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In Need Of Inspiration... Read On!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

I have lost 110 lbs so far. I have more to get rid of but have found myself struggling with effort and motivation the past two months. My weight loss has slowed considerably and my personal life and health situation are equally depressing. Recently I have made some changes and have begun some mini challenges that I hope will kick start me once again into a more productive direction.

This morning I came across a story that made me stand up and take notice. The woman in it truly inspires me to keep up my efforts no matter how depressing life seems to be right now or how slowly the remaining pounds leave my body. She gives me HOPE!! At one time she was 250 lbs and on 25 medications. She had a host of very serious illnesses including ones of the heart and kidneys. Now she no longer takes any medication. Here is her AMAZING story. Let her inspire you too!

Name: Betty Lou Sweeney
Age: 73
Height: 5'6"
Before Weight: 250 pounds

How I Gained It: I had been on diets my whole life. I'd lose weight, and then gain it back, plus more. It had become a vicious cycle for me. I must have tried every diet out there, and they all worked, but slowly the pounds returned. I just couldn't keep the weight off.

I was an unhappy child due to being raised in more than 12 different foster homes and living in and out of the orphanage many times. I wasn't adopted until I was 15 years old. In that time, I had been abused many times. My friends were animals and food.

As an adult, I loved sweets and fast food. I would consume six donuts or rolls on the way home from work, just an hour's drive. I ate ice cream bars, lots of fried chicken, fish and chops, with all the trimmings. My potatoes were heavy with butter.

I never felt attractive and was told so often what a loser I was that I believed it. I never liked myself, except for those times when I had gotten down to a size 10 or 12. I could never maintain it, so it did nothing for my self-esteem.

Breaking Point: In May 2009 at age 69, I got another bladder infection, but this time the infection went to the sac that surrounds the heart. In treating that infection, I reacted to the medication and my kidneys shut down. I put on 30 pounds of water weight overnight and was having a very hard time breathing. I became septic and my temperature soared to 106. At first, I reacted to every medicine and got sicker and sicker. Finally a medication kicked in, and I started to get better. My doctors told my husband that they almost lost me. I felt my family deserved better than this.

How I Lost It: I am a registered nurse, so I asked one of the dietitians at work to give me an eating plan they would give to a newly-diagnosed diabetic who needed to lose weight. I wasn't diabetic yet, but knew I needed to keep my blood sugars stable. On that day, I changed the foods I ate, the way I cooked them and my portion sizes. I got down to about 210 pounds when an Anytime Fitness center opened near my home. I joined, and over the next couple of months I got down to 200 pounds. The weight was coming off so slowly, so I engaged the help of a trainer. When we started, I couldn't get up from a chair to a standing position on my own. Everything hurt from my arthritic joints. Dave, my trainer, was very patient and encouraging as he slowly helped me get better.

Today I am able to do a pull-up (never could do those, even as a child!), 20 push-ups and sit-ups. I have run many 5K races and two half-marathons. I set a Guinness World Record for the longest time in an abdominal plank in 2011 at age 71. Shortly after, a man broke my record, but I believe I still hold it for women. I feel younger than I have in years. I have pushed through several injuries, including a dislocated shoulder, a fractured left hand, a pulled calf and, most recently, a torn hamstring.

Now, I eat raw vegetables, fresh fruit, yogurt and protein powder to help me get enough protein in to sustain my workouts. I eat chicken breasts with no skin, fish or very lean pork. All meats are either baked, broiled or fixed in a hot air oven where all the fats drip away. I never eat sweets these days because when I did I found I craved them for almost a month. It wasn't worth the scare it put into me. I don't miss them and can be at a party and not even feel tempted anymore. I have learned to love the taste of the food itself without all the crap I used to put on top. I have more energy, I'm not sluggish anymore and I now like myself, which is something I never did for 69 of my 73 years. My self-esteem has soared. I can now talk in front of a group and be at ease, as I feel I have a story to tell that could save someone else's life. I have never been happier in my life. My trainer is like a grandson to me, I love him so much. At this point who knows where my life will take me!

After Weight: 135 pounds

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE! WE all need to FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT for what we want and NEVER EVER GIVE UP!! This woman is living, breathing proof IT CAN BE DONE, regardless of age, and/or condition!! emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for sharing that, Sallie! Wow - you're right, what an inspiration she is! It really underlined for me that it has to be a lifestyle change we pursue, as anything less is cheating OURSELVES.
    I just want to say that since I have "known" you Sallie, I have seen you make so much progress. It is sometimes hard to see it from the inside of the experience, so as an outer reflection back to you, I just wanted to be sure to mention that today. I have no doubt that you too, like Betty Lou, can transform your health and achieve all your goals!
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    So we will carry on... making the best choices we can today and each day as we journey to a better US!! Thanks for being part of my journey, Sallie, and keep on sparkin'!
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    1812 days ago
    Love your Blog! You are such an inspiration! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1815 days ago
    emoticon she is surely inspiring
    1815 days ago
    Truly an amazing story. One that I'm sure many will take to heart and do their very best to make it theirs too. emoticon emoticon
    1815 days ago
  • CAMAEL100
    Amazing story!
    1816 days ago
    Great Bog and thanks so much for sharing her story with us!
    1816 days ago
    That totally rocks! I love it!
    1816 days ago
    WOW!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!
    1816 days ago
    Thanks Sallie. YES WE CAN DO IT!!!!!!
    1816 days ago
    Thank you so much for bringing this to your blog! Fortunately, most of us haven't had such a drastic, acute medical condition in our lives, as Betty Lou did; but those of us that are over 50 usually have a medical condition looming or here already (in my case Type 2 diabetes) and medications we want to reduce or get off of. By the same token we can get down about being able to live healthily and wonder if we have what it takes to do it because we have "failed" so many times before. We start reinforcing the negative things we believe about ourselves, and voila!, we run off the rails. We need stories like Betty Lou's to help us realize, we shouldn't believe our own negative self-talk or that which we may get from others, that we CAN DO THIS, that healthy is within our grasp if we will just keep reaching for it. I don't know if I will ever run a half-marathon, like BL; but I can make the changes to be healthy again. Thanks for the inspiration!
    1816 days ago
    You just need to look at your pictures....that should be tons of motivation but perhaps it is time to switch up the exercise routine....join a class to get exercise through a hobby etc.

    Soon it will be nice outside and things will look different.

    1816 days ago
    This is an AMAZING story! Thanks for sharing! emoticon
    1816 days ago
    AMAZING. Congrats on your very successful journey. emoticon
    1816 days ago
    Awesome, uplifting, Aplus!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing this utterly perfect blog!!!!! emoticon emoticon
    1816 days ago
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