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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

(This is me about a month before my high school graduation)

So, after high school, I went to a local college for a semester. When my father got sick, I dropped out of college 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.

(This is me on my way to a wedding in June of '95)

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.

(On the left is me in May of '96, on the right is me in Oct. of '97 - a few months after meeting 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 a person other than my parents...

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. :(

(This is me in February of '99)

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, 2000 and have not looked back since. Here's what I'm doing ...

(My highest weight ever - Christmas '99. Yuck!

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.

(This is me in February 2000 after losing about 10 pounds.)

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 elevator. You'd be surprised how much the little things count! Also, big difference, I drink water now and lots of it. :)

(This is me in June of 2000 - I've lost about 45 pounds.

(This is me in July of '00 - about 55 pounds down.

(This is me in early September of '00 - 66 pounds gone)

To date, I've lost 96 pounds and I've gone from a size 18/20 to a size 10. I still have another 15 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.

(Phil and I in late September of '00 - 70 pounds gone)

(My mom and I at a wedding in early October of '00 - 72 pounds gone

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. :)

This is me at our engagement party at the end of October '00 - 75 pounds gone.

This is Phil and I posing in front of our little Christmas tree in the year 2000 (hint : compare and contrast the year 2000 Christmas picture with the year 1999 Christmas picture elsewhere on this page :)) In this picture, I'm down 90 pounds from my start weight.


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