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Three Years and 178 Pounds Later....

Saturday, December 15, 2012

....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 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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LINDAK25
    emoticon A really, really Happy Anniversary!
    2013 days ago

    O(h, Happy , Happy Wonderful celebration congratulations to you. You always have my interest and I keep your story on my journal to read and re read. Today I will change it to reflect this dates story. You make me believe in myself, as I, at 60, sometimes feel I am too old and too overweight or too slow and weak. You make me believe I can make it. I thank you every day of my life for giving me the courage to keep trying.
    SO on this very Happy day, I want to tell you that you have made a difference in this world. You have touched people and inspired seniors to believe in themselves. You are one special lady. I applaud your fortitude and all your hard work for the past 3 years and for all your years to come, as I know you will be here next y ear still helping everyone by telling your story and being the most wonderful you that you can be. Merry Christmas to you.

    2013 days ago
    Happy Anniversary. You've come a long way, worked really hard, and the benefits have paid off!
    Congratulations. You are a wonderful inspiration!!
    2013 days ago
    Amazing story - you really got it together
    2013 days ago
    For sure, Happy Anniversary! You look wonderful.
    2013 days ago
    You should be proud, and you are not bragging. You are just taking care of yourself.
    2013 days ago
    You have done sow great! Congratulations!
    2013 days ago
    You've done a Great job and you are a beautiful person. You inspire me to keep my weigh off also. I have been at goal weight for several years now. Spark People is my motivation. We will always just Take it One Day at a Time. Have a Merry Christmas with out all the calories. emoticon
    2014 days ago
    You're such a wonderful inspiration to me and so many others. It makes me so happy to read the joy in your story and to see that you've been able to maintain your success for so long. I still haven't even reached a year on maintenance but this is the longest I've ever been able to keep my weight stabilized and within a healthy range. I hope that I can join you in the real long-termers club too. Here's to living happy and healthy lives and fighting the good fight. Many congratulations!
    2014 days ago
    Happy Anniversary! Your example has helped so many people.
    2014 days ago
    emoticon You are Truly Fabulous!! I am glad that I have gotten to share your Journey so far, and we will continue Together!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon So Proud of YOU!!
    2014 days ago
    Happy Anniversary you sexy beast!! emoticon
    2014 days ago
    Some people have the same health issues that you used to have but don't have the motivation to make the changes you have made. You have something special in you and you will be in that 5% that keeps your weight off forever. I see a book in your future.
    2014 days ago
    you are awesome and so inspiring!! thanks for sharing with us emoticon
    2014 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.