Where to start the story of my “Journey” ….. As long as I can remember I have always been overweight. I always used food as a crutch – when I was sad – I ate – when I was depressed – I ate – when I was happy – I ate – when I was ________ (fill in the blank) – I ate. My youth was difficult due to an alcoholic mother. My refuge was FOOD. No I am not using that as an excuse – It was just my reality and how I chose to handle it. Now to be honest, I used to blame my mother for my weight problem, but I grew up and realized she didn’t make me eat….I did.
I always knew I was overweight and went on and off diets MANY …. MANY …. MANY times (weight watchers, sheer will power, etc.) only to lose 20 pounds and later gain 30 pounds. So at some point, probably in my mid to late 30’s, I just resolved to be FAT. Anytime I went on a diet I would just gain it all back and more, so no more dieting for me – EVER…..
Oh I would look in the mirror – and think – I wish I could lose the weight. I thought about weight loss surgery, but that was just too expensive and just not an option for me. Every year I would tell myself that “next year” or “tomorrow” I will work on my weight, but that was only me putting it off or making excuses. I literally HATED when anyone would take pictures of me. Many times I had friends remove pictures they would post on Facebook because of how ashamed, embarrassed, and pathetic I looked. I have said I was over weight – but the proper term is OBESE – but what could I do that I had not done before….so again I just went on with my same thought process of “I am doomed to be fat” – “it is what it is,” I would think to myself.
So when did that old mind set change…..
In 2013, I knew I had to travel long distance three times for work. Oh the dreaded Fat Lady Flying. Yeah I understand small people hate sitting next to big fat ladies on a plane, but the agony I went through was so painful it is truly hard to express. As I think of it now, it still brings tears to my eyes. I would take hours trying to find the right flight, the best option was the small planes that have the one seat rows – so I could pick the one seat row and not encroach on someone else’s space. But that was not always and option. I would go online to Seat Guru.com, to try to see which planes had bigger (wider) seats. It was so much agony. And that was just the start…then I would pick a flight and constantly check to see if the flight was full – I was so afraid that I would board a plane and be told “you are too big – you cannot fly today,” I feared being stranded (especially when I could not get a direct flight). I would get to the airport and watch all the people who had to board and wonder if they would have enough seat belt extenders, wonder who would be thinking “great SHE’s sitting next to me”…. Sometimes the long walks between flights and gates were so difficult. My feet hurt, I was sweating badly, and I was just plain miserable.
Also, in 2013, we decided on a joint vacation with my son’s girlfriend’s family to …. The beach … great – the beach – not my place at all. When researching the beach trip, all I could see were the things I could not do because of my weight. Parasailing sounded so fun, but I exceeded the weight limit, a banana boat ride sounded so awesome, but what if I fell off, could I get back on, etc. etc. etc.
THEN …. The moment my life changing “Journey” began … A super close friend of mine mentioned how she was going to try some meal replacement shakes to lose some weight (of course she was one of those people who in my mind DID NOT need to lose any weight – you know who I am talking about). BUT I thought “huh a meal replacement shake….that seems doable. Should I give it a try?” The truth is, that to start losing weight YOU have to be ready AND in the right mind set and I was definitely ready (i.e. flight agony and pending beach trip). Everyone around me knew I was fat, I knew I was fat, but until I was in the RIGHT MIND SET to lose the weight, none of that mattered. My friend was kind enough to give me about a week’s worth of a product she and her sister were on. It tasted ok, but was expensive and I really did not like the concept of, “If you sign 3 people up yours is free,” because that means that the 3 are over paying. But the concept of a meal replacement shake really seemed doable, so I researched meal replacement shakes and read dozens of reviews. At the number 1 spot on most lists was Ideal Shape (based on taste, hunger control, price, etc.), so I ordered the 4 tub package and have not looked back. The shakes are amazing and the hunger blocker is already in the mix (with the other shake I tried you had to add a pack of hunger blocker powder (more money) and to me it made the shakes grainy).
Remember before I said to myself I would never “diet” again, well this is not a diet, it is a JOURNEY. A way of life. A change to my whole concept of food and eating. So my first step, after ordering the shakes, was to research what I had been eating……wow….real eye opener. One of my favorite sayings I have learned during this “journey” is “EAT TO FUEL … don’t eat to eat”. What a grand concept. Let that sink in a moment….Eat to Fuel. Eat to Fuel. Eat to Fuel. In today’s society we eat to eat, eat to socialize, eat when sad, and eat when others are eating. But the concept of EAT to FUEL really stuck with me and I think of that concept every day. I ask myself, “Kelly are you about to Eat to Fuel or just eat to eat?”
Side benefits – lower blood pressure (normal now – I was at Stroke level) – confidence and just plain excited. I have so much energy now that I am excited to see what my day will bring. When I first started this “journey” I couldn’t even walk in the park for more than a half mile (at a very slow 2mph pace) without having to sit down and rest. Now I go to the gym and am able to walk/run on the treadmill or at the park for 5 miles in just over 1 hour (best time so far is 1:07:19). I will continue to work on working out, but just thinking of where I was and where I am now keeps me striving to “keep on keeping on”.
When I run into people I have not seen in a while, many have to do double takes because they do not recognize me and that makes me feel even more amazing. I had a young man (friend of my son’s) who came up to me and said “Wow Ms. Kelly you look amazing” that meant so much to me – words will never be able to express (tearing up again). So to sum up my “journey” so far, I say so far because I am not at my ideal shape yet, but more importantly this is my “journey” for life, and one that is definitely doable now that I have the mindset, the understanding that not all calories are equal (not that I counted calories before) and the Eat to Fuel concept. Oh and I am no longer afraid of a picture being taken, or dreading going to the mall, and am so excited to be able to do all the things I have missed out on. One thing I REALLY want to do is ride a roller coaster – now I can – oh and flying – no issue – no need for a seat belt extender – just a walk in the park now – lol.
On May 27th, 2013 – the start date of my life long journey, I weighed 355 pounds. I wore a size 38 women’s pant and a 5XL man’s shirt. In 13 months I have lost a total of 174 pounds (yes another person). I currently weigh 181 pounds, and now wear a Medium (men) or Large (women) shirt and a 14 women’s pant size.
If Ideal Shakes (and bars too) did not taste good or work, there is no way I could have accomplished this MAJOR FEAT – so THANK YOU so very much – for both the product and the support. I also want to thank all my Family and Friends for their encouraging words. Go be an inspiration to others.