The Turning Point

by Stephanie on January 26, 2011 · 1 comment

in Weight Loss

Usually before a big change in someone’s life, there is a turning point.  A wake up call.  A moment when it becomes clear that something needs to change.  Since I just talked the other day about ways to be successful in a weight loss endeavor, I thought it an appropriate time to share my weight loss turning point and  a little on my progress and goals.

First of all, I’ve never been skinny.  Even at my smallest, I was much more athletic than thin.  My weight has always fluctuated a good deal based on my activity level.  In a sports season?  Fit and trim.  Off season?  Packing on the pounds.  Exercise is key for my weight management.  That said, the last 4 years I have put on weight despite being pretty active (though I do admit to taking months off from exercise for the past couple of winters!).  Part of it is that my eating habits changed.  I changed cities and moved in with my two close friends, both guys.  Suddenly I was eating pizza and drinking beer 4 nights a week.  It turns out that I can’t keep pace with the guys when it comes to food!  At least not with consequences – to the tune of about 76 lbs.

Like most people I realized that I needed to do something about my weight but it didn’t seem urgent.  I was happy, enjoying my life, and having a good time.  I was still pretty active, which made me feel good despite the extra pounds.  Lastly, I rarely felt “fat”.  Delusional or not, I think I carried the extra weight pretty darn well.  I’ve always been a confident person and being overweight didn’t change that.  I didn’t feel bad about myself so I wasn’t motivated to change.

Then, between May 2009 and February 2010, I lost 2 uncles.  Both of my Mom’s brothers passed away in their 60s, less than a year apart.  My Uncle Tom passed away from cancer, which runs in the family.  It was hard, but it was expected and we all had time to say goodbye.  My Uncle Joe died of a sudden heart attack.  It was completely unexpected and it shook me to my core.  I remember not understanding how that could happen to an otherwise healthy man.  He definitely had a few extra pounds on him but he was far from obese and he was active.  The man swam every morning at 5 AM for years!  Sound familiar?  Didn’t I just say up there that I was pretty active so I didn’t feel bad about the extra pounds?  Crap.  The hard truth was that heart disease and cancer both run in my family and have affected multiple people and generations.  And those extra pounds I didn’t mind so much were putting me at a higher risk for the same kinds of problems.  That was my wake-up call.

It took me a while to act on this wake-up call though.  I did a lot of grieving, soul-searching, and research first.  I read articles about how one doctor did a study that showed you could lower your risk of heart disease by 80% by following a vegan diet, so I went vegan for 3 days to see how hard it would be.  Over the summer I told my mom about my fears, my research, and my vegan weekend.  Then she said something that stuck with me.  She said “if you put all that discipline it would take to conform to a vegan diet and channel that energy into just eating healthy and exercising, I bet you’d reach your goals faster than you think.”  Becoming vegan out of fear wouldn’t be sustainable anyway.  That’s a decision that should be made for much stronger reasons.  Mom’s are smart!

In August 2010 I talked to my doctor about what would be a healthy weight for me and then I finally got started.  In the last 5 months I’ve lost 21 lbs by tracking my calories and exercising more.  I have 54 more to go but I’m bolstered by my success thus far and I know it’s doable and I’m well on my way.  I know that being at a healthy weight won’t necessarily save me from the clutches of disease, but it is something that I have control over.  I need to do what I can to ensure a long, happy life. 

I still miss my uncles every single day, but I know that they are watching over me.  And I bet they’re pretty happy to know that they’re still making a big difference in my life. :)

What was your turning point?

photo by Shutterstock

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