We’ve hit our 20th Shed & Share story! Holla! I am so thankful for every single one of you who’ve shared your story. I love that there are all ages and different phases of life in them. Today, we are going to meet Beth. I am so thrilled that she decided to open up because she has a wonderful message!
Profession: Administrative Assistant
How long have you been on this weight loss journey? Since June 2008
Weight Loss: 70 lbs. – From a women’s plus size 22 to a misses 14/16
Other medical: No more migraines! Menopause was a lot easier! Cholesterol from 285 to 219
What was your “low point”?
My mother died suddenly the night before my 31st birthday and I steadily gained weight after that. I am an emotional eater. At one point I was over 250lbs. I yo-yoed the same 20 lbs for 20 years. In 2007 I turned 50, a few months later my first grandchild was born. It was unbelievable the amount of effort it took to get in and out of a car or get up from the floor after playing with my grandson. I was so ashamed of the pictures taken with me holding my new grandbaby. In 2008 one of our sons was getting married and coming back to our hometown for a reception. I would be meeting his bride’s family and friends and of course, more pictures! How did I let myself get like this?
How did you get started?
The 20 years of eating through my pain had brought about an unhealthy obsession with food that needed to change. The internet is a wealth of good information. I searched diet plans and nutritional facts about food. My obsession with food was becoming a healthy habit. I found online communities with daily food logs that were very helpful to keep track of how much I was eating. There were web sites with nutritional information that helped me make better choices with the food that is most available. My husband was very supportive in my efforts to change our eating habits. He has never had the weight problems that I had but he agreed that for his health, he needed to change what he was eating.
About this same time, my pastor was seeing the effects of his congregation being overweight and malnourished. He was making hospital calls that almost always came from poor nutrition and being overweight. The Huntington WV area of which I live had just been named the unhealthiest city of the US by the Center of Disease Control. With all the love in his heart, our pastor spoke to us about the need to honor God with the way we treated our bodies. He used Romans 12:1-2 as one of the key verses in his sermon. He challenged us to join others in our church and change our health habits. TV Chef Jamie Oliver heard of our pastor’s plea and featured our church in one of his TV show’s “Food Revolution”. Soon after, our city started making changes and so was I!
My first 5k was while I was still at my heaviest. I walked in a community fund raiser and felt like a big old turtle huffin and puffin to get to the finish line. But I made it! Soon after, I started walking every chance I got. When the grandchildren came to visit, we would always go for a walk, even in the cold weather. My husband and I enjoyed taking walks in the evening and getting to know each other again.
Beth’s first 5K! Love her spirit!
The year 2008 was the beginning of me becoming me again. I met weekly with a group at church where we discussed the Biblical reasons for keeping your body as healthy as possible. We also spent time exercising and going over nutrition. The leaders of this class encouraged walking/running as good cardio as well as strength training and playing games that kept our hearts racing. As the pounds started dropping the walking turned into running. At my age, maybe trotting is a better word for it. But I did trot my way through a half marathon last November. I can’t describe the thankfulness of being able to overcome the weight I had gained and to actually run a half marathon!
What is your workout routine and eating plan?
I have to admit, I occasionally eat chips and salsa or potato chips on a down day. But those days are less often and the majority of the time our meals are full of vegetables and lean protein. I eat a lot of soups with beans, chicken and veggies or salads. Breakfast is usually what my grandson calls a peanut butter banana hotdog. I take a piece of whole wheat toast and spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on it and then wrap it around a small banana. The grandkids love it for a snack when they come to visit.
My workout routine consists of my husband and me going to the gym 3 days a week. I’m concentrating on strength training with nautilus machines. I’m recovering from a knee injury that has kept me sidelined most of the winter but I’m easing myself back into running again. Hopefully I can run in Marshall University’s half marathon again this fall.
What are your top 3 favorite resources that helped you along the way?
1. My “Big Losers” group at church combined with the book my pastor, Steve Willis, wrote “Winning the Food Fight”. His book is amazing and it includes all aspects of food; Biblical principles, commercialization, agriculture, family dinner time, etc.
2. Healthy nutritional websites, food logging websites such as MyFitnessPal.
3. My husband, who wants me to enjoy good health.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is sitting on the sidelines and waiting?
I was already 50 when I saw the shape I was in. I feel like I lost 20 years of my life. Please get up now, whether you are 30 or 70, and make a couple of small changes right now. Walk around the block, then later in the day walk around it again. Take the extra time and walk to the store or church or wherever. Take your husband and kids or grandkids with you. They need the fresh air and exercise also. Then come home and cook real food. Stir fry some chicken in a little oil and throw some vegetables in there and serve it over brown rice. It’s that simple! Then make some soup with the leftovers. You’ve just saved a ton of money and calories by making that small change.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in the process but is feeling discouraged?
It’s taken me 4 years to lose 70 pounds and I’m using the next year to lose another 20. Five years sounds like a long time. It’s taken me this long because I fell off the wagon a few times in between. One year I didn’t lose any weight.When you find yourself back to your old habits, pray. Ask God to give you the desire again to change. Food can be an idol for me. I read verses in the Bible about false idols and that usually spurs me back into eating God’s food and not processed junk with its grease and salt. Then find some new recipes that are healthy and start cooking.
If you are a parent, how have you balanced everything?
My 3 sons are now 30, 34 and 35 and we have 2 grandchildren. Even at their age, we are teaching them by our healthy habits and food choices. Occasionally we take the grandkids to a fast food restaurant but it’s not the norm. My evenings though are usually with my husband and we enjoy the gym together and walking the dogs each night. Our cabinets have a few treats but for the most part, it’s pretty raw, whole food and not much processed.
Anything else you would like to share?
There is something I want to address that is still true for me at times and maybe some of you ladies. Do you eat more in private than you do with family and friends? Do you go through the drive thru and throw the bag away before you get home? Do you hide chips, cookies or candy in your house and eat when no one is looking? I have recently come to realize the dishonesty I have with food. It is still a battle with me, just not as often. The last 20 pounds are not going to come off unless I get real honest with my food and only eat what I know to be correct servings of even healthy food. Healthy foods have calories too! I haven’t logged my food with any consistently for a long time. Leave me a comment and let me know if you’re ready to get honest about your food. I’m going back to www.myfitnesspal.com and start the beginning of my next 20 pounds. My user name is itcbeth. Who’s going to do this with me?
I love Beth’s story for so many reasons! I am thankful for her honesty and her words of encouragement for us all to examine our lives as role models and children of God! Thank you so much, Beth! (And major props to your Pastor for being the hands and feet God has asked us to be to our communities!! *fist bump*, Pastor!)
If you have a shed story that you would like to share, please contact me!! Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org