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Don’t Give Up on You!

Based on the last Q&A we did with “J” and his incredible success, many of you asked for more.  Not only did you ask for more but you nominated one of our frequent posters in the CalorieKing forum -  someone who is always full of wisdom and advice for everyone on their journey.  Listen to what our very own “Paperbacknovel” has to say about her experiences and you’re sure to come away as motivated as I was!

What were your weight control goals?

When I first began CalorieKing in January 2009, I weighed 268 pounds.  My initial weight-loss goal was to eventually weigh-in at 130, which I did reach, until I had an injury in 2010. I currently weigh 143.

What was your motivation for losing weight?

I began losing weight in January 2009 when my husband, who was 38 at the time, lost his battle with stomach cancer. I woke up one day realizing that I had no energy in meeting the demands of my children and all of their extracurricular activities while working a very demanding and stressful full-time job.

Did you have any obesity related medical problems when you started the program (like diabetes, high blood pressure)?

Two weeks after my husband died, I decided to go in for a complete physical because I was experiencing severe and painful headaches as well as extreme thirst and frequent urination. After running the usual blood tests and urine samples, the doctor personally informed me that I had extremely HIGH Cholesterol, (it was an embarrassing 302) was now a type 2 diabetic, and with the combination of having a very high, uncontrollable high blood pressure of 162/87 that I would die at a young early death either caused by a massive heart attack or stroke.  I was mortified of the doctor’s news, and he bluntly told me that I was a “walking, living massive heart attack or stroke waiting to happen.” I became scared and started with dinner that very same evening.

Two years later, I’m proud to report that I am no longer on diabetic or high blood pressure medication.  I’ll forever be grateful to CalorieKing for showing me the value of eating a healthy diet.  I’m free from the bonds that medication and food once held over me.

What was your weight loss method (for example – your favorite exercises and calorie counting or motivational tips)?

My method involved logging, blogging, moving and participating on the forums.  I logged everything that I ate or drank from day 1.  I logged faithfully regardless of time constraints or personal commitments.  I began with CalorieKing’s calorie book and logged, by hand, in a notebook until I found and joined the online site. I still log by hand on occasion.  I did not know how to eat.  I ate mainly out of comfort and used food as a form of self-medication.  CalorieKing taught me the importance of eating, planning and preparing a proper and balanced nutritional meal. I became informed and empowered myself with their database of different foods. The more I logged and wrote down the nutritional value of meals, the more it began to transition itself into new and powerful memories that I could relate to when eating out, outside of the safety of my home.

Logging allowed me to become completely honest with myself and I utilized their blog as a means to not only holding myself accountable yet as an important lifeline in learning how to communicate my needs to others instead of seeking comfort and joy solely from food.  Not only did I not know how to eat in a healthy, balanced way, I didn’t know how to communicate or express myself in a positive manner outside the secret realm of food.  I discovered I was an emotional eater that exhibited extreme binging and restrictive patterns of eating.  Blogging about my weight loss journey resulted in me accepting my eating behaviors, my relationship with food, and how I dealt with everyday stressors and emotions.  It brought about the courage to speak out my own crutches that revolved around food and exercise. Blogging helped me to not only develop a more resourceful relationship with food, yet it showed me how to reach out to others by voicing my needs.  In the process of doing so, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one in the CalorieKing world with bad eating habits, or who ate to self-soothe instead of choosing healthier alternatives for comfort.

In regards to exercising, it was hard at first.  I started just by walking, then walking/jogging, then progressively on to running and weightlifting.  It was by no means easy, yet day-by-day it got a little bit better, and as more days passed, my hopes and dreams of becoming a fitter, better me slowly became a reality.  I have now officially ran in 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and am presently training for a full-marathon in the fall.

People always say become part of a community.  Well, from the first day I signed up for, I did just that.  I figured I’m paying for the services, I’m going to utilize it to the max.  I refuse to ever leave! I don’t think a day has passed that I have not perused the forums for info or motivation.  It’s like that saying, suit up and show up.  If you suit up, and show up, it’s going to benefit you in some way, if you choose to.  You have to stop the excuses and become creative enough for it to work for you. I know for me it definitely has! It has held me accountable to transition what new habits I have learned from the site, practice them in the real world and change them as needed to fit my uniqueness and love for life.  The best thing I love about the forums is the ideas and love the members show for each other.  They all want to see everybody succeed and the members really do try to find a positive in what many of us would often view as being negative.

What obstacles have you encountered while losing weight? (Such as what were your eating triggers, did you have support from others?)

In addition to accepting that I am a huge emotional eater, on June 3, 2010 I was in a car accident with my oldest daughter.  My first instinct as the car accident occurred was to protect my daughter.  I don’t know why I did what I did, she did have her seatbelt on, but my Mama Bear’s instinct went in full effect and I reached out to hold her against the impact and at the same time the air-bag popped out leaving my right-index finger being dislocated completely into the palm of my right-hand.  This was just two days before I was to compete in the Danskin Triathlon. From that injury, I had to endure 5 operations and eventually came to recoup 65% of hand usage, subsequent nerve damage from an infection after my initial hand operation resulted in a central nervous system disorder named Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, which I still have engaged to this day; yet, thankfully, it is contained now due to numerous steroid treatments to control the never-ending pain and inflammation.

The steroid treatments caused me to gain 20 pounds back yet the online support I had from CalorieKing and its members allowed me with the opportunity to readjust my nutritional targets and lose half of what I had gained.  It was another grieving process I had to experience.  This whole obstacle taught me to once again, re-evaluate my relationship with food and how much I utilized and depended on exercise alone.  From the community, I learned to openly grieve my inability to train with great intensity, accept I couldn’t do tri’s or marathons for a while; yet come to the realization and appreciation of still having the capability to still move and learned to manage my emotional hunger by reaching out to my online family through my blog, their blogs and the forums.  By consistently doing all three, I was able to finally find and maintain my ideal weight of 143.

What tips or motivational do you have for others who are trying to lose weight?

Never give up, always try to find the positive in any given experience and situation.

  • Log your foods as consistently as you can, even if you don’t have access to the internet, write all that you ate down on a pen and paper.
  • Always drink water, even on a day when you’ve had more than your fair share, calorically.
  • What is the rush? Arrive to your goal sanely, there is NO time line for arrival, remember the effort you do now you’ll have to more-than-likely continue when you reach your goal weight, always remain cognizant of your efforts (both in food and exercise choices).
  • Be open to new foods and activities.  Always have fun and learn how to cook!
  • Be honest with yourself. Sometimes the truth hurts, yet if you want to see change you have to experience it first and sometimes that includes sharing and re-living all of your past experiences that have made you who you are, all the good and bad memories combined.
  • Reach out to others, become active on the boards, share your struggles, people from the community may have already gone through what seems an obstacle to you and might be able to provide possible solutions for you to try.
  • Progress eventually evolves from many falls.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, nobody is perfect.
  • The mere act of losing weight and maintenance eventually evolves to definition of character, once you begin to go through the process you’ll find yourself building a strong foundation of strength, confidence, respect, love and physical awareness for your own unique self.

How do you feel now that you’re achieving success?

Well, I find myself pushing my tennis shoes a little farther under the bed as the days pass. A little bit farther than the day before, perhaps to make sure I say a “thank you” to God for the many challenges he has placed before me and the tenacity, perseverance, dedication, motivation, creativity and strength to overachieve my challenges and to switch them as being seen more as blessings.  I began with just the CalorieKing book, pen and paper. Being short (5’1) , 268 pounds, and 56.4 % body fat had a real toll on my functioning in the real world. Being a teacher, I one time dropped my tray at school, I could not bend over and pick up my food. I was so embarrassed that a colleague had to help me pick up what fell. Truth be told I was big! I am proud to say no more! I’m healthier because I suit up and show up no matter what! I’ll be suiting up, showing up and putting out because CalorieKing works!  I am very proud of myself and I refuse to ever give up on me, never again.

How has your overall quality of life improved (health better, overall happiness, self-perception etc.)?

I have lost 125 pounds and am completely off medications.  I can actively play, run and swim alongside my two young children.  I can run 17 miles, when in the beginning I could barely walk around the block without experiencing shortness of breath.  I have learned to love and accept myself as a beautiful, confident, and athletic mother. I care what I feed myself and my children as much as I choose to dress in.   Being always overweight as a child to morbidly obese as an adult, I take great pride in researching my foods, the meals I cook and the nutritional value they hold. I take great pride in being able to run long distance and weight train with heavy weights. It has not been easy, it was a struggle at first, yet it has been an evolving journey for all of my family.  My overall success is seeing both my kids at healthy weights, no longer having blood tests come back with the reports of having high cholesterol levels because of my initial food choices and just observing them participating in creating weekly meal plans that include a strong foundation for healthy eating long term. I feel that this is by far my most greatest and powerful form of success that I have experienced from CalorieKing.

How have the products or services offered by CalorieKing assisted you in your weight loss journey?

  • This is a short synopsis of what the services of CalorieKing has taught me throughout my weight loss journey:
  • There are no shortcuts, you are stronger than the average and costly shortcut.
    It’s not supposed to be easy.
    Don’t give up.
  • Planning counts; you have choices.
    Log your give in’s and walk away.
    Don’t give up hope.
    And don’t give up on you.

3 Responses to Don’t Give Up on You!

Margaret Wetterling

June 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Aliza, you bring tears to my eyes and hope to my heart.

Edward Bierman

June 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Aliza, I am so glad you got to tell your story. I have been following you since the beginning and you have helped me through alot of things. Thank YOU!

Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll
be bookmarking and checking back frequently!