“I can never remember being slim. In pictures of me at five or six years old, I’m at a normal weight. In all childhood pictures after that, I’m overweight. As an overweight child and teenager, I went through all the taunts and loneliness associated with childhood obesity. During high school and in my early twenties, I tried every fad diet out there. I’d lose a little weight and gain it right back.
In the 1970s, I joined a local TOPS chapter in Cheboygan, Michigan and lost enough weight to wear a size 16 bridal gown in 1978. After the wedding, we moved to my husband’s hometown, so I dropped out of TOPS. I guess I figured a marriage license also gave me a license to eat whatever I wanted.
In 1984, we moved back to Cheboygan. In August 1985, my sister-in-law picked me up to go blackberry picking. When I couldn’t get her car’s seat belt to go around me, I knew it was time to do something.
I rejoined my TOPS chapter in September and vowed to lose 70 pounds by my stepson’s high school graduation in May. I accomplished that goal three days before his graduation. I lost an additional 15 pounds in the following weeks until I began to backslide. I gained 50 pounds, and my weight yo-yoed for 18 years.
In 2005, I needed knee surgery. The anesthesiologist didn’t like the results of my pre-surgery EKG. He did another EKG and still wasn’t happy. They went ahead with the surgery, which really scared me.
As soon as I was able, I had a stress test. It showed a slight abnormality with my heart. Also, my knee wasn’t responding like it should because of my extra weight. That’s when I realized that the excess weight was going to ruin my health.
I made a commitment to lose weight. My motto became, “Get ‘er done!” In late February 2006, I reached a 100 pound loss. In April 2006, I reached my goal weight of 155 pounds and became a KOPS with a total loss of 107.5 pounds.
Deciding to lose weight is an individual decision, but doing it takes teamwork. I have a fantastic team of caring supporters with my husband and my friends at TOPS.”
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