Within 18 months I was pregnant again, but this time I wasn’t so lucky. I lost the son that I had prayed for, which sent me into a tail spin. I had no outlet for stress…that is, other than food. Since eating was what provided comfort in any other uncomfortable situation, I turned to my old standby once again, and quickly started to put the pounds back on.

By the grace of God, I was pregnant again within a year with another son.

During my second pregnancy, I developed hypertension. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me at the age of 36, but I accepted it as my fate. I thought that I was just an overweight woman. I spent many years convincing myself that I had achieved the American dream because I had a husband, two children, four fish and two birds. What more did I need?

Yes, I was worried about the life threatening effects of hypertension, but not enough to change my lifestyle. In fact, after my lap-band surgery, I never once even had it adjusted. Though, I honestly believe that, even if I had, it would not have sustained weight loss since I was not ready to change my mind about food.

On a random night out with my girlfriends, I was chatting with a stranger who happened to be really into fitness  We started to chat about my fitness journey and  how defeated I felt. He encouraged me to give it one more try, if not for myself, for my children. The following Tuesday on January 17, 2012, I walked into Weight Watchers with a friend – I weighed in at 299.4 pounds. I initially only wanted to join for one month to see what it was all about, but after the first meeting I was hooked. I signed up to do it all.

I wanted to work the plan to the fullest to see if I could do it. After the first week I was down 4 pounds. The second week, I was down another 4 pounds. I thought that this was impossible! This continued for about a month and then the weight loss started to slow to about a pound per week. I realized then that I needed to incorporate exercise into my plan.

I have never been very patient, so I knew that in order to stick with this, I was going to need to see results…FAST!! I started doing Zumba on my Wii 5 or 6 days a week with my husband and children. I followed this routine for months, barely missing a day. When the weather started to get warm, I signed up to start walking 5Ks. This changed my life. I started walking along the Chicago lakefront for 3 to 4.5 miles every day. By the end of July 1, I was able to run the entire path, albeit slowly, but I still did it.  This started my like for running (I’m still not in love). These days, running for me is the time that I have quiet space, with just my thoughts and my breathing. I often cry when I run, but it’s a good cry, a release of emotion.

Actually, I’ve learned from talking to other runners that crying is a common phenomenon. Running allows me to be FREE of stress!

In September, it started to get cold, so I started running on a treadmill! Boring! But I had already lost nearly 100 lbs, so I couldn’t quit now. I joined a bootcamp with a friend, and soon developed a love for circuit training. In October, I was referred to Andrea Nichols-Everett, who owns D3: Dre’s Diesel Dome. I initially started doing bootcamp two days a week and I would run the other three days. After two months I was hooked, and increased my program to Monday through Friday, while still running three days a week.

Very recently, I weighed in at 149 pounds at Weight Watchers. That puts my official weight loss at 150.4 pounds.

Slowly, but surely, changing my mind about who I am has led me to change!

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