If there is a word that I despise nearly as much as the “c word” (cancer) it would have to be the word “fat.” After losing the baby chub from early childhood I was finally at a normal weight during high school, although my 5’3” frame and body type has always been somewhat “stocky.” When I went to college I gained more than double the “Freshman 15,” mostly due to the turmoil that my family faced as my sister, Sara, waged her battle against the cancer that would ultimately take her life.
Between my sister’s doctor visits, specialist visits, and many hospitalizations, my family and I did a lot of sitting and waiting. Fast food became convenient given our hectic schedules, and snacking outside of a mealtime seemed to take the edge off the wait to hear from a doctor, or to learn the latest test result, and provided some comfort from the reality of having no control over the situation we faced. After Sara’s death in 2000, followed by a chain reaction of care-giving to other family members, I continued to take solace in food and became a perpetual emotional eater. By November 2004, I had gained nearly 100 lbs. from my emotional eating binges.
It was then that I faced a cold hard fact: I was using my sister’s death as an excuse to be overweight. This was a deeply disturbing realization since I had tried so hard to never use what happened to her as an excuse to not succeed in life. I finally decided if I was going to continue being a care-giver for my loved ones, I was going to need to help myself first. It was not easy, but from 2005 to 2009 I lost 60 lbs and maintained my weight. I started working at the Prevent Cancer Foundation in March 2010 and I really got on board with the idea and effectiveness of cancer prevention and pledged to lose 30lbs by the 2010 Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K. I have now lost (and kept off) 90 lbs total, and am working toward losing an additional 30 lbs. by this year’s Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K event on September 24.
I am not a calorie or a “points” counter; these systems do not work well for me despite the fact that they are very effective for many others. Although I believe the concept of “everything in moderation” I do not have the self-control to eat only one potato chip, for example. Who has that type of will power? There is hope for me though! I am currently reading “Eat Right for Life: Your Common Sense Guide to Eating Right and Living Well” by Dr. Ann G. Kulze who also serves on Foundation’s board of directors. Her suggestions seem easy enough and I am determined to follow through on them during my weight loss journey this summer. Although I will be talking about the book in further detail in future blog posts, here is a list of the five directives to help get you started:
- Do Your Fats Right;
- Do Your Carbs Right;
- Eat Your Fruits And Veggies;
- Select The Right Proteins;
- Drink The Right Beverages.
It seems simple enough, I can do this! But, will I have to do it alone? Is there anyone else out there who would like to share a weight loss goal or other health goal with me? Feel free to leave a comment or question on this blog post or email me. I would love to have others join me on this journey so that we can encourage and be accountable to one another throughout the process! It will not be easy, but our bodies – and loved ones – will thank us! For more information on how you can reduce your risk of cancer, including living a healthier lifestyle, please visit the Prevention Page on the Foundation’s website. Consult your healthcare professional before starting any weight loss or exercise regimen. Hope to hear from you soon!