2015 Fall Weight Loss Challenge Runner-Up
*Results not typical
Gaining from my Losses
Since the age of 12 I had been what doctors consider “overweight.” As I grew into an adult and had to face the “real world” I realized that my parents had sheltered me well. In 2005 at the age 28 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that took the limbs and lives of many of my family members. I was put on 3 medications to control my blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and cholesterol. I lost 40 pounds by walking and changing my “diet.” Over the years the weight crept back on and the diabetes prognosis was still lingering, never getting better. I was not suffering from any life-threatening issues yet, but if I didn’t do something they were sure to come.
Eleven months after my diagnosis, in July of 2006, I suffered my 1st loss My Mother died at the age of 57 from cirrhosis of the liver. After her death I dove into working and cut myself off from virtually everyone. My health was starting to go downhill again. I would do the minimum to keep my diabetes in check but never controlling it. At that time that was enough because I thought there was no reason to really fight diabetes. After all, my family members had succumbed so why would I be any different.
In November of 2008 I suffered another great loss: my Father’s death., He was 67 at the time. This loss was personal because no one really knew my father was sick. Much like myself, he never shared his health struggles with anyone. He would always say he was “okay.” My brother called me November 30th, the day before my 32nd birthday, to tell me my Father was gone. My Father died of cardiorespiratory failure, complications from diabetes and pancreatic cancer. My last parent had died. I was now orphaned, alone and unhealthy. SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE!
Fast forward to 2015. I joined the gym and signed up for TEAM class. And in July I decided that I would participate in the 90-Day Challenge. I knew that this Challenge would not be easy but the alternative was not an option. I was going to choose life and, though my parents never saw it in their lifetime, I was determined to be healthy for them and myself.
I had a lot on my plate so figuring out when I was going to work out was difficult at first. I was a fulltime graduate student and had many extracurricular activities to attend, but that would not stop me. I joined Alpha class with Lawrence Witsell-Tuggle to gain more muscle mass to help with my weight loss. I would take Alpha 2 days a week. I also started TEAM Fitness with Shelly Fagen for an another 3 workouts a week. On the days my workloads were not too heavy I hiked 3 to 8 miles. The elevation levels helped burn more calories moving at a slower pace.
As I gained more endurance I started to jog on the treadmill.Cardio on the treadmill (when I wasn’t going hiking) was a must about 2 hours daily. My trainer, Kim Underwood, supplied me with treadmill workouts that came with the metabolic treadmill evaluation, a test that tells you what zones you should be in to burn the most fat and calories. A great help when you are spending so much time on a treadmill.
This was a lot to take on for someone who was not very fit in the beginning, but I always remembered that rest and recovery are just as important as the workout. I would rest for 2 days (split) and treat myself to the Life Time spa treatment.
After taking a food sensitivity test prior to the 90-Day to see which foods I was sensitive to, I realized there were foods sabotaging my progress so I had to change everything. I was going to need help planning my meals and nutrition. Kristina Sommer, my nutrition coach, was of great help. Together we came up with a plan of 1800 calories a day based on my resting metabolic testing. Because I was diabetic, high fat and proteins and a lower carb intake was a plan that worked for me. On days when I was going to my classes, my carb intake was double because I would burn calories at a faster rate. Drinking water was essential. It helped with feeling full and not overeating, so I drank half my body weight in ounces every day.
When I started the challenge my Hgb a1c (hemoglobin glucose level) was 8.5mg which is extremely high (the range for non-diabetics is below 5.7). A few weeks ago I went back to see my doctor and it is now 5.9mg. I am within reach of the range for non-diabetics 10 years after being diagnosed. I now feel like I can live my life and have the things my parents wanted me to have. Moving every day has changed my prognosis. It no longer seems bleak.
I am determined that diabetes will not take a limb or my life like it has done for so many others. My pledge to myself is that I will live my best life, I will continue to be stronger today than yesterday, and I will do this all in my lifetime.