Cheryl D – 75 lbs. Weight Loss
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.- Robert Frost
Everyone who goes on a diet is on a journey to redefine who they are. My problem with weight began when I was 12. I was a tomboy and very active in sports. Then, I sustained a knee injury that changed my perception of myself. I dislocated my knee, tore the cartilage and ligaments in my knee. I was placed in a cast from my hip to ankle for 8 weeks. During those 8 weeks of inactivity, I gained 20 pounds! After I healed, I went back to playing sports and running. I also began the journey of watching what I ate. However, I could not drop those 20 pounds no matter how hard I tried, so I now weighed 120 pounds.
I remained at that weight through junior high, high school, college and marriage. I continued to play sports throughout the years even with numerous reinjures to my knee. When I became pregnant, I gained 30 pounds. After my daughter was born, I did not drop the baby weight. When we decided to have a second child, I experienced infertility. After two years and much disappointment, my doctor sent me to a fertility specialist. The specialist placed me on hormones and thyroid medicine. Wow! I lost 25 pounds in one month, but I did not get pregnant. I stayed at 125 pounds for over a year; had an ectopic pregnancy (losing a tube and ovary); and finally was placed on infertility drugs in addition to the hormones and thyroid medication. I got pregnant again and was overjoyed. I was taken off all medications. However, I gained 15 pounds in one month and after taking blood work, I was placed on the thyroid medication again. Even with the medication, I ballooned to 190 pounds. At that time, I was so thankful to have a healthy son at age 28 that my obesity was not in the forefront of my life’s priorities.
The years went by so quickly. By the time my son was 4, I had begun to have knee dislocations of my other knee, too. After much deliberation, I decided to have knee surgery. The plan was to have both knees operated on to prevent further dislocations. However, the surgery on my previously injured knee and 1-year of physical therapy did not have the expected outcome, so I never had the second knee surgery. Luckily, I remained at 190 pounds. By the time I was 50, I had gained only 10 more pounds. Walking was my exercise. Now I was 200 pounds. I briefly lost 10 pounds after a hysterectomy, but the weight crept back up this time. I now had high blood pressure. My knees continued to deteriorate and I no longer exercised. I walked on vacations, played with my grandsons, swam in the pool, but I was in constant pain. I spent 7 years having my knees injected, but at 61, I tore the meniscus in my knee and my plan for knee replacements was moved up a few years. I had both knees replaced about 8 weeks apart. I worked hard with physical therapy, but saw I was really out of shape and exhausted.
My daughter, who is an anesthesiologist, knew Dr. Scinta. She said that Dr. Scinta could help me and knew other people who had lost weight through Medical Weight Loss of New York. I had never really dieted before with any type of program. For my entire life, I rarely overate. I am a very picky eater, too. I had watched what I ate since I was 12 and considered myself to be cognizant about what I ate, including snacks and portion size. My husband, children and elderly parents all consumed more food than I did at meals. Also, I was the only one in my family with a weight issue.
However, I had 2 new knees and I wanted to have a better quality of life. I was now 219 pounds. I hated having my picture taken and shopping for clothes. Most of all, it hurt very deeply when my grandsons always commented on my being so fat. My daughter went with me for my first appointment at Medical Weight Loss of New York. I listened and made a commitment to this diet program and I diverged onto an unfamiliar new road to me. I chose to do the Optifast Full Meal Replacement Program. I had the support of my entire family and friends and their encouragement throughout this journey and has meant the world to me.
Next, came the perseverance aspect of the journey down a road I had never taken before. The 4 shakes and 2 bars per day were plenty. I was never hungry, but for me, the most difficult part was drinking 64 oz. of water per day. I love to cook; and for my entire weight loss journey I continued to cook for my husband and son on a daily basis. With many years of cooking experience, I found that I did not even need to taste the food I was preparing for them! In the beginning, I was losing less than a pound per week which was very disheartening. At group, it was difficult to hear people stating that they had lost 8 pounds in a week. I had even read that you often lose weight rapidly at the start of this diet program. My husband talked to one of the PAs and told them that I was very dedicated to this program and I had not cheated once with the plan. My body was very resistant to change and I did have a low metabolic rate. Finally, I began to see progress with my weight loss. I felt my first success at the 3-month mark when I had lost 25 pounds. I bought 3 new tops for the summer.
After 7-months on the Optifast Full program, I had lost 50 pounds and no longer had high blood pressure. The only day I cheated during those 7-months was on my birthday with steak, salad, broccoli and peach pie. Also, I would drink a glass of wine on rare occasions. Once I achieved this major milestone, I began my transition to food, eating dinner every day but still continued with 2-3 shakes and 2 bars per day. I also noticed that I had so much more energy. On vacation, I was able to zip around and not be tired at the end of the day. Even when we were in Disneyworld with our grandchildren, I was able to walk at a brisk pace and sometimes even walk ahead of the group.
My old clothes were too big and it was time to make my first real shopping trip. I truly had no idea what to wear! Even though everyone complimented me on the weight loss, I still saw my old self in the mirror. I asked my daughter to accompany me. In the clothes section, my daughter went through the racks of clothing pulling out a whole shopping cart of clothes for me to try. I kept telling her that she was picking too small of a size. However, in the dressing room, I was shocked to see that these clothes fit me. Also, looking in the mirror, I could not believe how good I looked. When I came home, my husband had me model my new clothes. He kept reassuring me that I looked great and they were the perfect fit. For Christmas, everyone in my family gave me money to buy clothes. Since then, I have made some shopping trips myself and have begun to know what to wear with my new figure. My husband says he has not seen me this happy to purchase clothing in many, many years.
I began to exercise at the 9-month mark. It has now become a new habit in my life. At first, I did not think I could take the time everyday to exercise, but now I found that I really am able to take this time for myself. I ride my exercise bike and do arm and leg exercises 5-6 days per week. While I am riding, I have found that I need to have the TV on and/or use my phone to read the news for the day. On nice days, I also like to go for walks and plan to swim this summer. It is great to feel stronger and have more endurance in my daily life. It is great to play with my grandsons, too. I must credit my father who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses. He is involved with a Parkinson’s exercise group twice a week. When he has been ill and not exercised, he loses his strength and mobility so quickly. Exercise and movement are such important components in a healthy lifestyle. I realize that now, but I will never be a gym rat as I like to focus privately.
After a year, I made my transition to eating foods again. Since I am a picky eater, I have opted for a protein shake or yogurt for breakfast. I need that protein boost in the morning to rev up my metabolism for the day. That was a major tweak to my old eating habits. I used to have a glass of orange juice with either cereal, toast, an English muffin and occasionally a sweet. Another important change has been drinking lots of water. I read that even Brooke Shields attributes being able to wear a bikini at 52 to drinking lots75 of water. Now, I won’t wear a bikini, but I will drink lots of water. I eat basically the same foods I had always consumed for lunch and dinner, except for more vegetables and no fried foods. Another thing I do is eat an afternoon snack and after dinner snack to keep my metabolism on an even keel. My family and I have always only eaten at a restaurant once or twice out per week so eating at home with my preparation makes it easy for me to watch my food balance. After 14 months, I have reached my goal weight losing over 75 pounds!
Since my journey, I now have engaged other friends and extended family to begin their own weight loss journey. It makes me feel proud that I have made an impact on others and I am there to support and encourage them. However, there are still times when I look in the mirror that I still see my old self. I believe it will take some time to reconcile myself with my new look.
These are the important lessons I have learned on my new path to a better life. A true commitment and perseverance are necessary tools to be successful. I have healthier, new eating habits to keep my metabolism on track. Exercise does not have to be grueling just constant to promote strength and energy. Along with my family and friends, the people I met at the weekly group sessions became supporters and encouragers which kept me motivated and on-track, too. I would like to acknowledge the entire staff at Medical Weight Loss of New York as they have provided me with encouragement and the strategies I need to maintain this weight loss. I now believe in myself and that has made all the difference.