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I know what it feels like to be overweight.
No, I understand how it feels to be fat.
It’s depressing, humiliating, and unhealthy to say the least.
I know from experience.
See, up until about six years ago, my obesity held me captive on the right side of the bed. Aside from the few school and mandatory extra curricular activities I had to attend, I went nowhere.
I was the female version of Howard Hughes- without all of the injections and millions of dollars.
I had what doctors call, depression, and what buffet owners call jackpot.
I had a lot of feelings.
And I ate them.
I found that Mom guilt pairs well with Cheez-Its and cold Coca-Colas.
I found hope in cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
And marathon viewings of Law & Order SVU.
It was a vicious cycle because the more I ate, the worse I felt, and the worse I felt the more I ate.
At my heaviest, I bore a striking resemblance to Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers series.
This is a picture of me after I lost about 30 pounds. No photos can be found of me at my heaviest so far, but I’m still searching…
I was medicating myself with junk food.
I hated myself.
And I hated myself for hating myself because I knew my husband and my children deserved better than I was giving them.
I knew I needed to change, but like most people, I was going to change tomorrow, or Monday, or after this bowl of Rocky Road with whipped cream and nuts.
I procrastinated procrastinating.
I was so ashamed.
I knew I needed to take action, but I kept waiting for the right time.
I COULDN’T BREATHE
As in, literally. I was having trouble inhaling.
One cold December morning in 2011, I woke up and couldn’t take a full breath. I had been having a bit of chest pain, but I wrote it off as a pulled muscle because I wasn’t sick.
I hadn’t even coughed or sneezed.
It turns out I was sick.
I had pneumonia with a collapsed lung.
Once I got to the hospital, I became the proud owner of a chest tube and three units of blood.
The doctor even hooked my new pipeline to a fancy medical Hoover Vac since I had a special kind of screwed up pneumothorax thing going on in my lung.
This would mean no showers for the week I resided in the hospital’s care.
Oh, and Dr. Vacuum jump started the exercise routine I was avoiding by assigning me mandatory walks around the infirmary in my hospital gown and safety socks pushing the chest vac in a wheelchair in front of me.
Kind of like a geriatric baby stroller.
I lost a lot of pride in that hospital.
Because my case was considered “serious,” I was on the fourth floor along with elderly patients with limited mental capacity and a few nurses who had completely lost their passion.
Every day I would stroll my wheelchair down the east end of the floor, and every day I would hear the same patients screaming at the nurses.
“I WANNA GO HOME…I WANNA GO HOME!!!”
“I WANT JUICE I WANT JUICE!!!”
The nurses ignored them.
They had to scream because they did not have anyone there for them.
Then there was me.
35-year-old fat, depressed Heather in a lovely couture backless hospital gown pushing her geriatric baby stroller with her husband by her side.
He was there for me every single day.
Sometimes he spent the night on the vinyl baby blue guest couch in my room, and other days he drove the hour from our hometown to the hospital. He was there when I woke up in the morning, and he stayed until I fell asleep at night.
I never had to scream for juice.
I never will.
I had been such a fool to feel sorry for myself.
If I can get out of this place, I’m going to live.
And I did.
I started making changes to my life, slowly.
I read about Natalie Jill.
She was a mom like me who had hit rock bottom.
Gained a lot of weight and didn’t recognize herself anymore.
But then she turned it all around.
Without spending a ton of money on trainers and gym memberships.
I was inspired to keep going.
I traded the cheeseburgers for fruit and veggies and started exercising.
I went to therapy and got help for my depression.
I took medication.
I am not ashamed to admit that.
One in four people will have a mental health issue at some point in their lives, and the stigma attached to it leads to them suffering in shame.
Often going public leads to healing.
Every time I wanted to quit and feel sorry for myself I thought about those patients on the fourth floor.
I WANT JUICE.
I WANT TO GO HOME.
That was all the motivation I needed to get back on track.
Let me be clear.
I couldn’t have done this on my own.
Bad habits are hard to break.
I needed the right mindset to achieve my goal.
I have lost over ONE HUNDRED POUNDS
I am a different person. I’m a better mother, wife, and overall human being.
See, confidence is a key ingredient to success in life. I didn’t have any confidence when I was overweight.
All I could do was dream about my goals. Now I’m working towards them.
My son Nathan, has autism. He needs a mom who can advocate for him and stand up for him. Six years ago that was not me.
I used to daydream on the right side of the bed about writing my story, my memories; my thoughts…to have something of my own.
But instead of taking action, I took a walk to the refrigerator.
I’m proud of what I have accomplished.
I know that if I can do it, anyone can.
It’s never too late.
You don’t need to wait until your health fails to take action.
You don’t need to wait until after the holidays.
Stop talking yourself out of getting your life back!
I can report from the other side of things that it feels SO MUCH BETTER HERE!
The best advice I can give you is to do something today that your future self will thank you for!
Let me share a few tips to get you going.
8 TIPS TO LOSE THE WEIGHT & GET YOUR LIFE BACK
DRINK WATER! Water helps boost metabolism. In fact, it can boost your metabolism by 24-30% over 1.5 hours and help you burn calories.
Coffee is fine too as long as it’s not too full of sugar and cream! The caffeine in coffee can help boost metabolism and increase fat burning!
Cut back on Carbs! I stopped eating a lot of refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta and I saw great results! (Before you go on ANY diet you should check with your Dr.!)
Healthy Snacks! Keep more fruit around and less Twinkies & Cheeze-Its! That way, when you do need a snack you can grab an apple! My favorite is an apple with peanut butter!
EXERCISE! I started out by walking. Then I amped it up. And up. And up! Natalie has a great plan here that I recommend.
Ask Yourself Why You’re Eating? No, I have not lost my mind. I used to eat because I was sad or bored or a certain show was on TV. Only eat when you are hungry and then STOP eating when you’re full.
Use a smaller plate! When we traveled to France I noticed something strange about their china. It seemed tiny compared to the big buffet plates over in the USA. I was right. They use smaller plates and it helps those healthy French women consume fewer calories. They also walk everywhere!