This is part 2 continued from yesterday. If you’ve not read that post, you may want to start here.
chapter six: Transitioning into Adulthood
After my son was born while in my early 20’s, I experienced something for the very first time. Obesity. I had struggled with being overweight from childhood, however being very active in dance helped me maintain. While pregnant I took advantage of “eating for two” and it showed. I did not think anything of it, until after giving birth. I guess I expected to birth a 40 pound baby. Shock and awe is what I experienced after the first month when I realized that I wasn’t much lighter or smaller than I was before giving birth. At nine months pregnant, I was the largest I’d ever been in my life, weighing just under 200 pounds. Oh…and yes…that doctor had been correct. I now stood a whopping five feet and a half-inch tall.
This began my next career…dieting. I have done it all…no fat, low fat, no carb, diet pills, diet doctors, starvation, products of this and products of that, etc. I’d lose, gain, lose, gain some more, etc. The next 10 plus years were spent going from one extreme to the other in what I refer to as the yo-yo stage. As I look back over the photos during that time period, it’s sad to see that most were in states of obesity. There are a few photos of when my weight was down, but looking back now I realize that in those times of weight loss, it was not in exchange for health gain!
Chapter Seven: A New Creation!
A few years after my son was born, I went through a major life shift. In the midst of that time something wonderful happened! Although I had always believed in God, I never had a personal relationship with Him. Late one night during a very dark period in my life, I sat on my bed with the television on flipping channels. I stumbled across an evangelist just as he was making a statement about dark lives. He then led the sinner’s prayer and I repeated it and received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I recall having my face in my hands as I began that prayer and when I opened my eyes after saying, “Amen” my face was looking up and the room was full of glory. At that moment my life changed forever. All except the weight issues. I continued to struggle with weight. The yo-yo continued, mostly being on the upswing. This went on for many more years.
During that span I did have the opportunity to teach for a short period of time. A retired professional ballerina opened a ballet academy not far from me and asked me to teach the youngest children. It was during one of my diet pills/doctors/no fat periods and once I began teaching (I was also taking an adult class a few times a week from her) the weight began to melt off.
Then there was an unexpected surprise…
chapter Eight: Unexpected Surgery
At the age of 35, I found myself in need of emergency surgery which turned out to be the result of a tubal pregnancy and led to having a full hysterectomy. As we sat with my doctor, he went over all the side effects of a hysterectomy and of all that he said, there’s only one that I remember…weight gain.
Sure enough, the weight began to climb. And climb. And climb. I reached the largest I’d ever been and the most I had ever weighed which went way beyond my nine month pregnancy state. I was at a point of being considered morbidly obese and I remained there for years.
I was miserable. I wouldn’t even try to lose weight. I was fearful that because it was hormonal, it really wasn’t possible to lose. It was a ridiculous lie of the devil and I know that now. At that time though, I was completely deceived into believing the lie. I hurt. I was in pain when first getting out of bed in the mornings. My joints ached, my feet ached, I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes, I needed extensions for airplane seat-belts, I couldn’t cross my legs and I had reoccurring back issues. I felt old.
Chapter Nine: Supernatural Intervention of God
It was at this point in my life when I was at my heaviest, largest and least healthy that I was dedicated to building a very successful direct sales business. At one point, I was one of the five top Leaders in the entire state of Texas. I traveled with this business several times a year. Although it was product based, I had discovered early on as a child that another passion of mine was the ability to help, lead and influence others. Just like I did in teaching the neighborhood children to dance. I thrived when I was training others how to be successful. And I could do that through my business.
It was on one of the business trips that I experienced what I refer to as, a Supernatural Intervention of God. And what did He use to intervene? A bathroom scale! I had not stepped on a scale in years, only at doctors offices and I’d never look at what the weight read. I’d ask the nurse to please not tell me. But for some reason when I checked into my hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, there was a scale in my bathroom. I’d never heard of or seen one in a hotel room before and for whatever reason, I decided to step up on it. When I did, I was shocked! I could not believe my eyes. And I cried.
Thankfully there was not much time to dwell on these circumstances – after all, I was there for business. The location of the hotel and venue required walking. And walking I did! Several times a day, back and forth from the hotel to the venue to the hotel to the venue and so on. My husband was with me and he had just purchased a new toy, a GPS system. So he tracked the distance and discovered that it was one mile from our room to the venue. Without even thinking, I was walking several miles a day.
After four days of this schedule, it was time to pack up and go home. As I was about to leave, I decided to step on those scales again. When I did, I was once again shocked. This time to discover I had dropped five pounds in those four days simply from walking. I came out of the bathroom in tears saying to my hubby over and over again, “I CAN lose! I CAN lose!”
Chapter Ten: No more weighting
After returning home from that conference, I made immediate changes. I signed up for a major international diet program online, I joined a local dance fitness program and I began to see changes in my body. I was committed, consistent and I persevered. During the next year and a half, I watch my clothes loosen, my body shrink and my ability to dance and exercise increase. I learned a tremendous amount during that time. The Lord spoke to my heart about weight being more than the amount of fat one carries on their body. He spoke more on “the weights that so easily beset us.” He began to show me how body weight problems stem from something much deeper and most of those connections are somehow related to fear. I began sharing what I had learned through Him with others by conducting workshops to rid the weights by renewing the mind. No More Weighting was born!
Through the Lord’s guidance and His assistance in bringing the right people to me at the right time, I published a weekly devotional called, No More Weighting – Thought for the Week. I had started writing a blog and posting a weekly dialog called a Thought for the Week at the beginning of this weight loss journey. I compiled a year’s worth of posts and put them together in book form. (Though the cover may be outdated, the content is still current!) Can be found on Amazon.
Chapter Eleven: The beginning of the End
During that year and a half, I dropped around 80 pounds, but like all other diets, it was not a true lifestyle change and definitely not healthy changes. Even at dropping 80 pounds, I had not reached my ideal weight for my height and had approximately 20 more to go before that goal would be met. However, I allowed outside influences to persuade me to take my focus off my goals and my passions and after maintaining what I had lost for about three years, the weight began to return.
And return it did. From the end of 2009 to the start of 2014 I had gained back all but 20 pounds of what I had originally lost. One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Corinthians 9:27, But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. I felt defeated. I was not practicing what I had preached and I felt disqualified. On top of that, I fell into a “funk” and allowed myself to become a hermit. I didn’t want to go anywhere, do anything, see anybody. I was embarrassed. After all, I had published a book, had trained others on what to do to be successful in weight loss and yet, I was back in a state of morbid obesity. What good was I?
Chapter Twelve: The Turning Point of the Balanced Rock
After our son graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, he returned home for the summer before moving to Chicago to attend Grad School. We asked him where he wanted to go for a vacation before he moved. Of all places, he wanted to go back to Big Bend National Park seeing we had not visited since he was around the age of four.
I had almost every detail of the trip planned out–all but the few days we were staying at the Chisos Mountains Lodge. I asked the men to be in charge of planning what we were doing those few days. And what did they want to do in the middle of July, in the middle of the desert in 100 plus degree temperatures? Hike up to the Balanced Rock! I asked. I got an answer and I was committed.
We started out on the short trail early in the morning, however it did not take long as we walked along the sand path amongst nothing but blue skies, huge red sand boulders and hiding mountain lions for the heat to rise. Walking on a sand path was challenging enough in the heat, however it was nothing compared to what was ahead.
Once we reached the base of the boulders where the Balanced Rock rested (supposedly, because until you reached the top, you could not see it) the real challenge was facing me. As we began the steep climb, I stopped. My heart was racing way beyond what it should have been, I was sweating profusely and I was almost out of water. I stood there and admitted that I would not be able to go on. I was devastated. I am NOT one to quit. Yet, I physically could not go on.
As I stood there trying to persuade my men to go and I’d wait for them, Son decided to “run” ahead to see how much further it was to the top. I watched him leaping up what was a giant mountain to me, as disappointment set in. I would turn 50 that December and although I’ve confessed for years of being only 24, for the first time I did not feel 24. I realized that because I was so out of shape, I was going to have to miss out on an experience with my husband and son. What was even worse was the realization that I would miss out on many other things in my future because of being unhealthy and out of shape!
He returned and assured me that it wasn’t that much further and if I took it very slow, I would be able to make it. I agreed to attempt it with the promise they would continue on if I felt I just couldn’t do it. With Son in front pulling me when there was a huge step up, and Hubby behind pushing, we slowly made our way up. It took a while, it was very steep, very hot and I was very exhausted. If you have ever felt like your head would explode and your heart leap out of your chest, then you know what I was experiencing. I had my camera on me, but couldn’t have cared less about taking any pictures. I just wanted to live and make it to the top.
I promised myself and God that if I could make it to the top, I would come home and make changes to get in shape so that the next time I was at the base of a huge physical mountain, I’d be in shape to make it to the top – perhaps even skipping and running up it just like Son did.
I came home and immediately joined a gym and began going. However, it was another seven months before I TRULY committed to making that change.
Chapter Thirteen: A New life, a True Lifestyle Change
March 7, 2014, is a day marked in my mind and in history as the beginning of a new…