Those are really tough words to hear.  I have been in the obese category most of my adult life. As the years went by, I went up a few pounds here, a few there. I’d start a plan and lose a few then get bored, quit, and gain it all back plus a few more. The past ten years I’ve pretty much stopped trying to fight my weight.  The burden seemed too big ~ and, yes, I mean that in more ways than one!

Jules -

Jules – Before

The process

About ten years ago, I crossed over from obese to morbidly obese. I developed Type 2 Diabetes and was on multiple oral meds as well as large amounts of insulin twice a day. I was scared, I was overwhelmed, I was sad.  I jumped on the roller coaster of watching what I ate trying desperately to get my sugars down, then eating something outrageous and sending my numbers way off the charts. This went on for years, my A1C going higher and higher.  Like most people, I know the issues related to diabetes, sight and limb loss two of many, but I didn’t know how physically bad diabetics feel.  Of course you add in the fact that I was so incredibly big. I’m not sure what made me feel so bad – maybe the diabetes, maybe the weight, maybe the combination of the two.  It happened so gradually I actually didn’t realize I was feeling worse, I sincerely thought everyone my age felt like this. I would listen to my BFF talk about the 60 hour work week she just put in, and be so amazed that she was able to do it and still have time to visit her kids, go shopping ~ just LIVE!!!  I felt lucky just making it through the day.  I would wake up in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept at all, get ready for work and push my way through the day.  My body hurt all the time, all over, my joints were creaky, my brain was foggy, not a moment at any point during the day that I didn’t feel horrible.  I had resigned myself that this was how it was. This was how I would feel. This was my life.

The turn-around

I have friends who started losing weight.  When I would see them at meetings or out and about they looked so very happy and healthy.  I started thinking…maybe, just maybe, I could try it. There is a weight loss system through a local company that my friends were using, so I made an appointment to check it out. This program promoted low fat/low carb – making better, healthy choices.  After checking it out, and long talks with my family, I decided to give it a shot ~ hey, I truly had nothing to lose and everything to gain ~ LOL.  The weight loss plan included serotonin supplements which are supposed to help suppress my appetite and help to keep me balanced, but after two days, I decided that the supplements just weren’t for me.  It was one more pill I just didn’t want to take so I quit the supplements and kept the diet…and my life has forever been changed. Within six weeks of starting what has become my new lifestyle, I was able to stop insulin altogether!!  I am down to one oral diabetic med at half dose, and I’m very determined to not need this by the end of the year.  As of this writing, I am down 113.2 pounds! I feel truly like a brand new person!!  I am no longer obsessed with food, though I still very much enjoy eating. My choices and portions have radically changed, but, because I feel so amazing, the choices and portions have been easy to make.  I am no longer foggy, achy, or tired ~ every part of my life has changed. I am doing and experiencing things, simple things, that I denied myself for the majority of my life. My husband, who has lovingly stuck with me through it all, and I are planning on taking dance lessons this fall. I am walking and will be adding bike riding this summer.  We will be trying our hand, or really our feet, at snowshoeing next winter.  For the first time in my life, I feel the possibilities are unlimited.

Jules Benson - After

Jules – After

What it all means 

I am a very fortunate woman in the fact that I have an amazing support system.  I married the most incredible man almost 33 years ago. He has been with me, supporting me, loving me whatever weight I am.  I have amazing daughters, sisters, and a BFF without whom this journey would not be doable.

The group that shared the plan has also been indescribably helpful.  With my support team, things have been comfortable, enjoyable, and actually fun.  My team lets me take the lead when it comes to meals, when, where, how, which helps me with my control over what I eat especially in the beginning of the program.  I’m pretty established now with what I eat and where I can get the meals that work the best, but in the beginning we needed to do a little research and planning.  My supporters let me talk, or not, about my journey, food, how I’m feeling.  It was very important to me that my lifestyle change didn’t become an obsession.  Nothing worse than only talking about food all the time ~ I want this to be simply my life.  So sometimes, when I need to, we talk about food, choices, how I’m feeling, but many times we talk about….everything else!!  All of these things not only have contributed to my success, but have helped this new way of life just be seamless.  The choices, the controls, are in me ~ nothing is off limits ~ I can CHOOSE to eat the pie, or I can CHOOSE to have a bite of pie, feel great about my choice, and enjoy being in my skin.

I could provide many more details about how my life has changed, but probably the most important change has been the ability to count on my body – to know that when I need it to do something, my body will be able to fulfill the request.  This has been the greatest gift I have given myself.  I look forward to the days, weeks, years, ahead with a sense of adventure and excitement about what we’ll be able to do, where we’ll go, and what we’ll see. I have about 50 pounds to go, and I know I will reach my goal by the end of the year.  For the first time in my life, I genuinely know I will continue with this lifestyle. I am not willing to give up the way I feel, and the world that I’ve discovered for myself.  The future is limitless, and I can’t wait to begin!

A very wise man once told me the world is run by those who show up ~ well, I am finally showing up for my own life!  YOLO folks ~ you only have this day, this hour, this moment, don’t let any more time go by feeling bad, feeling less, feeling not in control.  There is an entire world out there full of life, adventure, experiences, go get yours.  YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!