The Big 5-0 Is Coming
At the beginning of 2013, I had a choice to make; either continue on the path that I was pursuing, hurdling towards diabetes, high blood pressure and the possibility of a stroke, or take control of my life. I had absolutely everything that a woman could want; four healthy kids, a husband who loves me and a wonderful life overseas. The only thing missing was a healthy me. I was busy taking care of my family and not myself.
Although I grew up in a very active family, after I had kids I struggled with my weight for many years and was always in search of a new diet. Unbeknownst to me though, my small penance for Lent this year was going to be the catalyst that would change not only my physical health, but my mental health as well. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 marked the beginning of the Lenten season. I duly gave up sugar and white flour as I had in years past, and even joked that I might lose a few pounds. My health journey had snuck up on me and I didn’t even realize it.
For whatever reason, the weight started dropping of immediately. Encouraged by positive comments that friends made, I started making small changes to my diet. Besides white sugar and flour, I cut out processed foods and started eating more vegetables and fruit, and passed on soda. I knew that after I had lost 20lbs in two months, there was no turning back.
My approaching 50th birthday next year had been looming in the back of my mind for months. With the continued weight loss, I found that I wasn’t afraid any more of hitting the big 5-0. I started entering 10K’s and playing more tennis. My family was happy that I could now keep up with them on our bike rides; no more “slow Mommy”. I started looking forward to entering and preparing for the 10K’s, and even recruited a friend who was also on a weight loss journey. Together we competed in 5 10K’s in the space of just a few months. I felt ALIVE!
Over the course of 9 months, I lost a total of 85lbs. I can’t begin to explain how satisfying it is to know that I’m finally setting a good example for my kids and my health is better now than it has been in over 20 yrs. I like to tell people that it’s not a diet, it’s a way of life. Friends ask if I have had surgery (since we live in one of the surgery capitals of the world, Bogota, Colombia), and I love their look of surprise when I say “No, I did it on my own!”.
The life of an expat is now more fulfilling because it’s easier to participate fully in the wonderful activities that surround us. I can climb Monserrate without feeling as though I’m going to pass out! Running has become a natural part of my exercise routine and my family is loving the new me. My son can wrap his arms all the way around me now, and not just part way.
I started at 235lbs and I now weigh 150lbs. I have hidden behind the camera for so long that I have very few photos of myself, or I’ve cropped out everything but my head. With weight loss came a much needed dose of self esteem. I can now look a camera and not cringe. Life is good.
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