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Project 10: Danielle's Story Part 1

Posted Aug 01 2012 12:00am

Throughout our lives we will meet people, friends of friends, spouses of friends, coworkers, etc, people who inspire us to change our lives for better.  My friend Danielle is one of those people in my life, she married a very good childhood friend of mine several years ago and since then has been on an amazing journey with her health, weight, and learning how to nourish her body. 

Hello everyone! My name is Danielle, and Liz asked me to be a "guest blogger" (even though I am not a blogger anymore, I was though. Does that count?) while she is away. Specifically, she asked me if I would be willing to share a large part of my life with all of you - my journey to a better, healthier me.

I guess we need to start all the way back to the beginning! When my twin sister and I were born, we were, uh, chubba-lubs. We had luscious rolls that I am sure my mom and dad ate right up! (I know I love me some baby rolls!) As we grew though (and went through our toddlerhood, where we momentarily slimmed out!), we were always on the heavy side. I have pretty much been overweight my entire life. My mom would attempt to buy the "healthy" foods - low fat, fat free, no sugar added, etc - in an attempt to help us lose weight. The people around us - whether in school or our own families - talked. Their comments stung. "Don't you just want to be skinny?" "One day you will grow up and you want to be able to find a husband." We were kids. The people who should have been building us up, were tearing us down when it came to our weight. This began a terrible cycle of low self esteem and self respect.

Fast forward some years to 19 years old. On my 19th birthday, I met my soul mate and the love of my life. I thought for sure that he wouldn't want someone like ME. You know, no one wants to marry a "fat girl"! Oh, but my husband saw beyond my weight and anything on the surface... superficial. I was married six months later, to the man of my dreams! Still, my self esteem was a daily struggle. I had plenty of questioning moments. Would he stick around? His ex was so much more thin than me! In fact, she was barely there at all! Surely I don't look good enough to keep him around! Of course, that was pish posh. But when negative comments are drilled into your head so often when you are growing up, you adapt to them, and they become who you THINK you are.

When we got married, I was around 210 pounds. A few months later, the stork dropped a package off to us. :) We were pregnant and due in November! I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy with our oldest son. To the tune of like, 50 pounds. For every bad thing that I would eat, I would brush it off - I'M PREGNANT! I DESERVE this! Give me more ice cream with a side order of MORE ICE CREAM!


After our son was born, I was in bad shape. Even before I was married to my husband, I had awful stomach problems (and when I say awful, I mean AWFUL. I would wake up in the middle of the night in the most excruciating pain that I have ever felt in my entire life. I cannot even describe it - but it felt like someone was squeezing my stomach and twisting it and turning it and... it was pretty great. Not.) The ambulance was called a few times because I swore I was dying. My gut was just not healthy, in any way shape or form, due to what I was putting into my body and a major (emphasis on MAJOR) lack of exercise.


I became very depressed after Cade (our oldest) was born. Between my health and feeling terrible about myself, the first months after he was born were absolutely terrible. I was not a pleasant person to be around, by any means. When you feel so badly on the inside, it absolutely becomes a reflection of who you are - and I wasn't looking too appealing if you catch my drift.



When Cade was around seven months old, we thought of adding a new member to the family - a sibling for Cade. (In retrospect, I think, what the heck were we thinking!? But, God works it all out how it is meant to be!). After several months of trying, and nothing, I started to feel even more crappy. (And I know several months of trying is NOTHING compared to how long some couples try. In the moment, though, it was a wake up call for me.)



When Cade was almost a year old, I was talking to my older sister on the phone about how we were trying, and nothing was happening. And somehow we got on the discussion of weight and infertility I knew, deep down, that my weight was directly affecting my fertility. (Without sounding too technical, something about percentage of body fat preventing ovulation, blah, blah, blah!) At that moment, I had had enough. I hung up the phone and told my husband that I was tired of being overweight, I was tired of making excuses. I was going to start making a change right then and there. My weight was effecting my life in a horrible way. Josh (hubby) would come home from work and would want to take Cade to the park, and you know what I would do? Say, "Have fun!" while I would stay home and eat. (And usually that food would be ice cream.) It's not like I was running around all day with Cade - we had one car at the time, and Josh took it to work. I was at home, playing with my kid, and not being very active. I had zero excuses. And the worst part? I had no motivation, none, to even go to the park to play with my son. That was the tip of the iceberg for me!


I stepped on the scale the next morning and I weighed in at a glorious 262 pounds. (I even stepped off and on again to make sure it was right because, quite frankly, that number was TOO high to be MY weight!). In the first month, I lost 10 pounds. I began eating more healthy and was becoming more selective about what I put into my body (though, that was just the beginning of learning about whole foods for me). We lived on a busy street, but, no excuses, right? I got that stroller out and began taking Cade for walks. We'd walk about 1.5 miles almost every day. And what happened next? A positive pregnancy test was staring me in the face! I lost 10 pounds and whammo! Instant fertility!


I was not about to continue the bad habits that I had when I was pregnant for Cade into this new pregnancy. At my first OB appointment, I weighed 252 pounds. At the very end of my pregnancy, full term, I weighed in at 247 pounds. (My OB's were okay with me losing some weight when pregnant. I was very obese, and I was not dieting, I was beginning to change how I ate for life. If you are pregnant and overweight, don't intentionally try to lose weight - please talk to your doctor first!)




When Jack came home from the hospital, I stepped on the scale and weighed 235 pounds. I had every intention of continuing my new way of life, but my milk supply was a struggle to keep up, and I did not want to refuse my son something that I felt was necessary and vital. I made a promise to myself that when Jack turned one, I would push head on, full force, with changing my life. (And while I was nursing that first year, I still attempted to make healthy choices, and not be a total lazy bum as I was previously!) One year later, I kept that promise, and began the couch to 5k program. At this point, I was weighing 223 pounds.

So, this begins the top two's of what I discovered the "secret's" to weight loss are..... 

TO BE CONTINUED.....

Come back on Friday for rest of Danielle's story and how she lost an amazing 100+ pounds, relearning how to eat and live.

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