Welcome to WOW! You Look Fantastic! This subject is my passion, one that has developed over a very long lifetime. It is my hope that the lessons I learned during my recent life-changing journey will be an inspiration to others. I wrote this book as a guide for women who are struggling with weight and self-image, possibly for the first time in their lives.
Let's us begin at the beginning.
I was fortunate to have inherited a wonderful gene pool that included height, a slender frame, high energy, and extremely good health.
For most of my life , I was diligent in the care of my body. I hate to admit that after my divorce at age 42, my good health practices became erratic. Until then, I had planned, prepared, and eaten well-balanced meals, exercised regularly, never consumed caffeine or alcohol and did not smoke.
As a healthy way of life – that is a good plan, which served me well over the years, but little by little, things began to change.
I started drinking multiple cans of coke daily – or more explicitly – TAB (so a double hit on my body, caffeine and artificial sweetener). Fast food became a regular part of my diet, and eventually, I began smoking and started drinking wine. I thought I had entered the world of sophisticated people.
I’m happy to say that my exercise regimen remained constant – aerobics, Jazzercize, and social swing dancing were important activities for me over the years. Plus, when I moved to Manhattan, walking was also part of my daily routine.
So, where was the problem? Simple – my other healthy practices were inconsistent. My focus was on taking care of four children as a single mom, running my interior design business, and socializing.
I was a young, reasonably good-looking single woman who didn’t want to be alone the rest of my life. Finding someone to love was a major goal – and I thought it was important to put myself “out there” and look good in the process (which was the driver for the exercise).
When you throw into the mix the problem that I am a stress eater – and what I eat under stress is not healthy (favorites are ice cream, pastries, chocolate, diet coke, and Frappuccinos), my overall lifestyle was rapidly deteriorating to extremely unhealthy.
For the first time in my life, I gained a little weight and began yo-yo dieting. My weight which had been between 130 - 140 pounds on my 5’9” frame for most of my life began to increase. I would realize the gain and lose the weight for a while – then, I would gain it back, plus more.
I tried Atkins, which my body doesn’t tolerate well. I tried all the fad diets of the time: Grapefruit Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, appetite suppressants (Ayds, Dexetrim, and Ephedra – all three were eventually taken off the market), SlimFast, Scarsdale Diet, and, of course, Weight Watchers.
They all worked when I worked them, but none gave me the lifelong change I was looking for – and needed. The weight continued to yo-yo.
In 2010 some personal challenges took all my focus and energy with nothing left for self-care and healthy eating. In 2012, when my son died, the stress eating flew out of control. I stopped exercising and started to gain weight – pound after pound.
The unhealthy eating and weight gain continued for the next five years because I was in too much mental and emotional pain to pay attention.
Then, one morning in early January 2018, I stepped on the scales and saw 203.8 pounds – almost 64 lbs. over my lifetime standard of 140 lbs. That was it! It had to stop!
I did not want to live my life overweight and at risk for serious health problems. Not only was I extremely overweight (borderline obese), my mother had developed Type 2 diabetes in her 70s and I could see myself following in her footsteps. In my mind, there was no choice but to change the way I had been living for the past eight years.
The irony in this story is that I had been writing a blog for over two years that was focused on clean eating and good health. I believed everything I had written; but, I had not been following my own advice.
I had done a lot of research for my blog and was very clear about all the things I was doing that were harmful to my well-being. I knew exactly what I needed to change in order to create the lifestyle I wanted for the rest of my life. BUT . . . I wasn’t doing any of it. Anger, overwhelming grief, sadness, frustration, and more were ruling my life, and I was accepting it.
I admit I was so desperate when I saw “203.8 lbs.” on the scale that I opted for Nutrisystem as a starting point. I needed something to happen fast – and I needed it RIGHT NOW.
It worked. In the first month, I lost 10 lbs. but, one month was all I could tolerate. I got sick of the food very quickly; and, much to my surprise there were a lot of additives in the food that I did not like putting into my body. Plus, it was expensive. So, I did not continue down that path.
I am not sorry that I started with Nutrisystem. It was a desperately needed kickstart to losing weight. It also taught me a valuable lesson – portion control.
When I received my first shipment and started eating the meals, I was surprised at how small the portions were – and yet, it was enough. I was never hungry and I started losing weight. I was careful and followed the instructions exactly. In other words, I worked the program – and it worked for me.
When I decided not to continue with the system, I knew I had to find another way to lose weight. Giving up was not an option. I was determined to stay on track and get back to a healthy weight. It was clear that another change was necessary.
I finally accepted that reaching my goal wasn’t going to be easy. I realized that it would take as long as it would take. Even though I was not thrilled with that realization, I made my peace with it and continued to move forward.
There is another twist to this story that you should know.
I started Nutrisystem on January 29. Four weeks later as I was finishing up the first month of “dieting,” I began suffering from agonizing back pain. After two weeks of misdiagnoses, I ended up in the E.R. with the diagnosis of a cracked vertebrae.
I was immediately hospitalized. The first thing they did (after administering morphine for the pain) was to put me in a body brace. Four days later they transferred me to a skilled nursing facility for 3½ weeks where I was given more pain pills than I care to think about and struggled through daily rehab to get back on my feet and walking again.
This was the perfect excuse to forget about losing weight and eat whatever I wanted. But, to my own amazement, I chose not to do that. I was determined to stay on my journey back to eating well and living well.
Fortunately, the facility had an excellent meal service (with good food). I watched my portions carefully and continued to count calories – and it worked.
It not only worked, it also set the path that I would follow from that point on.
Which brings us to the present – one year later.
I have recovered completely from my injury and I have returned to work. I have gradually rebuilt my stamina through walking – starting out with a few steps a day and building up to 4000+ steps a day. I have lost 40 pounds and still losing – moving slowly toward my target weight of 150 pounds.
It has been a long, slow process, but I’m OK with that for several reasons:
It has allowed my body to adjust to the change and I feel great.
I will be able to keep the weight off because I have a completely new way of eating.
I do not have huge flabs of skin that often result from extreme, fast weight loss.
I started the journey knowing it would take time – my expectations were set appropriately from the beginning.
This book summarizes the information I gathered and applied during my journey. I can promise you, from personal experience, that this is the way to a healthy weight and a healthy life for the rest of your life.