctor and weighing in at 328 lbs., I knew I better do something. So I gave up Pepsi. I used to drink at least a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi every single day. I gave it up and started drinking water. On that day in December, 2009, I weighed in at 304 lbs. Still over 300 lbs., and not much of a loss for five months, but the scale was going the right direction.
But on December 14, 2009, I got really serious about getting healthy. Yes, I did start slowly, but I cut out snacking and cut my portion size down. Not only did I take a smaller serving of the same food I had always cooked, but I only took ONE helping. This was a huge difference. It was hard. And after the subsequent tests with the cardiologist after the first of the year, were all good, in the past, that would have given me carte blanche to return to my old eating habits. I'd have thought, "I'm still okay, why keep depriving myself of the food I love and LOTS OF IT?" For some reason, this time I didn't think that way. I decided to keep trying to cut back, eat healthier. Finally in March of 2010, I joined Sparkpeople, got a scale so I could weigh myself, and started walking. These three steps were the real key to losing the weight and now....keeping it off!
Three years ago today, I sat in my car after my doctor appointment, sobbing as I leaned over the steering wheel, waiting for my husband to come pick me up. I was too distraught to drive. I weighed over 300 lbs. and felt hopeless and helpless. I was ashamed of what I had done to myself. I was afraid of what my future held.
But as the months of healthy eating, walking and Sparking passed, I felt better and better about myself. Even though I was not yet at a healthy weight, my self-confidence soared because I was making good choices and felt good about myself again.
This last three years has truly been a miracle for me. I was in a Cookbook, had two articles written about me in my local newspaper and went on National TV! I have boasted far and wide about losing this weight, now I better KEEP IT OFF! Christmas time is a hard time to start a journey to get healthy. But it will never get any easier. There's always excuses not to start. "My birthday is coming, then Easter, then we have a wedding and a baby shower to go to." But you know what? It's possible to get through every single one of those events, even the month long food-orgy called Christmas, and make good choices. It is in our control....we have the power. To me that was quite a revelation. And I embrace that fact now, as I head out to a dinner with friends at my favorite restaurant. Even though I've been maintaining my weight loss for 20 months now (which I pointed out to hubby....is longer than the actual weight loss took), I still consider myself to be "on a diet." I know those are evil words and people here don't like to use them. But in my mind, if I ever tell myself that I am normal and can eat anything I want, even for ONE MEAL, it's all over. I will be on this "diet" for the rest of my life. I can live with that. I can live far longer with THAT reality, than with the false belief that it doesn't matter how much I eat or how much I weigh. That was the world I lived in for so many years. Ignoring the problem, acting as if it doesn't exist is NOT the answer.
Happy 3-year anniversary of healthy eating to me! May there be many many many more!