A Health Scare Motivated Carol to Change Her Life*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Carol Funke (AWESOMECAROL55)
Weight Lost: 120 pounds
Hometown: Garden Plain, KS
Occupation: Aerospace industry
What was life like before your weight loss?
I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life. In my high school days, I was very active and athletic. My weight gain started for the first time when I left home for college. I became very inactive and developed very unhealthy eating habits.  The weight piled on and I soon started a pattern of weight gain and weight loss that was to be with me throughout my life. Many times I gained substantial amounts of weight, became disgusted with myself, and then struggled to take it off again. I’d get depressed, sit on the old pity pot, and eat everything in sight.
My life was horrible at my highest weight. It was very difficult for me to physically do my job as I was required to be on my feet most of the day. I had knee problems, my back hurt and after a long day at work, I could barely walk.  It was all I could do at the end of a long day to have enough energy to pull myself out of the recliner and spend quality time with friends and family.  So, I sat there and ate. Besides the physical aspects of my weight gain, there were many emotional and mental repercussions. My self- esteem was at an all-time low. I was ashamed of how I looked, how I dressed, and how I ate. When I looked in the mirror, I did not like what I saw! I had no self-confidence and felt weak and inferior. A car full of teenagers actually “oinked" at me one time as I walked down the street. That was a very painful and humiliating incident, but instead of motivating me to make changes, it caused me to sink even lower in depression.
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
My biggest motivation to lose weight was a desire to regain control of my life and of my health! My father died at age 46 from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was overweight, had high blood pressure and smoked. At the age of 55, it became crystal clear to me that I had hit bottom and drastic changes needed to be made. I was killing myself and no one could help me until I decided to help myself. My "a-ha" moment came after spending one night in the cardiac care unit at a local hospital. I was taken to the hospital by a friend after experiencing chest pains like I had never felt before. My blood pressure and cholesterol were sky high, and at that time I weighed 235 pounds. They decided to admit me to CCU to run some tests. It was the most horrible, miserable experience of my life. I had a lot of time to reflect on exactly what I had done to get myself into that mess and what I could do to get myself out of there. I decided right then and there that I would do WHATEVER it took to never be in that predicament again!  The cardiologist ordered many tests that night on my heart and luckily everything came out OK!   He did tell me that unless I drastically changed my eating and exercise habits, there was no guarantee where I might be in 10 years.  I knew I had to turn my life around. I simply had no choice.
Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
After I was released from the hospital, I started on my weight loss journey the very next day.  I started to walk for exercise and began eating as healthy as I possibly could. I chose walking because at 235+ pounds, that was about all I could do. I couldn't walk very far at first, so I set my goal for one mile. That was the longest mile of my life. My feet, back, and knees were throbbing. I was exhausted, but I did not give up and I did not stop. I became very consistent with my walking and the weight started to come off. After a few months, I was able to walk farther and faster! My doctor put me on a low-sodium, reduced calorie diet. One day while visiting my doctor after losing about 40 pounds, I was bemoaning the fact that it was very difficult to find recipes that were low in sodium. She left the office for a moment, returned, and handed me a slip of paper. On it was written: SparkPeople.com. She said I might find some recipes there. Little did I know I would find recipes there and much, much more!
SparkPeople has played a major role in my weight-loss journey. While I had already started to lose weight on my own before landing here, it had become increasingly difficult to maintain a high level of motivation and enthusiasm. I had the support of family and friends, but lacked the consistent source of support of like-minded people who were available 24/7.  I needed support from folks that truly understood the problems associated with weight gain and the struggle to overcome that. I needed resources concerning exercise, nutrition and motivation. I needed the tips, hints, and success stories from those who traveled the road before me and those I had hoped to follow. And most importantly, I needed the friendships...those who never judge, always comfort, and never abandon! I owe my success to SparkPeople.  Over the course of  18 months,  I lost 120 pounds. I have maintained this loss for over two years! My doctor was thrilled with the results and I have since become her star patient. I feel with the help of SparkPeople and the support of my SparkFriends, I will finally be able to stop my pattern of yo-yo dieting, and keep the weight off forever.
What is your typical exercise routine like?
My typical routine consists of six days of fitness workouts. Three days per week, I go to the gym for strength training and cardio. This normally consists of 45 minutes on the elliptical or bicycle and 45 minutes of free weights or weight machines. On the other three days, I walk four miles, preferably outdoors on a nature trail. I love outdoor fitness! It relaxes me and helps me de-stress! On the seventh day, I rest.
How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss?
My diet is totally different now. I eat lean healthy meats, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and of course healthy carbs! I have eliminated fast foods and most processed foods from my diet. As a yo-yo dieter, I am very conscious of portion sizes. I no longer track and measure my food but am very aware of how much I am putting on that plate. I use luncheon-size plates and try to keep a good balance of all the food groups.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight-loss program?
It’s never too late to start over. As an older adult, I had many challenges thrown at me concerning stamina and those little aches and pains that sometimes found their way into my life during the journey.  Never ever give up!! Focus on your goals and don’t let ANYTHING get in your way…especially yourself. There are no good excuses! If I can beat the disease of obesity, anybody can!
How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
My life has changed drastically! I enjoy life these days. Today, my blood pressure and cholesterol are normal (no medications required!) and my joint pain and acid reflux are gone! I can be on my feet to work a ten hour day and still go to the gym for a workout after work. My one-mile walk has evolved into a four-mile walk for fun!  For a challenge, I do 5Ks and take a kickboxing class at a local gym. In the past two years, I have learned to love weight lifting and go to the gym three times a week for strength training. I also like being outdoors doing yard work or walking.
What I have noticed most about the effects my weight loss has had on my life is my change of attitude. I exude self-confidence and have come to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. I set goals, I focus on them and I don't let anything get in my way...not even myself! When I work out, I feel powerful and in control of my life. I kick butt and take names in all aspects of my life!
Keep up the great work, Carol!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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STARDUST53 2/27/2018
Your accomplishment is such a sparkling inspiration! Report
Clean & Lean in 2016 Report
Wow.. What an inspirational story. Thank you so much for sharing! :D Congratulations on your success! :D


Nola Report
Thanks for sharing your very inspirational journey. Bless you. Report
Congratulations on your journey! I was very inspired! Way to go! :D Report
Congratulations on writing this fantastic success story. I am so proud of you and am so proud to be your SparkFriend. You were one of the first friends I made on SparkPeople. You are truly an inspiration to us all. Report
Really a great story! Thank you for sharing. Report
After a multi-month detour, I'm getting back on track. Thanks for the inspiration. Report
Very inspiring and simple steps that have paid off!!!! Thank you for sharing your story Report
Amazing, so freakin' amazing!! I'm in the same journey also. I lost 51 lbs. so far & I'm not stopping till my last breath on this earth. Report
Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to others who are struggling to loose a large amount of weight. You pushed yourself and became stronger both physically and mentally in the process. Congratulations on your well deserved success. It proves hard work pays off.
I love your inspiring story Carol... you rock! Report
Congratulations Carol on your weight loss and maintenance! You are inspiration to me as I begin my weight loss journey once again at the age of 60 and 150 lbs over weight! Report
A very encouraging story. Thanks for inspiring those of us that are a little older that
it is never to late to improve our health . Report
Thank you for sharing, I have over 100 lbs to loose to be a healthy weight, that can seem overwhelming to the point of why bother? It's impossible!, but reading this is so encouraging. Report
This is such a great story. It re-enforces the idea that you don't have to start off with a bunch of cardio. You can simply start off walking and slowly challenge yourself with longer walks or other cardio exercises. I am the type who keeps getting more into depression over my weight and health and doesn't do much about it. It is a constant struggle to keep on with the workouts, but this article has inspired me to continue and know that soon it will become habit and I will much happier. Report
Yours is my *favorite* Spark success story thus far.

(PS - We are a K-State family, too. ;) ) Report
You are truly an inspiration!!

Congratulations I'm going to do it. Report
Thanks for sharing your story! I love your commitment. I am currently trying to get back on track after hitting goal weight, keeping it there for a year, and then quickly regaining 2/3rds of my lost weight. But, SP has helped me before & I know what to do. I just have to do it & make it a LIFE change!

Congrats to you!! Report
Never ever give up!! Focus on your goals and don’t let ANYTHING get in your way…especially yourself. There are no good excuses!

These lines you have written is mind catching,registering and I am applying it to me.Congrats on your achievement and your willpower.Thanks for sharing. Report
Wow you are an insparation! Thank you... Report
Well done you! Report
you are my hero... Report
Thanks for proving anything is possible despite one's age! Report
Thank you for the inspiration! Report
Inspiring story! Report
Congratulations on all your accomplishments!!!! Report
Congratulations on seizing your moment of insight and following through to regain your health and your life. I know it's not easy at any age, especially after 45, so particularly appreciate that you've shared your story and your successes. Thank you. Report
I love your exercise routine, it sounds perfect! CONGRATS on your achievements! Report
Great job, and thanks for sharing your story with us! Report
Great story! Congratulations! Report
Loved reading your story - you make it sound simple - but I'm sure it wasn't easy. Report
You are such an inspiration and a real friend to me. It's so good to celebrate your continued success! Hugs! Report
Thanks...I believe anyone can do it but it's hard work for sure. Most times we are our own worst enemy! Report
Congrats Carol! Thx for sharing! Report
I think you are all awesome Spark friends....thank you for stopping by....I really appreciate your support! Report
Wow ! What an amazing transformation ! Congratulations Carol !!! Report
I loved reading your story, what an inspiration , you are a strong person, and very motivating to all of us...congratulations, you are awesome! Report
Great job Carol! You are my hero and motivator! I loved the story! Report
You are def an inspiration and a true "Fitness Queen" !!! It has been a pleasure to get to know you thru SP and PLOF. You motivate me everyday friend. Thanks for always being there. CONGRATS on your success in life .... YOU ROCK !!! Report
I was moved reading your story. You took charge and stuck with it, this is the most difficult thing to accomplish. Welcome to good health, congratulations Carol! Report
Carol, your journey is an inspiration to all of us and the support that you give us in return is awesome. I am glad you and I are on the same team..the Get Back into Life Team!! Report
This sounds like a woman who knew what she wanted & just went after it . NO excuses, just effort & results ! FANTASTIC !
You look like an athlete now & sound like a winner . CONGRATULATIONS !
Thanks for the inspiration , Carol. Report
Congratulations, Carol. Your story was very inspirational. Report
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