My Story – Part 1

photo In the spring of 2007 I weighed 225 pounds at 5’3″ tall. As a nurse of many years, I had cared for patients whose lives were forever changed by health issues related to being overweight.  I had been so busy taking care of my career and family I had forgotten to take care of myself.  I knew I had to get control of this situation.  I looked at the amount of weight I needed to lose and  felt defeated before I even got started.  I had no idea where to begin so I joined my local Weight Watchers group.  My daughter, who was recovering from a sports injury at the time, was looking for an avenue to stay physically fit and active while not playing a sport.  One day at work, I mentioned this to a co-worker who told me about the gym where she worked out and thought it would be a good fit for my daughter.  She warned me this was not a fancy  gym.  It was a bodybuilder’s gym. Whatever that meant.  Later that week, I drove to the Westside of Cincinnati for my daughter to workout and for me to unknowingly find the solution to my problem and something I would become passionate about.

A few weeks go by and I was approached by the owner and head trainer who asked me why I wasn’t working out.  Clearly I was the one who looked like they needed it  not my daughter.  I cheerfully replied  ” I do my own thing-I’m good.”  After watching what  they did there wasn’t anyway I would be able to do it.   I just  watched my co-worker every week drop pounds while I dropped ounces!  My daughter was looking like she was in better shape than when playing  all her sports.  I grew increasingly frustrated with my weight loss or lack of and made the jump.  After all, I only had weight to lose and maybe some pride if I couldn’t do it.  I had never lifted weights before in my life.  Thoughts like  what if they laughed at me?  What if I fell while trying to squat?  Fear is a great paralyzer in life  but I had to overcome it and stop making excuses.  I felt like it might be my last opportunity. So I  signed up for my first session.  In the consultation I was asked “How much weight do you want to lose?”  I said  “Twenty pounds.”  He  must have thought I was crazy at my size.   What was twenty pounds going to do?   See to say I wanted to lose 100 pounds just sounded impossible to me.  I promised myself that if I lost just 20 pounds I would try for 20 more and so on until it stopped or I had lost it all.

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I started on a very restrictive diet,  lifting weights and devouring whatever information I could find about exercise and nutrition.  I had no idea what to expect and little did I know the impact this was going to have on my life.  I thought that if I did exactly as I was told, followed the diet and made all my workouts then I could blame the program when it didn’t work.  I had never seen diet and exercise succeed  for those who were in my situation.  Mentally, I didn’t believe I could do it.   I really felt that the only way to lose this much weight was by drastic measures.   The  weeks turned into months.  The pounds kept dropping and I kept going!   Don’t get me wrong.  It was difficult.  One of the most demanding tasks I have ever done.

As I said before, I read many articles and books  while I was traveling down this road.  I was  developing a passion about this  subject.  While changing on the outside, I began to change inside- mentally.    I started thinking about what caused me to eat and to get to this  place in my life.  I came to the realization I ate out of boredom and maybe a little bit out of stress.  Watching TV at night was terrible  because every other commercial was about food. So I stopped watching TV.  If I got too hungry after my last meal and was wanting to cheat I went to bed. YES some nights it was at 8PM.  I began crocheting scarves to keep busy in the evening.  I had scarves of every color and trendy kind of yarn they made. I found my workouts relieved the stress.    I just kept that vision of a fit and healthy new me first in my mind.   Nine months later,  after making all my workouts and staying on my diet, I was down to 125 pounds and felt fantastic.  I was walking past people who knew me and didn’t even recognize me!  I had doctors I worked with asking me if I was OK?  Was I ill?  There were even rumors that I had some kind of surgery.   Little did they know that what I had done took hard work, determination and commitment.   I had achieved getting the 100 pounds off but now faced the new challenge of keeping it off.  After a year at my new weight I was still doing the same thing.  I was still restricting my carbs and fats significantly and training.  I was told initially that once you get the weight off we will build you back up.  In other words, put muscle back on. Three years had gone by and  I still was just skinny. I didn’t look like I had envisioned.  I was still being asked occasionally if I was ill?  Something was wrong with my new lifestyle  and in my next post I will talk about the second phase of my journey back to health.

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