Today’s featured weight loss success story: Diona lost 67 pounds. This amazing cancer survivor lost weight in the past but had to adopt high calorie eating to deal with the effects of cancer treatment. Thus, she gained weight again after treatment. She took charge of the circumstances she was dealing with and made lifestyle changes to reach the level of wellness she shines with today. Here is what she shared about her journey:
“It’s funny that my first memory of knowing how much I weighed was in the 6th grade when my brother came home from basic training. He said “I can look at you and tell you weigh 200 pounds.” It wasn’t in a mean way. He was more so trying to show that he could lift me, while proving that he was strong after his military training. Throughout the years, I knew that I was overweight. But, it didn’t really bother me. I’d always been that way. It didn’t stop me from being popular, accomplishing personal goals, joining a sorority, etc. By the time I finished my MBA, I weighed 368 pounds. I tried a variety of diets, both physician supervised and alone, and finally got to 220 pounds. I was comfortable there – for a while.
4 years ago, I got diagnosed with non-Hodgin’s Lymphoma. Immediately, I went from 220 to 206. My oncologist told me to “ignore all food rules”. She said that it was imperative that I eat what I can, when I can. A year of chemotherapy and radiation was not the time to lose weight. I was very sick for a year and even the thought or smell of food would make me sick. So, I lived off of popsicles, ice cream, and other foods high in carbs/calories.
I survived and continued to eat the same way. Slowly, I crept back up to 289 pounds. I was so happy to be alive, I was LIVING, eating, and drinking. I knew I’d gained weight. But, I felt it was like 20 pounds or so. It wasn’t until an occluded artery, resultant from my cancer treatment, sent me to the ER that I got on a scale and I was devastated. How did I let myself get back to almost 300 pounds? More importantly, how was I going to get it off?
I tried all of my old tricks, no carbs, no soda, no this, no that. I’d lose a pound or two. But, nothing significant. I started going to the gym to sit in the sauna. One of the side effects of my occluded artery is that my face and arms retained water. So, that was the easiest way I knew to sweat. Then, my dog was hit by a car. At that point, I didn’t want to go home because there was no one there. So, I started actually doing some cardio at the gym and trying to stay there until it closed. Frustrated, because I didn’t really know what to do, I cut off my cable, made some other financial adjustments, and signed up with a personal trainer.
When we began to work out, he asked “What is your goal?” My response “To get back into my black dress.” If you would have told me in June that I’d be back in my black dress TODAY I wouldn’t have believed you. The weight I gained is off and I am well on my way to being smaller than I’ve ever been – including in the 6th grade.
This time around, there were no tricks, no supplements, no doctors. Just me, my trainer, the gym, and my favorite – the gold old outdoors. He told me my body would respond well to working out outside and I didn’t believe him. Now, I crave it. We do old fashioned stuff; jumping jacks, leg lifts, jogging, knee-ups, etc. I eat regular food but find myself watching what I put in my mouth because I know how hard my workouts are. It’s funny that people always ask “What are you doing?” then they seem upset when I say “Working out and eating less.” But, it’s the truth. I work out with my trainer 4 to 5 times per week. I do cardio at least twice a week. I try to rest on Sundays. But, I have so much energy now and I’m so happy that I always find myself doing something, even if it’s walking the mall to shop for my new body.
The last thing that I will say is I can definitely tell a difference between diet and diet AND exercise. Although my weight is 2 pounds more than before, I am a full dress size smaller.”