I have been on the most exciting journey over the past year and a half. Before I tell you about the journey, let me back up to give you a little history. Growing up, I was always pretty average sized. When my husband and I started dating, I gained a little weight because we ate out a lot but the problem really started with my first pregnancy. I gained about 30 pounds and 5 years later, I was still holding onto that 30 pounds. During those 5 years, I tried lots of diets and exercise plans with poor results. Finally, I tried a program called “The Neuropsychology of Weight Control.” It worked but it was very, very strict. I lost that 30 pounds and then, you guessed it… got pregnant again. And so began that horrible roller coaster of weight that so many of us have been on. We’re up, then we are down, then up again and so on.
The same thing happened with my second pregnancy, only this time, 3 years after the birth of my second daughter, I was my heaviest at 215. I hated how I looked and felt. (I may have felt better about how I looked had it not been for that perm but in my defense, it was the 90’s.)
Again, I turned to the only thing that had worked for me. I made some modifications to the program and stuck with it. In about 10 months, I lost 75 pounds! I was smaller than when I got married. I felt great!
Unfortunately, I met my weight goal in October and so when the holidays came, I loosened up my eating habits. After the holidays, I was unable to get my eating under control again although I did continue to exercise. Over the next year, I gained back about 25 of those pounds. Early the next year, I got sick with influenza. I spent my 30th birthday in bed. After recovering, I developed daily headaches for about 5 weeks then all of a sudden, I was struck with debilitating fatigue. I was tired all of the time. My arms would get tired brushing my hair. My legs would get tired just walking across a room. I had to take naps all the time. I didn’t know what was happening to me. It was frustrating and scary. I underwent multiple medical tests and every time the results were normal. My doctor began to treat me like it was all in my head. The next several years were some of the most trying for me. I went through multiple doctors and continued to have tests that provided no answers. Every test result brought mixed feelings. On one hand, I was relieved to not have whatever disease they were testing me for but on the other hand, I didn’t know what to do to feel better because I didn’t know what I was dealing with. Finally, my doctor told me that he had ruled out anything else and it must be chronic fatigue syndrome.
For the next 10 years, I had given up on finding a doctor who could really help me. I did my own research but nothing I found was very helpful. Over that 10 years, I continued to gain weight and eventually weighed 240 pounds! I moved less and less. I felt worse and worse. I was unable to do my job and considered going on disability. Luckily, I had the opportunity to switch to a less demanding job in my field and cut back to part time. I had almost given up.
By 2008, I had had enough and with a glimmer of hope, I decided to try once more.
Again, I turned to the only thing that had brought me any success. I lost about 60 pounds and was even able to start exercising again.
Then we moved our family from South Dakota to Texas. The next 2 years were very stressful for a number of reasons. Because I am an emotional eater, I turned to food to ease the stress. The stress (and the havoc that it wreaks on a body) was also a factor in gaining back the weight. And gain it back, I did. By the time we moved back to South Dakota, I weighed 235 pounds again and my fatigue was back with a vengeance. I know in this picture I do not look like I had debilitating fatigue. I had gotten very good at hiding my fatigue and discomfort as well as just pushing myself in order to enjoy time with family and friends. I would always pay for it, often spending the next day in bed.
Then, in the fall of 2013, I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” about a guy named Joe Cross. He went on a juice fast and traveled across the country sharing his experience. Something really hit home with me. I began to have hope again that I could feel better. I ran right out and bought a juicer and spent the next month trying different recipes.
On October 31, 2013 I took the picture on the left. I knew that it would be hard to look at but I also knew that I would want to see my progress visually as well as on the scale. On Nov. 1, along with my sister, I began a juice fast. I didn’t eat at all. I only drank fruit and vegetable juices. I was hoping to make it 15 days. Well, I made it 25 days. The support that my sister and I gave to each other had a lot to do with the success. I lost 20 pounds and began to feel more energetic and younger. The next month, I continued to drink juices and eat a healthy dinner. The month after that, I did another juice fast for 30 days followed by another month of juices and healthy dinners. By then (March 2014), I was feeling great. I was off my blood pressure medication. The only drawback was that after 4 months of such a drastic change to my diet, I was losing my hair and decided I had to start eating real food again. Along the way, I had also discovered that gluten contributed largely to my fatigue. Every time I ate something with gluten, I felt the heaviness and fatigue that I had experienced for so many years. I did some reading and decided that a low carbohydrate diet was the way to go. I spent lots of time on Pinterest and various blogs (like this one) to find low carb recipes. I continued to lose weight on this plan but the rate was inconsistent and I was often frustrated. After about 6 months and 50 pounds, a friend who is a health coach saw my success and began encouraging me to become a health coach. I joined an online health challenge through his program. I started learning the tools I needed to not only finish my journey but also to stay healthy for the rest of my life. I really wanted to help others experience the same kind of transformation that I was experiencing. I just felt so amazing that I couldn’t keep it to myself. So, I decided to join him and become a health coach. Since partnering with this terrific health coach, adopting the principles and using the products in this program, I have been able to reach my goal of losing 100 pounds! I took the picture on the right 18 months after the first one. Some people have commented that they can’t believe I took the first picture, let alone post it on Facebook. I told them that I wanted to show a real body and how a real person with a serious weakness for food could transform their health and body. I don’t like looking at the first picture but I like to be reminded of where I was. It helps me to remember the way I used to feel and the way I used to think about food, health and goals. And that allows me help my clients better.
To celebrate, I bought some new clothes and had the amazing Cary Gerdes shoot some photos of me to share with you. She did a great job, don’t you think?
I feel amazing!! I have so much energy, I have normal blood pressure without medication. I am able to tolerate vigorous exercise 5 days a week. I can do anything I want to do and I feel so free. I am currently coaching several clients through this amazing journey of obtaining optimal health and it is so rewarding and inspiring! If you are interested in getting off of that roller coaster, losing weight, improving your health and achieving your goals, contact me for more information or click here. I would LOVE to partner with you as your personal health coach.
And keep coming back. This blog will be a place where you can learn about the healthy practices that have brought me to this place. Come join me on this wonderful journey! You will find me here because I am NEVER going back to that old life! And I couldn’t be happier!!