"I never thought I would be 160 pounds. Ever!"
Before: 220 lbs. After: 160 lbs
In 2007, I was the Owner/Preschool Director of a daycare in a little town called Dallas (Texas). The hard and fast paced lifestyle I was living definitely added stress and drove me to bad eating habits as well as smoking. I was at my highest weight and on a health scale, had reached my lowest point in health.
Although I stand at 5 feet,4 1/2 inches, I was never considered petite, growing up. I didn't suffer from a long childhood of being obese. I am moderately shaped. I lived the fast paced life, working 10 to 16 hours of the day. Anything fast and easy to eat was the only choice I thought I had. I avoided weight scales like I avoided exercising. I was totally in denial, even though I avoided cameras and mirrors. My greatest relief from stress, I thought, was Smoking...and a lot of it. As a result, my Asthma was totally out of control. I found myself constantly wheezing and difficulty breathing. I was in denial about the asthma, because I was always chalking it up to the bad atmosphere or allergies. At 220 pounds, I also suffered from Sleep Apnea. I had to wear one of those God-Awful masks at night, which makes you look so incredibly sexy, not. My obesity was literally cutting off my air ways and preventing me from sleep. Sleep Apnea leads to another multitude of health issues. Again, I denied the sleep apnea as a health issue and explained it away as my hormones changing and there was nothing I could do about it.
"I cried because I let myself get to this LARGE."
220 pounds didn't just show up one day. I constantly suffered from Digestive Problems such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, incontinence, nausea, and additional weight gain. I always chalked it up to 'that time of the month' or strictly hormonal. This is a sneak peak at what my lifestyle looked like:
1. Cooked with Bacon Grease (in everything!).
2. For Dinner, at least one white bread and starch (if not 2) was served with a fried piece of meat.
3. Stress eating- a package of Oreos was definitely my best friend. I would invite a glass of whole milk along with it!
4. Never drank water
5. We always drank soda at each meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
6. Most of what we ate was processed, came in a can/package, or frozen.
7. Absolutely no physical activity on top of all of this. ZILCH, ZERO.....I considered my job as a MOM & BUSINESS OWNER chasing my kids enough of a workout for me.
I was completely and utterly exhausted at the end of the day, picking up my kids, homework, dinner, baths! I dragged myself to bed at night; just to do it ALL over again the next day! It was an incredibly EMBARRASING feeling I was having when I found myself "graduating" into a size 20/22. It was really much like reality punching me in gut. Sometimes, I found myself crying because I HAD ALLOWED myself to get that large. I knew that something had to be done. I didn't expect the pains in my chest to be the first step, though.
"I don't want to Die. I'm too young."
THE NIGHTMARE BEGAN
In 2010, I began experiencing female issues. By this time, I had already had 4 pregnancies, and 3 children. Without going into great detail, I began to experience Reproductive Problems such as menstrual irregularities, low levels of hormones, extreme water gain, and even polyps. In 2011, I began experiencing chest pains as well as frequent, intense heart palpations.I thought the squeezing/restrictions in my chest were caused by stress at work, so I ignored it thinking for sure that it would improve in time. All of these can be very painful, alarming, scary, and literally took my breath away. At the VERY WORST OF TIMES, this intense activity would make me lightheaded and woozy, causing me to have to sit immediately. I remember thinking, "OK, girl...I don't want TO DIE, I'M too young!" So, I finally called the doctor and made an appointment.
The Doctor's visit revealed I was VERY OBESE. Not only was I suffering from extremely HIGH CHOLESTEROL, but also HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. This meant I was also considered a HIGH-RISK STROKE PATIENT. Further testing revealed that I was at risk for Coronary Heart Disease, given the current lifestyle I was living.The Doctor recommended I take some medicine, start eating healthy, and get exercise. Probably the biggest lie of all is never telling my physician that I was actually addicted to smoking. I never revealed to my doctor that I had been smoking a pack a day. I walked out with a huge range of emotions....ADMITTING that I was responsible for my actions. AWARENESS that I had a food addiction. THANKFUL because I was lucky to be alive. SCARED, oh sh*t, this is really happening....I don't want to die or lose my family. OPTIMISTIC, because I had the power in my hands to do something about it. However, the biggest kick in the pants was when my husband wad diagnosed with Colon Cancer, in 2013. Since we were both living the same lifestyle, my husband was also overweight. His eating habits were just as bad as my own.
THE LIFESTYLE CHANGE:
The biggest favor I did myself was to call my new Lifestyle a "NEW EATING HABIT" and not a 'diet'. I wanted to get far away from anything that reminded me of "die"ing. In order for it to be successful, I had to get my immediate family on board. The most important thing I can emphasize at this juncture was my commitment to exercise. I FREAKIN' hated exercising with all of the sweating, staring and gawking from others, and mirrors! I found an all women's gym and joined. What happened next, rocked my whole world!!!!
One day, I was trying to use some gym equipment and I saw a small group of young women walking around.....INSIDE A HULA HOOP. They were taking turns hula hooping and laughing as well as having a bunch of fun. I was so inspired by them that I couldn't wait for these ladies to leave (in the nicest of way). I wanted to badly to be able to do that too!!!!
When they left, I picked up the 5 pound Hula Hoop and dropped it. I got the hoop and tried it again, I had a few seconds of success and it dropped again. This same pattern continued for a week until I finally was able to keep it up. When I mastered this step, I plugged in my favorite music, Hip Hop and top 40, and found myself Hooping for 5 minutes straight. The next day (couldn't wait to get to the gym the next day), I kept it up for 10 minutes. The progression was longer and easier each time, and before I knew it...I had lost 10 pounds. then 15 pounds, just like that! Within a 4 month period, I had lost 25 pounds!
That ONE weighted hoop a the gym was my best friend! Other women at my gym started taking note of how much FUN I made the hooping look like, so they started trying it. (I swear the 5 pound hoop just sat against a wall for a year before all of this!) When I came to the gym, someone always new came up to me and told me they tried it and liked it! On the down side, that hoop was the ONLY hoop they had, it was a limited time slot that you could use it, and NOW that hoop was being used all the time!
Before I knew it, I had dropped 60 pounds! I had finally reached 160 pounds. I never thought I would be 160 pounds again, EVER! I bought my first beginners hoop on line and had switched gyms. With the new weight loss, I felt confident enough inside the hoop to try a dance hoop. After I bought my first Polypro Hoop, I though I had died and went to heaven. I'd like to think that I am as cool as the famous hoopers on You Tube (LOL).
The real HERO of this story is my husband.
My husband, Michael, is the real hero behind this story. He is a Cancer Survivor, praise God. Rarely, did I hear him complain about the Colon Cancer symptoms he was experiencing. After he received the diagnosis, I saw his mentality change, QUICKLY, to I'm going to beat this. I saw a Fighter, no-a Warrior emerge. I am proud to share with you that he is completely Cancer FREE!!! We will have to include his story in a future post!
To date, I maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, Yoga, Meditation, Dance Class, and Hoop Fitness. In the beginning of my journey I was a size 20/22. I am now a size 10/12! I am passionate about being alive, being able to move, be free!
I buried my struggle with obesity, smoking, and food addiction as long as I could. I rationalized my failures so that I could project a happy life to everyone around me. I could pretend by hiding my fears and faking it, but in the end-I MADE IT OUT ALIVE. This has to be one of the most uncomfortable things for me to talk about, but I'm hoping it will give someone else the courage to pick up and move on.
Please help me share this story so that other's realize they aren't alone. Maybe you know someone that is or has been in a similar predicament and may be searching for a solution. Adversity is difficult to handle alone, which is what I felt most of the time. Now, I am able to look back and have a new perspective on my past. I've learned what I needed to improve and how to move forward.
Not a day goes by that I don't think about those 3 young women, walking and hooping. Not one day. And, if I could, I would shake their hands...NO-I would squeeze their necks in a big hug and tell them 'thank you' for helping me lose 60 pounds! Sharing this story with others means I get to thank these sweet ladies in a new way I never dreamed possible.