I have been overweight for over 30 years. I was a “gonna do it” person. I’m gonna start exercising more, I’m gonna watch what I eat. But, the weight gain continued. I flew from LA to Medford and changed planes in San Francisco from Alaska Airlines to a very small Horizon plane. I really didn’t fit in the seat. I would have died of embarrassment to ask for a safety belt extension, so instead, I turned a little sideways, sucked my belly in, fastened the belt and didn’t move until landing. In restaurant booths I looked for the most space between the table and bench seat. I looked for the biggest stalls in public restrooms because sometimes there wasn’t enough room to close the door. Tying my shoes was a challenge and a hundred other ways my weight affected my everyday life. Winter 2010 I was totally out of control. I received a 2-lb box of See’s chocolates for Christmas and even went out and bought another lb myself, well it was my birthday! Now it did take me about 4-weeks to eat it all but eat it all I did. Then in early February 2011 I got on the scales for the first time in a very long time and said: “Girl, you are on your way to 300 lbs if you don’t do something about it”. So between February and May I lost 8 lbs.
When my doctor told me in April 2011 that I had Diabetes and that I needed to lose weight, I told him that I had a 3-month membership at Club Northwest Gym. He said that’s good but are you going to use it? I said of course I’m going to use it. And, having said that, I had to follow through. When I met Angela from Club Northwest to start my 3-month gym membership, she introduced me to the new well and the counselor, Danielle. I very quickly realized that accountability was what I needed. I had been off and on “diets” for about 30 years. Remember the Cabbage soup diet, the Grapefruit diet, the Jenny Craig diet? Been there done that. The only diet that worked was Weight Watchers, which is somewhat like the new well in that it is a sensible plan of properly balanced fresh food. However, it was not long before I was skipping meetings and then the famous line, “Why go, I can do this on my own”. And, before long I was back on the weight gain trail. So I knew the accountability that the new well offered was going to be just what I needed. Within a week I had the Diabetic plan of eating, the new well plan of eating plus a room full of exercise equipment and the anger. Anger at myself for letting me get so far out of control, so overweight and Diabetic which I knew I had been borderline for over 12 years.
I credit the councilors at the new well for much of my success. They were so much help in suggesting foods that would work in both plans and adjusting the meal plans to foods I wanted to eat and could eat. The weight started to come off and I was encouraged to continue toward my goals. One day as I was in the grocery store trying to buy tortillas that fit both plans, my anger boiled over. When I told my councilor about it she asked me if my anger was about being overweight or the Diabetes. I said, Diabetes. Then came a life changing moment for me, when she then asked “would you have come here to lose weight if you hadn’t been diagnosed with Diabetes?” My answer was a very honest “NO”. With that knowledge taking root in my brain I was able to let go of my anger. My doctor was so happy with me that he cut my Diabetic medicine in half that July and I continued to exercise and eat right and the fat melted away.
My body was hiding something that I didn’t know about because of my overweight. As the fat melted away I discovered that I had a lump in my breast. I dodged a huge bullet as the lump, which was fast growing, was a cyst and they were able to drain it. If I hadn’t been losing weight how long would it have been before I discovered that lump? And had it been cancer it would have been very serious.
The first October my doctor took me off of my Diabetic medicine all together and said that my weight loss was controlling the Diabetes and good job.
Every person is different but for me the counseling sessions are important. I do it now in maintenance as I did from the beginning because I know each counselor has a thought or suggestion or advice that is just what I need to hear. Plus, I know that when we are talking together, that counselor is really listening. Never once has a counselor diverted her attention to something else. I feel that I am important to them. Not only then but if I fail to mention being gone for a while and don’t show up, they call. That call is important because it isn’t “where have you been”, but it’s “we’ve missed you, is everything ok?” That is the accountability that was promised when I signed up and what I knew I needed.
My success at losing weight is for most a matter of right choices. On the new well food plan I am never hungry except when I look at the clock and see it is way past time to eat. I learned that skipping meals was the worst thing I could do. I learned that when I do skip a meal my body hangs on to the fat it has because it doesn’t know when it will be getting fed again. And that can cause weight gain. Diabetes training and the new well taught me the importance of balanced eating starting with breakfast and that is something I can do.
My husband is very supportive of my weight loss. He hugged me the other day and said with tears in his eyes, “thanks for giving me my skinny wife back”. Would I have joined the new well without the Diabetes? No. Am I happy about throwing out an entire wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit? Not really. Thrift stores have become my best friends because the clothes I bought in July 2011 didn’t fit this July. But, I feel better than I have in years; my stamina and energy have increased a lot. Do I wish I had done this 20 or even 10 years ago? You Bet!!!
My skin is so old now that it is not responding to tightening. The more weight I lose the more wrinkled and flabby my skin gets from my face to my feet. So I am telling anyone who will listen; don’t wait like I did until your health is in jeopardy. Don’t Wait!! I know you can’t promise better health with weight loss but for me that is a fact. I don’t take a diuretic because my feet don’t swell anymore; I rarely have a bout with GERD because my meals are way more healthy then they used to be and so on. All I can do, by example, is encourage each overweight person to really want to lose weight and the new well gives them the tools to do it because they see the importance of the weight loss.
And just the other day a friend who is in her 80’s and still walks 3-miles every day, said to me “Girl, you look like you’ve lost more weight every time I see you. How much weight have you lost?” and I said, proudly, “90lbs.” And she said “well if you hadn’t gained it you wouldn’t have to lose it!” And that’s the truth.