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Hiking with my best walking buddies Marley and Bentley

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I was 54 years old, At 306 pounds, I was suffering with arthritis in my knees and sleep apnea. In May of 2008 I started my weight loss journey wanting to have Gastric Bypass Surgery. My Insurance required that I attend 6 months of a supervised weight loss program and also attend patient education classes. So in May I started classes. While attending class I decided that I might as well try and lose as much as I could before surgery. That way I was guaranteed to reach my goal weight. But I was very worried about gaining back all the weight like so many people do after having bypass. During that 6 month period I successfully lost around 80 pounds by practicing portion control and making healthy choices.I also did some of my own research about gastric bypass surgery. I found two books that were instrumental in changing my mind. The first book was Emotional First Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Life After Bariatric Surgery by Cynthia L. Alexander. It was then that I decided I could do this without surgery. I learned through my research on GBS that the only real benefit of surgery is rapid weight loss during the first year or so. After that, you must change your relationship with food and exercise daily in order to keep the weight off. So why should I put myself through surgery and have to do all of the same things anyway? The second book that I have found to be very helpful to me is a book written by Dr. Phil McGraw, Ultimate Weight Loss Solution:7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom. Since then I have been able to Slowly begin to exercise. With all the years of excess weight, my knees have been damaged to the point that I have bone on bone. Now after losing 164 pounds I can stand and walk without pain. I started out by exercising with Leslie Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds DVD a few times a week and I have recently joined LA Fitness where I take water aerobics class and Pilates mat classes. I also take my little dogs for walks around my neighborhood both mornings and evenings. I am even able to hike on a nature trail that is in the park right next to my home, something that I never dreamed I would be able to do. In May of last year I had the honor of participating in a video tapped interview at the Sparkpeople convention in San Diego and also again in June at a Spark rally in Redondo Beach. Clips from both locations were included in a piece aired on Entertainment Tonight. I have also been asked to present my story to potential gastric bypass patients as another alternative to surgery. The best part of my journey is that I am not worried about gaining this weight back because I have honestly changed my lifestyle for good.
I have about 19 pounds to go and with help Sparkpeople I know that I can reach my goal. Life is Fabulous.

Member Since: 9/28/2008

Fitness Minutes: 8,628

My Goals:
My goal is to be able to do things and go places that people of normal weight take for granted.

My Program:
Practice portion control, Healthy balanced meals. Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and no more that 2 servings of fruit a day. Low carbs and high amount of protein. Drink a least 8 glasses of water daily.
I personally avoid buying snacks. The thing is that at first I can control my snacking but it becomes an everyday thing. Those foods are my trigger foods. When I was considering Gastric Bypass the Dr. made a statement that stuck with me. He said " if you want to take off the weight and KEEP it off, don't eat popcorn, pretzels, crackers, chips, cookies and soda." Reason is because these foods are highly processed and you body utilizes every calorie where as other foods have fiber and indigestible stuff it them.

Personal Information:
I live in San Bernardino, Ca that is in southern CA about 30 miles east of Los Angeles on the way to Palm Springs.

Other Information:

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