In 2003 I weighed 392 pounds. Full-blown, insulin-dependent type 2 (T2) diabetic. Three shots a day and a fistful of prescription meds. Morbidly obese. Serious aversion to sweating. I wore a size 26/28 (4X). I had high blood pressure and super sketchy cholesterol numbers. I had fatty tumors on my liver. Chronic open sores on my feet that would not heal for months on end. I needed an extender for the seat belt on the airplane and just forget about even trying to sit in a folding chair. I got asked often if I was pregnant. I was eating roughly 3,800 – 5,000 calories a day. Not that anyone would really know — I was careful to make sure no single person in my life had a clear picture of how much I ate daily.
I had a job I loved, young niece and nephews that I adored, fantastic family and friends. Even at close to 400 pounds, my life was good. I convinced myself I could manage to live with a ‘few’ health problems.
I freely admit now that I was slowly and surely killing myself with my poor food choices and total lack of physical activity. My strategy back then was to try whatever current ‘easy/magic/secret diet’ was popular and when that failed after a short period of time, go back to ignoring being overweight and hope that it would all go away once the right diet finally came along.
I can not pinpoint exactly what combination of events finally pushed me over the edge. For whatever set of reasons, by June 2011 I made a significant mental shift. I finally understood that my T2 diabetes was entirely a self-created lifestyle disease. I remember being horrified and shocked when the light bulb finally clicked on and I really, truly understood that I had done this to myself. Shame. Fear. Anger. Embarrassment. I tackled and was flattened by all of those emotions. Often all at the same time. I had created this horrible predicament all by myself. Being a grossly overweight, T2 diabetic was all on me. Damn.
Slowly hope began to surface. I began to see the opportunity instead of simply the condemnation. I mean, if I had done this to myself… And I absolutely had… Then MAYBE there was a chance I could undo or reverse this disease? Maybe?
Was I willing and brave and stubborn enough to put in the work to try to beat it, or at least stop it from getting worse?
July 2011 I woke up, determined to push my life in a very different direction. No mater what it took. My plan was simple; eat less and move more. That was ALL I focused on. Exclusively. Creating a new lifestyle. Not food quality or exercise intensity or special pills or surgeries or ‘magic bullets’. Put less food in my body and try to move more each and every day. Simple. By no means easy, but simple.
So I started. Stubborn as all get out. I kept after it each day. Many of the early days on this journey sucked. Tears, anger, sheer pissed-offedness as my old life and habits got shoved aside and unceremoniously ditched. Learning to embrace a healthy lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. Cementing radical lifestyle changes remains what I suspect will be some of the hardest work I will ever do.
The pay off has been life changing.
I have successfully reversed T2 diabetes. No more shots or prescription. I weigh 161 and wear a much smaller size. I have lost 230 pounds. I love to run. I walk, hike, bike, exercise willingly and often. I eat a mostly plant-based diet. I recently got a ‘frame that lab report — you’re in perfect health!’ from my doc. I am still incredibly happy, professionally successful and have fabulous family and some unbelievably supportive friends.
I feel healthy and alive and grateful for this second chance. I am not going to waste it.
Life is good.