125 Pounds Lighter and a New Lease on Life
I didn’t even recognize myself. I stared into the mirror and cried, not quite believing just how badly I had let myself go. I had already disregarded the type 2 diabetes, the high cholesterol, and the sleep apnea, but this reflection in the mirror could not be ignored. I was well over 350 pounds and felt like I had failed myself, and my family too.
Food had not only become my source of celebration during happiness but also comfort during times of sadness and depression, a remedy for loneliness, and entertainment in the face of boredom. Food served every undesirable feeling I had, and it made me feel good—or at least that’s what I thought. I didn’t realize exactly how much my unhealthy relationship with food and lack of exercise was actually hurting me.
I wanted to give up. But instead I vowed to do what I could with what I had in order to make a change.
I plunged into my fitness journey. I got a health coach and enrolled at a local health center for nutrition education, support, and accountability. I took an exercise class in the mornings and walked in the evenings. This was no easy feat—I could only walk about 20 feet in the beginning.
I kept at it when I was sad, when mad, when depressed, when frustrated, and when I was stressed. Eventually the persistence became habit, and I got addicted to fitness. Jazzercise, Zumba, walking, “wogging,” jogging, running—you name it, I did it.
I also developed a strong network of (healthier) friends. Thank goodness I had a supportive exercise teacher walking beside me and encouraging me every step of the way. She modeled a healthy lifestyle for me. All I needed to do was pay attention and put it into practice.
I cut out fast food, sweets, white bread, white rice, and pasta. I filled my fridge with fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meat that I broiled, baked, or grilled instead of fried. I started using portion control, prayed and meditated daily, got sufficient rest, practiced gratitude, and drank lots of water.
What a glorious day it was when my doctor said I no longer needed to take diabetes medication and that my cholesterol was back in the normal range! I felt like I had been given a second chance to do right by my body.
Now, 125 pounds lighter, I embark on the second leg of my fitness journey. I hope to inspire other people. Promoting healthy eating and physical activity, and empowering people to lead healthier lives, has now become my passion. And I’m only getting started!
Myra N. Anderson is a licensed Zumba instructor, certified aerobics instructor, and certified group fitness instructor. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she plans to launch a mobile fitness company this summer. She has type 2 diabetes.
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