Lost 150 lbs. and have kept it off for 5 years
I was fat all my life and used to kid myself about being healthy because my heart was good as was my blood pressure and cholesterol but in the late nineties as I reached my late forties things started to go wrong. In 1997 I was diagnosed with type II diabetes and went into total denial. My weight went up to over 300 lbs. (and I’m 5’2″). My blood pressure and cholesterol levels started to go up.
It took me a full five years to have my “aha” moment. By then I had developed neuropathy in my feel and it got so bad that in October of 2002 I had spend a weekend in the hospital forcing me to miss my sister and brother-in-law’s 30th anniversary party.
My primary doctor gently suggested gastric bypass surgery. At first I totally recoiled saying it wasn’t the answer for me but she convinced me to talk to the surgeon. It took 2 months to get an appointment with the surgeon which gave me time to convince myself that there was no way I was going to have that surgery.
But I kept the appointment and it wasn’t talking with the surgeon that convinced me to do it. It was the woman in the waiting room who was there for a one-year follow up. She wasn’t tiny but she was a ” normal size”. Then she showed me her “before” picture. I was convinced.
After lots of testing and counseling and all sorts of stuff I had my surgery in May, 2003. I had my “farewell to food” tour the week before scarfing up barbecued ribs, deep dish pizza and chicago hot dogs for what I thought would be the last time.
After the surgery I had my doubts. I would still prepare large quantities of food because of my old fear of not having enough. I would try to eat more than I should which caused me to get sick. But the weight started to fall away and that is the greatest encouragement.
I got involved with a support group at the hospital where I had the surgery. I listened to people who were successful after their surgery and realized that the surgery was not a magic bullet that I had to work at it and make a major lifestyle change.
I started eating lean proteins and almost no carbs (since they didn’t sit well in my new small stomach). I started eating tofu and a lot more fruits and vegetables than I ever had before.But
In four months I dropped from a size 24 to a size 16. Four months later I was a size 12. The photo I enclosed was taken at my fiftieth birthday party in December of 2003.
But the story doesn’t end there. I also discovered exercise and that helped me build strength. I started doing things I could never do before like mountain biking and whitewater rafting. I almost became obsessed with exercise.
In 2006 I was feeling fit and healthier than ever before. I no longer had diabetes or neuropathy, my blood pressure and cholesterol were fine. Then I got a shock. I was let go from my position with a big commercial real estate company and at age 52 did not want to look for another job.
So I decided to turn my exercise obsession into a business. In 2007 I opened Club 50 Fitness, a strength training club for people 50 and over. I work with type II diabetics telling them my story and how I managed to not be diabetic anymore. I stress the importance of strength training in seniors who tend to lose lean body mass more quickly than their younger counterparts.
After a year I have 109 members and greater job satisfaction than I ever had before. I still eat small portions of just about anything I want including burgers and pizza. The only thing banned from my mouth is processed sugar. I have kept off all the weight I lost and don’t miss the chocolate nd the ice cream and all the things I used to gorge on.
i feel like I’ve added at least 10 years to my life.
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