I was an overweight child. Through my teenage years, I lived with the embarrassment of wearing Women’s sizes 16-18, while all my friends wore the latest teenage fashions. I endured countless teasing and name callings all through my school years. My weight slowly increased as I went onto high school, college and into my adult years.
I never felt pretty or thought I looked pretty in anything. I remember hearing the phrase, “Annie has such a pretty face, if only she would lose weight!” As a teenager or young adult I never owned or wore a bikini or miniskirt. At my Wedding in 1998, I wore a size 24 wedding gown, and weighed around 210lbs. Even though they told me I looked beautiful, I never believed it. I was so self-conscious, but yet never did anything about it.
I gave birth to two boys. My first in 2000 and second son in 2005. Like most women who lose baby weight following the birth, I never did. I only added to it. My health was increasingly failing, as well as my moral outlook on life. I stopped wearing shorts, and began wearing jeans, even in the hot summers in Florida. I hated seeing any of my body showing, and refused for years to have full-length photos be taken of me.
I couldn’t ride some of the regular rides at theme parks due to my size, and endured many stares and laughs when I walked by crowds or shopped for clothes. I wanted to hide from what I was and what I was allowing myself to be. Little did I know I was not the only one suffering the effects of my obesity, but my family was as too.
My weight caused many problems socially and physically, but that never stopped me from eating. I began to get restless legs, blood clots, and migraines with seizures. All ailments brought on by my weight.
n 2003, my weight almost didn’t cost me my life, but the life of my child. While holding the hand of my 3 year old son, we walked across a bridge suspended 8 feet above cold water on a late December day at our family farm in Missouri. As we were half way across, the bridge gave way with my son and I falling 8 feet below in cold, murky water. My son was pinned 3.5 feet underwater with rubble from the bridge atop of him for several minutes. Due to my weight, and also pinned, I couldn’t move to free him or myself. Help arrived and my son was pulled from the water, and survived with only minor cuts and bruising. My cuts and bruises were more emotional than physical. After the accident I sank into a deep depression of binge eating and seclusion. The images and thoughts of my son possibly dying due to my weight haunted me. During that time I remember thinking. “Oh my God!!! I could have killed my baby, because I’m so fat!” At the time I weighed 230lbs.
After the incident, we soon moved to Florida from Missouri. Here in sunny Florida, attire is shorts and swimsuits. But I would hardly wear either. I would go to the beach in pants, and would only wear a swimsuit in the comfort of my own backyard. After one of our trips to Walt Disney World in June of 2007, I came home and saw a full-length picture of me taken at the park. I looked at the person I had become, and for the first time in my life, I saw the “real me” underneath the layers of fat. I knew there that I had to change my lifestyle. I was 29 years old, at 260lbs with numerous health problems, and was wearing a size 22/24. I was 5 months away from my 30th Birthday, and I wanted to make my 30’s healthier and fun than my 20’s. I knew it was now or never! So, I set a goal for myself to lose 100lbs before my 31st Birthday! I needed to do this not only for me, but for my family. They deserved a better mom, a better wife, and I deserved a better overall me!
Something that day snapped in my head. I heard a voice tell me*..”This isn’t who you are…show the world who you REALLY are. Drop that sandwich and get your butt moving! You can do this!!!” *So, I did.
In late July of 2007, I joined a local gym, and began walking everyday. I would even walk twice a day. Once in the morning at the gym on a treadmill, and then at night in my neighborhood. I also designed my own diet plan by reading articles found in many health and fitness magazines and online fitness sites.
I couldn’t afford a personal trainer or a nutritionist, so I also had to design and implement my own diet plan. My diet plan began as a moderate to low carbohydrate diet catered to my individual needs and likes. Once 50lbs came off, I began to run and started weight training. Each month I sat down and designed my own workout and diet plan for the next month to avoid any plateaus in my training. I kept a daily journal of my food as well as designed menus and followed them strictly.
I placed a progress picture of me each month, along beside a before picture. I find this to really keep myself motivated on my worst of days. Any time I wanted to open that fridge door to cheat, I was reminded of that old me starring back at me. And that isn’t who I wanted to be anymore.
After I lost 50lbs, I noticed that I did no longer have to take medication for my seizures. My blood clots and restless leg syndrome were gone, along with that horrible depression. I haven’t taken any medication in over a year now. Not even an Aspirin! I have left my doctors in total amazement!
Along with changing my body, my career also endured a change. During the course of my transformation, my love of fitness and health expanded. I was excited about learning new things in the health industry. I loved reading and gaining new knowledge about weight loss, dieting and exercise. I knew where I had been, and I knew that I could help others. I soon began my certification towards becoming a Personal Trainer, Yoga, and Group Exercise Instructor. My goal is to be the example, and prove that ANYONE can do it. Regardless of who, what or where they are in life.
I began my transformation in July of 2007. My goal when I started was to lose 30lbs by my birthday 4 months later. But instead, I lost 50lbs. I exceeded my goal, and my expectiaons. On the anniversary of the day that I started my journey, I had lost exactly 100lbs! And now as of Oct 2008, I have currently lost 115lbs, and wearing a size 8! I’ve completely amazed not only others, but including myself!!!
I’m healthier, happier and living life to the fullest. I’m a better, mom for my transformation as well. I now run with my children, swim at the beach, and ride in the regular seats at the Theme Parks! I no longer have to sit in the “large people” seats. I’m 30 years-old, and I’ve just bought my first bikini and miniskirts! I’m enjoying life as I should have as a teenager. I’m playing sports, running, and doing everything I should have done as a child. I hear people tell me how “beautiful I am, or how good I look.” And it’s something that the old Annie never heard. I feel like a completely different person. Even my personality has changed for the better. In a way, I feel I’ve been given a chance at a second life, and with this life, I plan on living it to the fullest!
Everyday I set goals for myself for things I want to NOW accomplish in life. I’m doing things I could have NEVER done when I was overweight. The challenges I was to scared to face, I’m now facing head on! I know my possibilities are endless, and that I’ve been given the chance at a second life.
I know the battle of my weight is a fight that I will constantly endure. My diet is now a lifestyle, and I enjoy the benefits and rewards it reaps. I’m now the example for my kids. My 8 year old son now looks at me, and calls me his “hero.” And for me, that is most encouraging thing I could possibly hear.
I’m looking forward to my next 30-years as a healthy, active and positive person. And my goal is to positively influence and motivate others they CAN change their life. You just have to make the decision and push yourself just one day at a time.
My advice to anyone who is struggling with weight loss is: “NEVER GIVE UP, and the biggest failure in life… is to never try at all.”+ Surround yourself with motivators. Make a list of the things you want to do, see, wear, etc. when you lose your weight. Don’t forget who you were, you learn from your mistakes, but look towards the future as the person you WANT to be. +
- *Oh, and the family bridge in Missouri? Well, it was repaired, and I have yet to go back home and crossover the new, updated one but maybe one day I will. But, I’m content in knowing and feeling that the greatest bridge I’ve ever crossed was the one where I left the overweight me on one side, and met the NEW me on the other!!