When I first embarked on my weight loss journey, I had no idea it would lead to my becoming an inspiration to people. It makes sense now, but at the time the only thing on my mind was just losing the weight so I could be "normal" sized. I was tired of being a spectacle. Not to mention all of the health issues I was accumulating over time.
I had been obese most of my adult life, having tried all types of diets, exercise plans, pills, patches, support groups, therapy... all to no avail.
It was the loss of my dad in 2010 that really woke me up regarding my health. He had suffered with lung and colon cancers due to his poor health habits. His death left a scar on me and I promised myself that I would learn something from losing him. I needed to change my health habits soon, or I too would be facing some more serious health issues which would threaten my own life. I was 40 years old and I weighed well over 400 pounds at the time. I had developed sleep apnea, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, acid reflux, fungal infections and was a extremely high risk for having a heart attack.
In addition to the medical concerns, there were other obesity-related issues such as not being able to fit in a booth at most restaurants, needing a seat belt extender in my car, breaking chairs, wearing out bed mattresses, straining to tie my shoes, and having extreme difficulty wiping myself in the bathroom (so much so I have some damage in my right shoulder from pulling my arm behind me). As you can imagine dealing with these things can be humiliating enough but compound that with comments from people and how ashamed I was of myself. At many points I had considered taking my own life. And on a few occasions I half-heartedly tried. Often I would go to bed wishing I would just have a heart attack in my sleep. I was miserable and most people around me had no idea.
So I decided I was going to do something about my health. What I knew about my past attempts was that I had no idea about the amount of food I was consuming. In addition, I knew that in order for me to cut back on what I was eating, I needed to do it slowly over time in order for it to become sustainable. So I decided that I needed to track everything I ate. I used an app to log my food intake and my activity. I started doing moderate aerobics routines (online Bodies in Motion videos) and walking. As time went on and I began to lose weight, I increased my activity.
When I lost the first 100 lbs, people were amazed. I became focused like a laser to lose the rest of the weight. People were asking what "diet" I was on and "Did you get the surgery?"
I began to tell people that it was all about making "small changes over time leading to BIG RESULTS". And when I finally got to losing over 200 pounds people were in awe. In 11 months I had worked tirelessly to lose all the weight and achieved my goal of becoming "normal" sized...
But the journey was far from being over. Oh no, it had just begun. I struggled for months trying to reach an unrealistic weight that I thought I needed to maintain. Eventually I hit the wall and after a year and a half of consistent monitoring my food and exercise, I needed a break. I took a short break and reassessed where I was and have begun a new sustainable lifestyle involving weight training and realistic eating habits.
You see, I discovered that you never really beat obesity as I thought I had done. What you have to do is learn techniques to manage it. Much like any other addiction, I had to accept that I had an unhealthy relationship with food, often turning to it in times of stress. I had to learn to replace that behavior with new ones like taking a walk or exercising when I feel stressed,
Over time I have been working with other people, teaching them the techniques I have used to motivate myself, and have been inspiring so many people with my stories and talks. My vision now is to continue to help others as it further inspires me to stay on track. I have been blessed with this gift of a new life, and a real talent for motivating people. My dream is to help others all around the world with motivating stories, teaching the techniques I used, and coaching them on how they can motivate themselves.