Transformation of the Day: Veronica lost 115 pounds. She didn’t truly realize the impact of the weight she carried until she was diagnosed with gallstones. Learning how to use various diet plans to get the results she needed was key to her success. Nature and art therapy was such a significant part of her journey that she is completing her Doctorate degree in Philosophy in Applied Ecopsychology. Check out her story.
What was your motivation?
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with gallstones that it occurred to me that I was overweight, severely in fact. Even though I had stopped getting on the scale at about 350-360, I had become so accustomed to my size that it faded into the background.
What inspired you to keep going when you wanted to give up?
Originally, it was the fact that I refused to have gallbladder surgery. I felt I could do it on my own, and being a nurse, I had serious reservations about undergoing surgery. The diet plan of choice for that time was Adkins. I had learned about it from reading the cover story of a Women’s Magazine while waiting in line at the grocery store. “Lose 10 pounds in 14 days” grabbed my attention so I tried it and it worked. That definitely got my mojo running in the right
direction. I continued with a high protein, low carb lifestyle and the weight continued to come down. I didn’t see much difference, but every day I went in to work my co-workers were would ask, “What are you doing, you look great.” That helped me maintain for a while. It was at that time that I got under the 300 lbs mark. Words cannot possibly explain the way I felt. My hope was renewed.
How did you change your eating habits?
The Adkins plan actually helped me to be more aware of how foods work together and how my body responds to them. I learned to replace many of the foods I love with healthier, more supportive alternatives. Many people frown at and speak against diets, but not me. I have tried a variety of them and continue to learn and glean something from each of them. From Atkins, (my maintenance plan) to Ketogenic dieting, (which I use when I want to eat sweets or know I will be vacationing or on the road) and from carb cycling (which I use to tone) to even the green smoothie detox (which I use to give my liver a vacation and reboot all of my systems).
Long story short, I am no longer a slave to any diet, but instead I continue to educate myself on what works best for my body. And as far as how I changed my eating habits… though diet plans jumpstarted the whole change of mind, it is my continued participation in nature therapy and art therapy that has helped me to make me priority. That’s when the change happened…so suddenly actually, I didn’t really realize it had happened. My family made sure, however, to point it out when they visit and find no sodas, juices, or sugary delights in fridge or cabinets; or at potlucks because they know my “chocolate cake” was made in some unconventional way (i.e. avocado, zucchini,almond flour, infused, etc… lol).
What did you stop or start eating?
Here’s what’s great. I haven’t stopped eating any specific food… oh, wait except McDonald’s. Again the more my mind transforms about the quality of life that I want, so does has I take in to
support it. As I have explained, I have learned to use different diet plans to support the lifestyle I want vs restrain it. Each diet plan works because of the how food is paired to work with each other to produce certain results. I use the data, logic and evidence so I can eat out or vacation without reservation.
What did your workout routines look like?
I really despised the gym at first, and had none- too -delightful experiences with personal trainers. So, I would take nature walks which shockingly enough landed me in the gym. I still work out very sporadically (i.e. One month at a time going strong and relax for like 2-3 months) because I just don’t like being inside and nor do I like monotony. Even until this day working out is not my strong point, so I increase my movement and physical activity by dancing. Instead of focusing on food alone when I go out with hubby, I opt for places we can walk, dance, move around a bit, walk to places instead of driving. I purposely include activities that get me moving, like swing dancing lessons, belly dancing, walking on the beach, walks to the park, etc. When I go to the gym it’s always 45-55 minutes/ 6 days a week; using interval training. This always helps me tone and lose any vacation or winter month pounds.
Starting weight/Current weight
At my last weigh in at my highest weight I weighed about about 360 pounds. My current weight is 245 pounds at 5’3”. (No surgery was involved with this transformation.)
How long did your journey take?
It’s been a little over 10 years. Some days I wanted to beat myself up for not being at my goal weight yet. Then, I look at so many others who have been on this journey with me or that I
have met. I see how they have either gained the weight back or gained more. I am so glad it is more than just about the weight for me now. It is honestly about experiencing well-being every day, every moment.
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
Make yourself priority, weight loss is an automatic result.
I still actively participate in nature therapy and art therapy as both student and now teacher. This is about the only two “programs” I utilize consistently. Since the beginning of my transformation I have gone from operating as a nurse to acquiring a Master of Science in Applied Ecopsychology, Eco-Art Therapy Certification, Wellness Inventory Coach, and completing my Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Ecopsychology. I teach others how to assess and create balance in their own lives. I also stress to them what I have come to learn… the food wasn’t the problem, it was my addiction to it that was the problem. The teaching is not just for the students or clients but is bi-directional; as it keeps my mind focused on wellness. I call myself a Holistic Entrepreneur. My love, life, work and spiritually are not separate. Living well is my life.