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I wasn't always this overweight. I was always a little bit bigger than my friends, but nothing terribly unhealthy. I guess I can attribute that to the fact that I religiously played sports all my life. After high school, I got a basketball scholarship to one school, but chose not to take it. I won't say that was a mistake, because I don't believe in those, but it might have been the catalyst to the *many* extra pounds I put on during the subsequent years

So, after high school, I went to a local college for a semester. When my father got sick, I dropped out of high school to take care of him. The next year, I went part time to the local state university (SUNY Albany) and gained maybe 25 pounds or so. This was in 1993. By the time my father passed away in 1995, I had lost about 45 pounds and I think that I was at my "best" weight. I'm really proud that he was able to see me like that.

My father died in May of 1995 and that summer I, for whatever reason, decided to pack up and move to South Carolina to go to school. I had a great litte apartment on the beach in Myrtle Beach and, during that year, I gained probably about 20 pounds, but I still think I looked pretty good. In 1996, I again moved home. By 1997, I had gained another 20 pounds ... and that's when I met Phil.

Phil loved me for me - instantly. I still remember him putting his arms around me one time ... saying that he thought I was "skinny". I was amazed, but I didn't want to correct him :) I met him in August of 1997 and, by the winter of '98, I would say I'd gained another 20 pounds. For some, they eat because they're masking problems of unhealthy relationships. I was just the opposite. I ate because I *could* ... for the first time, I felt so free and unconditionally loved ...

By the winter of 1999, I had gained about 30 more pounds. I worked retail that Christmas season, and I remember my feet just *killing* me! I tried dieting that Spring and managed to lose 20 pounds by Easter, but it all came back soon enough. Then, in the fall of '99, Phil and I moved to Long Island and I gained another 20 pounds by years end - putting me at my highest weight ever. :(

On November 14th, 1999, Phil asked me to marry him. I was actually at my highest weight ever ... can you believe it? yet, after I said "yes", I still managed to live in denial about my weight for another couple of months. It wasn't until the new year, that I had the realization that propelled me on this journey. I love Phil with all my heart. I want to live as many years as possible with him. Yet, I was risking all that because of my weight. With my father dying of diabetes, I was literally *killing* myself with food and I was NOT going to let that happen to me. I started this journey on January 3rd, 200 and have not looked back since. Here's what I'm doing ...

First, I don't believe that there is any way I will "fail" at this. Therefore, I rarely even feel like I'm trying to lose weight - I just am. I believe that weight loss is 99% in your mind: If you think you will and you are *truly* ready, then you *will* succeed. It's as simple as that.

I also don't believe in any of the "fad" diets (ie. low carb, atkins, whatever..) Not that those ways of eating don't work for some - I know they do. I just don't think that cutting out *any* food is the way to go. I literally eat every single thing I used to before I started losing - just a little less of it. I'm never ever hungry and I don't deprive myself at all. I also increased my activity, although probably not as much as I should. I walk a lot more and I *always* take the stairs as opposed to the elevtor. You'd be surprised how much the little things count! Also, big difference, I drink water now and lots of it. :)

To date, I've lost 87 pounds and I've gone from a size 18/20 to a size 12. I still have another 25 or so to go before I make my "ultimate" goal - but I have no doubt that I will reach it. To me, losing this weight means so much more than just fitting into a wedding dress next June. I simply have so much to live for now - my future with Phil is worth so much ... risking that is out of the question. Fortunately, I realized that before it was too late and I thank God.

So that's my story. If it was of any help to anyone, than I feel a bit better ... and everything I've been through will have been worth it. :)
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