Archive for the ‘before & after’ Category

no longer a sofa spud

from class III obesity to half marathon

Read Full Post »

the journey continues

Last week I created a page on Facebook to go along with my blog! Sunday I posted a few “before” and “after” photos. A kind lady named Sally, who is a Registered Dietitian, made this comment…

“I’d love to know what other positive changes you’ve noticed as you’ve changed your lifestyle. Weight loss is often what others notice most, but is usually only one of many positive benefits of a change to a healthy lifestyle.”

It’s a great topic so I will share that answer here with all of you. Sally is right about weight loss only being a small part of it, like the cover on a complex book. Let’s look, briefly, at the first chapters of my journey before we talk about where I am now and what some of the other benefits have been.

Emotionally, I was very timid albeit I put on a good front in social situations. I’d get anxiety when we had to go anywhere. I’d actually toss my cookies before we went out and sometimes my husband Bryan would even have to stop the car. I was terrified of rocking the boat. If you said the sky was yellow and I knew that it was blue, I’d agree with you just so you’d like me. I felt like everyone was judging me because of my weight and some people were. I had absolutely no confidence and I felt alone even in a crowded room. When it came to self-image, I hated looking in a mirror and I hated myself. I detested shopping for clothing. I wanted to hide. I quit taking care of myself on the outside and on the inside. I started becoming reclusive and would barely leave the house; instead I would have friends come over to visit. Even then, I’d often cancel at the last moment. I lost all of my passion for the things I enjoyed doing, including artistic endeavors.

Physically, I was prone to extreme bouts of bronchitis and occasionally pneumonia. I’d be down for six to eight weeks at a time and it would take months for my breathing to return to what was normal for me back then. My nails were brittle and my scalp was always dry. My hair would fall out in handfuls. My skin was even affected. I was tired all the time and listless. My posture was awful and I had a hump shape to my back because of excess fat. I had one across the hips too and would often suffer horribly from sciatica. Standing up straight was impossible because of both the weight and years of trying to make my almost 6 foot tall frame appear shorter. I was klutzy because I was so self-conscious and I was always falling.

The transformation started and here’s the answer to Sally’s query.

As Sally mentioned, it wasn’t just the weight that came off. Everything started to heal. My skin and hair were better. My nails became stronger. My posture improved. The sciatica was a thing of the past. I wasn’t horribly hot all the time and I could actually sweat. But what was happening inside was more remarkable. Just over two-thirds of the way through this weight loss I was diagnosed as diabetic and put on insulin, and, as you probably read in earlier postings, I reversed all need for diabetes medications. My enlarged heart started to reverse, my liver enzymes sorted out, my blood pressure went down dramatically. Over a decade of infertility was resolved because my hormones leveled out. Diabetic retinopathy, a serious eye condition, started to heal. My cardiovascular health improved and I can breathe. I can run up the stairs and not have to pull myself up with the banister. Even intimacy is different. Not just with my darling husband but even something simple as hugging a friend. Hugs no longer make me cringe.

Now I’ll tell you about the emotional side of things. This change in me has been as much to do with weight-loss as it has to do with the confidence that came from putting on a backpack for the first time and going into the wilderness. That energized my spirit as well as my body. I wanted more. As the outer transformation started so did the inner changes. I finally decided to become a Mom. In the same year I started pursuing my dream of becoming a published author and freelance writer. I started doing things that I loved again, and picked up a sketchbook for the first time in years. I embraced being daring and did things I thought I could never do. Things that others told me I couldn’t do—canoeing, backpacking, cycling, running, and hiking. I did them despite the naysayers. The more I did, the stronger I became and the more things I wanted to try. I started thinking positive and accepting that I didn’t have to put limitations on myself just because others had—that I can do anything I put my mind to.

I’ve embraced that I am my own person instead of trying desperately to be who others want me to be. I share my opinions even if they differ from my friends. I make the first move to introduce myself to new people and I am strong enough to walk away from negative people who try to sabotage my efforts and hold me back. I even garnered enough courage to teach wilderness cooking workshops and am considering becoming a motivational speaker. Teaching, even though it was my dream, was something that I would have never done when I was obese, because I was just way too self-conscious. I am no longer so ashamed of the obesity and I can share my “before” photos because I’m proud of what I have accomplished—that I have overcome what I once thought was impossible.

So there you have it. Losing weight isn’t just about what others see on the outside, it goes far deeper that. It is a culmination of a healthy body, mind, and spirit. It’s about creating boundaries with how I fuel my body while breaking the boundaries of what I perceive I am capable of doing from a physical standpoint. It’s about becoming whole and being confident, meeting challenges head on and accepting myself and all my idiosyncrasies.

Read Full Post »

a big difference

Read Full Post »

The last before & after I posted was in November 2011 and I had just started a Couch to 5K program in order to run my first race. That first race was a week ago and I had a much better pace than I expected. In fact, I set a new PR  (a term runners use for one’s personal record).

Since I started running back at the end of November, I’ve lost more weight and I’ve toned my body more than I expected I would. I’ve discovered I have bad-ass long legs. I always knew I had long legs but it seems the leaner they get, the longer they look. A lady I occasionally run with started calling me “Leggie Lu”. Aside from the legs, I’ve also gained some muscle. Rather than obsess with the scale I’ve tracked my progress with a seamstress’ tape measure. The results… well, since Christmas I have lost 11 inches overall.  I’ve lost inches off my waist, bust, and abdomen. I lost one inch off my neck and a little bit off the upper arms. My calves and thighs are the same measurements but instead of soft and squishy, they are toned and solid. Muscular. I still have weight to lose and toning to do but I can really see (and feel) the results. I’m also finding bones that I’ve never felt—like my hip bones and my collar bone.

Oddly, when I look back, I don’t really remember the obese lady that I was. How I felt and how I carried all that weight has become a mere memory. Sometimes I look at the photos and I forget that was me hiding behind the physical and emotional walls that held me prisoner. Other times I feel like I am looking at a photo of a stranger. Back then I would have argued that I was active and healthy even though I was obese. Obesity is NEVER healthy, physically or emotionally and I am so thankful I did what it takes to get this far. I am now overweight and not obese. Soon I will be out of that category too—I don’t have far to go in comparison to how far I have already come in this battle.

You may wonder why I reflect on this. Why not forget about the past?  Taking a look at the journey I’ve made so far is important because it reminds me that I’ve worked much too hard at achieving a healthy lifestyle to ever regress to being morbidly obese again.  The most important part of why I do this is simply to keep a positive outlook and continue being motivated to move forward. To see how far I’ve come amazes and inspires me. Hopefully my story will bring inspiration to others as well because, if I can do this, anyone can! All it takes is a commitment to change and the motivation to follow through.  No excuses!

So, with that in mind, here is are two more before & after photos.

before – over 300 pounds

morning of my first race

Read Full Post »

When I wrote about my weight loss journey earlier this year I included a before and after shot. Still being a bit shy about my body, the after shot was of my face. Today, as I take a rest day from my running training, I thought I’d share two photos with you. The first was taken by our friend Brad in 1998 or thereabouts—a good year before I started doing rugged backpacking trips. I was in the 330 pound range (sadly, that wasn’t at my heaviest either). The second photo is of me at 197 pounds. It was taken this afternoon and I am wearing my running clothes by Skirt Sports.

So… if you ever feel like you can’t do it or you don’t have what it takes to make positive change in your life, just look at these photos. If I can do this… anyone can! As the Nike slogan says… Just Do It!

before – 330 pounds

runner in training

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: