It was not like they all said. Mine has been a journey of self-discovery both physically and emotionally.
Just 5 years ago,I weighed about 506 lbs. I was in an awful place both physically and emotionally. Treated as though I didn't exist or as though I wasn't a human being. I only got two looks from most people; one of pity or disgust. It was always in the eyes. I had been overweight since the age of 7. I was placed on my first diet when I was 8 years old. Gaining and losing weight throughout the next 38 years.
In January 2002, I was reading a book on gastric bypass surgery and the dangers of it.I knew that if I was going on yet another "diet" this would be without surgery, without pills, without following standard diets, without a doctor’s care or a nutritionist(which was stupid and dangerous, but I didn't care at that time). I was going at this alone and never told my family or friends. I didn't know if this weight loss would work or not, but I did not let anyone know. I was going to use my intellect and education in the best way I knew how, through research. I was on my own, isolated, lonely, but I was determined.
I then began reading and doing extensive research by going on-line, visited libraries, contacted various organizations around the country, read and purchased numerous health and diet books and magazines. I had people send me information on any weight loss programs they had. I researched various forms of exercise, physiology and psychology as well. I researched for 7 months and then spent the next 5 months reviewing all the information. I did not diet or exercise during that first year when I did all the research.In my mind, I was preparing myself for what I was about to do.
I would not begin on January 1st or a Monday. I chose a day 02/01/03. Once I had it in my head that this was a lifelong commitment to myself and it was something I would have to deal with the rest of my life and would never go away, I was able to stay direct and focused. I knew I would have to spend a good portion of my life alone so I'd better deal with it once and for all. I gave myself a 5 year plan. I realized no one was going to rescue me from myself. I did not set any goals fearing I would not be able to keep them.Each week I slowly weaned myself from one thing (junk food) that I could live without. I did not go full blast into dieting. I took my time and continued to do research to help me with my weight loss.
The first year, I lost 90 lbs. and no one noticed, but I didn’t care. I began walking about 15 months into it. I felt fairly well enough to do it; however, a few weeks into it, some boys threw a glass bottle at me from a car and it just missed my head. It shattered on the sidewalk in front of me. I was terrified and stopped walking for a few days. When I did the flowers at my grandfather’s grave a few days later, I stood up and realized that the cemetery was quiet and calm. No traffic. No intruders. No one to hate me or call me names. I didn’t have to be scared there. I had been scared into walking in a cemetery. How strange was that?
I began walking there every day for 7 months, rain or shine. As the fall began, I realized that I could not continue to walk in the cemetery during the winter months and my sister in law, Jane, talked me into going to the gym. I thought she was nuts! I couldn’t see myself at a gym. I felt so intimidated by the gym and the people there. They would make fun of me or so I thought at the time.
Well, I began going to the gym in early October 2004 and did so at
4:30 AM to 7:30 AM. I worked out this early to avoid as many people as possible. I did the 2 ½ to 3 hour daily workouts as all my research told me I needed to do so to stay ahead of the “sag” at my age. I think working out in the early morning, I was actually hiding still, trying to feel safe. I didn’t speak to anyone at the gym and kept to myself. I always had difficulty opening up to people and stayed guarded so I wouldn’t be hurt by people. I did not trust anyone at that time. When I joined the gym, I was still over 300 lbs. Well, as time went on, I began to see the results of the gym workouts, especially lifting weights, and the weight continued to come off.
I was able to reach a weight of around 164 lbs. A weight loss of 340 lbs. For the first time, I was able to look at myself in a full length mirror or a store window and not cry.
It was a struggle for me in the beginning, but I kept it in my head to keep going and I never looked back. No one is going to do you any favors here, this is one you are in alone and for the long haul. I will have to work at this for the rest of my life. Nothing in my life now is the same as it was five years ago. I still consider myself a work in progress..my story does not end here as my journey went off in another direction that I did not think it would, both physically and emotionally. I cannot believe the things I have learned about myself and the world around me...
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