AT THE BEGINNING: Food was my comfort. Every time I was disappointed or sad or happy or whatever, I used food as my source of comfort to relax me. Before I knew it, my weight just started spiraling out of control.
THE TURNING POINT: The day after Thanksgiving, my mom went to work and I just sat on the sofa all day watching television. When she came back home from work eight hours later, I was still sitting in that same spot. She said, “Avis, I feel like I’m going to have to take care of you instead of you take care of me.” I started crying. I didn’t realize how the weight was taking a toll on my health. She said I was gasping for breath. She could hear me actually breathing. And when I flew home back to Atlanta, I started thinking about my health problems that I was having. I was tired, out of breath when I was moving around and trying to figure out what I could do to save my life.
THE PLAN: I joined Weight Watchers. One of the leaders, she grabbed me and hugged me I and gave me the extra TLC that I needed to help me be successful. I ended up losing 151 pounds.
A WOMAN REBORN: The weight loss experience has really got me out of the box so to speak. Once I started the fitness and losing weight and having new friends and different relationships and activities, I started coming back into myself again. Just the way I feel about myself, the energy that I have. It’s different things that I didn’t think I could do when I was heavy. I have a job now that I love. They actually pay me for having fun. I work in the cosmetic area at Belk Department Store in fragrances and I work in all the different bays – Clinique, Lancôme, Estee Lauder. And I feel at 300 pounds, I wouldn’t have been able to have the self-esteem and energy and confidence that I needed to actually sell the product.
FINDING BLISS: I just feel so good. Every day, I’m just happy when I wake up and work on the job that I really, really love. It’s good. I didn’t know life could be this much fun at 53. I didn’t. I really feel 23.
KEYS TO MY SUCCESS: Weight Watchers. Exercising with friends.