Weight Loss Success Stories: Leslie Lost 56 Pounds To Cure Years of Chronic Pain
Name: Leslie Holstein
Before Weight: 188 pounds
How I Gained It: I never had good eating habits. Even as a child, I was overweight compared to other kids all through school. I lived only with my father from age of 10, and we just ate what we could grab out of the fridge easily. I was married at 17 to my high school sweetheart and never really learned about healthy lifestyles. He was from aWest Virginiafamily that used lard for every meal, so neither one of us knew about healthy eating.
I also had a serious back problem. I had been to many specialists over the course of 15 years, and every doctor I saw told me there was nothing they could do for me, but to continue prescribing me pain medication. So for years, I sat around doing nothing. I couldn’t walk longer than 10 minutes without the help of a walker, walking stick or shopping cart. My husband kept telling me I was killing myself with all these medicines — I later found out that I was taking the same amount of pills that a cancer patient would be taking.
Breaking Point: I used to tell myself, “When I hit 40 years old, I will not be fat.” Well, 40 came and went too. Then I said the same about turning 45 and that came and went too. My mother and grandparents all died from diabetes or heart attacks. Everyone in my family except my sister and I are now gone, and I realized that this could have all be avoided with diet and exercise. My sister is six years older than me and she has diabetes now, along with other health issues. So at 48, I knew I had to change.
Also, a doctor told me I needed surgery to fix my back problems. I wanted to see how severe my back problems were, so I went off my pain medication. After three days of feeling like death, and six weeks until I could even go back to work, I decided to do something about it.
How I Lost It: In the past, I’ve done Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and the 3 Day Diet, and none of them worked. This time, I needed to get it right. My chiropractor was offering a new diet that I did some research on. It involved limiting my carbs and making sure the carbs I was eating were good carbs, as well as cutting back on calories. I ate (and still do) between 80-85 grams of carbs daily. You would be surprised at the amount of food you can eat if it is the right kind of healthy food.
I make sure I eat six times a day — that’s five small meals or snacks and one “lean and green” meal. I have my main meal at dinner, when I eat chicken, or a very lean meat with a low-carb veggie. I eat a lot of broccoli and green beans.
I also added in exercise. I started with the treadmill walking at 1.8 miles per hour — in the beginning, that was very fast and difficult for me. It took a couple of months to increase the speed, but once I did I started to increase the incline also. I made sure my heart rate was in the fat-burning zone at all times while exercising. I also started using a trainer at my gym, Urban Active. She knew what exercises I should do and how much weight I needed. I’ve gone to her three times a week since I’ve started, and I also do two days a week with a boxing trainer. I also use exercise DVDs and a Fluidity Bar at home to add variety to my routine.
For the first nine months, I kept a food journal, but now I no longer need it — this has become a way of life for me. I don’t even think about the bad food choices that used to run through my head. I’ve learned that I often ate out of boredom and loneliness, even if I was not alone, because I still needed to fill some sort of void. I now take on that responsibility myself and don’t blame or depend on someone to entertain me, or to blame for my bad habits.
As for my back pain, since losing the weight and strengthening my back muscles through careful exercise, I no longer take any pain medications. I wish I could sing this from the roof tops and help everyone that has weight issues, or even pain problems, since I know firsthand how easy it is to just take a pill. But you can’t do that for the rest of your life if you plan on living that life to the fullest.
After Weight: 132 pounds
Leslie started her weight loss journey nearly two years ago and continues to live an active — and pain-free — life.
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