Walking was better than surgery!
When Susan Hegarty, 42, clocked in at 439 pounds in 2005, she knew she was in trouble.
She turned to gastric bypass surgery, which enabled her to lose 80 pounds—but within 10 months she regained it all. “I don’t think I was ready to commit to keeping the weight off,” she says. After struggling for several more years, Susan hit rock bottom in 2008, when she was turned away from an amusement park ride because she couldn’t fit in the seat. “I knew right then and there that I needed to change my life or I was going to die,” she says.
How she did it: Her first step was to start walking around her neighborhood inEaston,Pennsylvania, though she could barely go half a mile. “I had horrible pains in my back and legs, sweated terribly, and was always very out of breath after walking a couple of blocks,” she says. Yet she stuck with it and eventually joined a gym, adding strength training to her program. At the same time, she scaled her food intake way back. “Food used to be my coping mechanism for everything in life, but that’s changed,” she says.
The payoff: Susan whittled 261 pounds off her frame in just two and a half years. She still wants to lose another 30 pounds and plans to use walking to get there. “When I was heavy, I carried a lot of shame and self-loathing,” says Susan. “Being active has given me the confidence to develop relationships— including one with a very special man who I’m marrying next year!”
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