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September 2014 - about 20 pounds lighter than the last time I was photographed in this outfit.

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summer 2014

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Spring 2012 - Near my highest weight

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I am the Mathematical Education Specialist at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech or just "Tech" to the locals).

I grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. I double majored in chemistry and biology at Mississippi University for Women (The W) in Columbus, MS. After college I went to Purdue University ready to get a Ph.D. in chemistry and become a biomedical researcher, but the cold weather and culture shock were too much for me. I decided instead on a masters in chemistry with emphasis on chemical education.

After 3 years in Indiana, I returned to Alabama to teach chemistry at Auburn University (War Eagle!). From Auburn, I went to Athens, Georgia for a Ph.D. in science education. I stayed after graduating to work at UGA on teacher assessment projects, including the development of teacher assessment systems for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

After 11 years in Georgia I returned to Alabama to teach high school. After a few years of that, I decided to go back to graduate school for a Ph.D. in mathematics. I completed my doctorate in math in December 2010 and taught as an adjunct at several Birmingham colleges until moving to New Mexico.

I love The Land of Enchantment! I now can't imagine food without green chile, and I am fascinated by the many diverse and ancient cultures in this state. The town I live in predates the Pilgrims! My church is a local landmark and is celebrating its 400th anniversary. This is an exciting year in Socorro with New Mexico Tech also celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Growing up, I was always convinced I was fat. I wasn't, and I could see that I looked good in photos but thought the camera took away pounds.

In college my weight crept up 18 pounds, but I lost nearly all of that within 3-4 years after college. However, walking from my apartment to Auburn's campus daily, riding an exercise bike for nearly an hour every night, and going to Weight Watchers left me 2 pounds above my WW goal weight, and I simply couldn't get those last 2 pounds to budge. I was discouraged and convinced I was horribly fat.

I went to Georgia, and initially refused to ride the campus buses and walked up and down the hills, but over time night classes that went through dinner time accompanied by a lot of baked goods started adding the pounds on for real. I gained 40-50 pounds while in grad school, had to start taking medication for high blood pressure, and developed other health problems.

After 11 years in Georgia, I returned to Alabama to teach high school. After a few years of that, I decided to return to graduate school for a Ph.D. in math. Jobs for mathematicians were plentiful, and I thought they would be less political than jobs in education. All of that changed by 2010 when I completed my Ph.D. in math.

I taught as an adjunct for 2 years in Birmingham before moving to New Mexico to accept the job at Tech.

My weight reached it's all time high around the time that I moved West. In spring 2013 I thought I was having a severe asthma attack but a chest x-ray showed it to be fluid accumulation due to an enlarged left ventricle. We fortunately caught it early. The echocardiogram was good. The stress test was good. My ejection fraction is strong. A low dose of lasix every other day has gotten rid of the enlargement of the left ventricle, but I need to lose weight and exercise.

I lost 15 pounds pretty quickly and then almost as quickly started gaining it back. Then, this past summer I watched a number of documentaries, ending with Forks Over Knives, which I strongly recommend. I decided I would try a whole foods plant based diet for one month. I felt so much better in 2 weeks that I couldn't imagine ever eating differently. I never missed meat. I have never completely given up cheese, but I mostly have. I have no intention of giving up local raw honey. I think it is a very healthy whole food in small quantities.

I lost the weight I had gained back and another 10 pounds effortlessly, but then fall semester struck - too little sleep, too much stress, not enough time to cut up veggies or to cook or to clean up, more eating out, ... The pounds started coming back.

Five days ago I had to take a sick day and something inside snapped. I'm not sure why, maybe it's intuition. I've known that my workload is unsustainable and that I need to give attention to my health and quality of live for some time. Suddenly after my sick day Monday, I really KNEW this deep down.

I am now following Dr. Joel Fuhrman's guidelines in Eat to Live. This is consistent with the whole foods plant based diet recommended by Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, Mac Dougall, Ornish, and others. The difference is that Fuhrman goes into a lot of detail about the nutrition of various foods. I am doing a better job of selecting foods for high nutrient value and limited whole plant foods that have a lower nutrient value per calorie.

I am so amazed by how fast I see results from this. Within four days, I feel better again. The weight is coming off again. I have been eating so much that I have been absolutely uncomfortably stuffed. Without trying, I am getting plenty of protein, iron, and many other nutrients, plus a lot of nutrients that I'm not tracking.

I have tried to get myself to start a walking program since spring 2013 with no success. It was uncomfortable to walk and I hated the thought of it. This evening I set up the FitBit Zip that I bought in spring 2013 and headed out for a walk. I ran into a friend, so my iPhone stopwatch said I was going 36 minutes. My FitBit said I was active for 24 minutes and walked 1.08 miles. I had been aiming for a 10 minute walk. I got a little huffy and puffy climbing the hill to come home but my legs, which used to give out walking on level sidewalks, never even got tired. I'm now looking forward to daily walks!

I think that with the information from Eating to Live, the motivation and support from Spark People, and the seeing how much better I feel, this will be the year that I will succeed in regaining my health, including getting my weight down to where it should be.

Healthy Nettie :)

Member Since: 10/23/2014

Fitness Minutes: 2,592

My Goals:
1. Lose 72 pounds.
2. Get off blood pressure meds and most other medications.
3. Be energetic and enjoy being alive.
4. Be able to enjoy being physically active.
5. Be able to walk 5 miles and enjoy it.

My Program:
I am eating a primarily Whole Foods Plant Based diet (plus honey). The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., and the documentary Forks Over Knives convinced me that this was worth trying. My energy level and general sense of well being when eating this way have convinced me to stick with it. Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eating to Live is now especially helpful to me.

Personal Information:
I grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. I double majored in chemistry and math at Mississippi University for Women, then went to Purdue University for a master's degree in chemistry. I taught chemistry at Auburn University for 2 years, then went back to graduate school to get a Ph.D. at the University of Georgia. The Athens, GA years were when my real battle with weight and health started. After 11 years in Georgia, I returned to Birmingham for a teaching job and within a few years decided to go back to graduate school in math. I completed a master's and Ph.D. in math at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. While rewarding, this was probably not optimal for my health, and the job market at the end of the degree was nothing like what it had been at the beginning. After two years of teaching as an adjunct, I was offered a position as the Mathematics Education Specialist at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech). I love New Mexico but often miss my family

Other Information:
I used to spend a lot of time knitting and crocheting and hope to get back to doing crafts. I have recently pledged Beta Sigma Phi and I am enjoying being a member of the Xi Theta chapter and interacting with the ladies in the other chapters. I enjoying learning about the diverse New Mexican cultures, and I have learned to LOVE green chile!

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  • v HONEYBEE56
    emoticon emoticon Greetings from EATING HEALTHY (VEGETARIAN/VEGAN)!
    I just wanted to pop in to encourage you! I used to be on Sparkpeople faithfully every day but after several moves and life happenings, I got out of the habit. I’m trying to make a comeback now and renew my Sparkpeople habit. I’ve begun to use the nutrition food tracker to keep track of my food intake and I’ve been at it only 4 days now, but I’ve only been back for four days! Ha! I’m using the weight tracker too and trying to keep log into Sparkpeople at least once a day to record my stuff although I may miss one day a week…I plan to make the other 6 days a habit! I was kind of hoping you’d join me in this endeavor on the team.
    Have a great weekend and eat healthy! emoticon emoticon

    508 days ago
    Hi and welcome to the Fit & Organized team. See you on the team threads!

    1684 days ago
    emoticon to the Catholic Critters Team.

    I pray emoticon that the good Lord will bless you and guide you on your healthy journey, and that Our Blessed Mother will intercede for you, and help you to make good choices on the way to meeting your goals.

    cj, Cheryl - Catholic Critters Team co-leader
    1686 days ago
  • v REBECKY441
    1694 days ago
  • v COOP9002
    Thanks for the Spark friend add. Blessings upon you during your journey towards wellness.
    1695 days ago
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