Bernice C – 70 lbs Weight Loss
I had spent the past 30 years being a spectator for my boys’ sporting events, academic programs, etc.; I had spent the past 20 years striving to get ahead in my career, sporadically taking time out to pay attention to the way I was treating my body and had really reached a point of total and complete desperation about my weight last July. My husband had in June made a commitment to losing weight and had proudly announced that he had lost 20 pounds in a month —from that statement from his lips, I made a decision—he was not doing this without me! My 4 boys were now grown and on their own, so I had no one and nothing to hold me back from making a promise to myself to be there for the one I had been neglecting — myself! I had finally conceded that I may need to take a drastic route and looked in to gastric bypass surgery — nothing else I had tried had worked at all. I made one more attempt to find a solution and looked online for a method I had not tried that was designed for large amounts of weight loss — by this time I knew I needed to shed more than 70 pounds. I stumbled on Optifast and Center for Medical Weight Loss in Fayetteville. My job took me to Syracuse on a weekly basis, so it didn’t seem too farfetched that I could make appointments and keep them. I picked up the phone on Monday morning, told whomever answered that I wanted the next available appointment and mentioned that I wanted (needed) to get there as soon as possible. I scheduled my consultation for the next afternoon.
After my very frank conversation in the consultation, I knew it was going to be a big commitment and that the cost could be managed but was nervous that I would again fail after investing a good sum of money. I usually don’t spend money “impulsively” and even though I still had doubts about my ability and chances of success, I jumped in both feet. I inquired as to the first available appoint (again) and was advised that I could start the process the next morning. I had to be in Fayetteville at 7:30 the next morning (I live about an hour and a half north) and I took the appointment. The first week I stayed on a partial plan until the testing was complete and I was deemed physically able to start a full meal replacement plan. When I returned to the office the following week for my first check in I had lost 8 pounds! I had not been that successful on any plan since my early 30’s (did I mention I was 52 when I started this trek?). The weeks following (for four months in a row) I lost weight every single week. I didn’t deviate from the plan no matter what my situation — the continual success propelled me enough to keep me focused. I went on vacation in September and stuck to the plan, this week making a few social deviations and stuck with nothing but “lean and green” and came back from vacation to a six pound loss! In mid-October I again was on vacation with a large group of females and made the decision I was going to deviate, again only as a social concession, packed my shakes and bars and ate dinner with the group — again, lean and green being my guide. Once again, when I returned the scales were again headed in the right direction. At this point I truly knew that this plan is one that I can live with the rest of my life—able to live my life and stay healthy. Again, a five day cruise in December didn’t shake my focus. Little hick-ups at holiday time, I reset and refocused in early January, and the upcoming end of year stresses at work helped me to decide that I needed to get back on the full plan and finish what I started.
My progress had slowed by this time (winter blues, extra duties at work, boredom all allowed me to stray from time to time), but not stop. It made sense that I should be slowing as my weight went down, so I didn’t get discouraged. ‘Then I saw something on TV that I knew I needed to prove to myself that I had truly made a change in my whole attitude about how I wanted to live my life —- I wanted to be fit and active and confident about my appearance and I registered for The Biggest Loser Run/Walk in June. That would give me ample time to train and to keep me focused on my goals for the next few months. I knew I would need to make real time to work out with weights, “practice” taking long walks, find some time for some cardio and eat right and keep my head in the game. Following my 50 pound recalculation, I knew I needed more protein than my original plan called for, I knew that I needed to deviate slightly to adjust for the increased activity, but I was willing to let the scale stay idle for a period to reach my goal of completing a half marathon walk (WALK, not run — let’s not get crazy). After my first few longer walks, I started to really question if I was up to the task — could I really do this? Was my body really capable of this? Had I spent enough time/energy in training—was my still somewhat overweight body able to take the stresses 13.1 miles would demand?
The only thing I knew on June 6 (check in day) was I would never know until I tried. Still nervous as to if I could do this or not at 7:00 am on June 7th, I set out at a starters pace, careful not to set myself up for issues from starting out too quickly. After the first 1/2 mile I was feeling pretty good and increased to a pace that was above my average and I began to feel that this was possible, this quick stroll through a beautiful setting at Presque Isle State Park, that I had doubted my body for no good reason. About half way, my right calf started to feel tight— I realized I needed to increase my fluid intake and I needed to do it quick. By mile 9 I seriously began to worry that I was not going to make it 4 more miles — I was now guzzling the sports drink, breathing deep to force oxygen to my muscles, stopping to stretch that calf out and slowing my pace and conceding that I wouldn’t finish with a very good time, but just finishing would be the goal I had set out to accomplish. After combining all the little changes to try to get me thru, about a half mile further that cramp melted away and I was on fire —– my pace quickened to the speed I was at in the second mile — I had all I could do to keep myself from running the rest of the way —being sensible enough to know that I needed to make it to the end, not spend all my energy foolishly. As I passed the rest of the mile markers, I felt as if I would break in to tears, realizing I was going to do this —I had this, nothing was going to stop me now! I had this —and I knew I was going to be way ahead of my estimated time to finish. The course was on a five hour time limit, I had my time pegged at between four and four and a half hours and my finish time was 3:35 and change…..out of 133 participants that had registered for the walk, I finished 75th — so right around mid-pack. For my very first attempt, I could not have been more satisfied with my finish.
While this testimonial is a lot about one particular event, it symbolizes what this whole process has been for me. I let doubt and fear of failure creep in and potentially deter me from even going through with it. My early successes on the Optifast program proved to me that I could maintain this lifestyle as a lifetime lifestyle. The fact that I set a goal in the cold, dark winter days to no longer be the spectator but to be the participant is something I would have never considered at 70+ pounds overweight. While it may seem cliché, this walk has changed my life forever—I finally proved to myself that whatever I set my mind to, I CAN do it — this healthy, strong, fit body is just going to have to hang on, strap in and enjoy the ride. I still have a goal of 15 more pounds, but like I said, I CAN do this.
An enormous thank you to Dr. Scinta and all of her dedicated, knowledgeable staff that guided me through this life-altering journey and I have big plans for my next 52 years my brand new positive attitude!