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Salute to Success ~ June 2010

      I'm walking on sunshine , wooah...I'm walking on sunshine, woooah...I'm walking on sunshine, woooah...and don't it feel good!!
      Oh, Hi there!  How are you this June?  Is the sun shining where you are?  Are you walking on Sunshine this month?  I hope so!  And to inspire you this month, I want to introduce you to a lady from my clubhouse who is walking on sunshine these days.  So ladies and Robin (robinfrommilwaukee).

      Robin was born at a healthy weight...then as a child and teen, she was a bit overweight, but not obese.  Robin grew up with food as an important part of her life.  Her family would have big food celebrations every weekend with a big Sunday brunch with pancakes or French toast, eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast.  Every weekend meant ordering pizza or fried chicken too.....then there was the buttered popcorn, and ice cream sundaes too!
      By the time Robin was in high school she, like so many girls, would lay on her bed so she could zip her jeans...and she just hated the sight of the roll of fat that was left hanging over the top.  She could barely breath in those jeans!
     Robin finished high school.  And after that, she went to work... to work with food, that is.  You see, Robin's first job was at a Big Boy restaurant.  Then her second job was at a burger place.  And that's when her weight began to escalate.  She was around food all the time.  She worked with it...she smelled it...and when it came time to eat, she got free food!
     While she was working at the burger place, she met her future husband who happened to be the brother of one of her co-workers.  Robin was a size 12 when they met...and by the time she and Bill married, she was a size 20.
     Robin and Bill wanted children, but they had infertility problems.  She even went to a specialist for a year...and finally gave up.  Robin tried all kinds of diets and even went on diet pills  She'd lose weight.  But then she'd gain back what she lost and more.  Robin was stressed over not getting pregnant and ate even more.  But finally, she lost a little weight...and surprise!  Robin found she was pregnant, and gave birth to her son Willy.  Then, three years later, they had a daughter named Marie.
     After Marie was born, Robin's weight went up over 300, and she reached her highest weight of 317.5 in January of 2009.  At that time, Robin's had diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol as well as problems with her knees.  Robin's doctor suggested gastric bypass surgery.
     Now Robin realized this was not a decision to take lightly.  And she knew it wasn't a quick fix and that still she would have to change her lifestyle...change her way of eating...and get in her exercise.  Robin went through 6 months of a diet supervised by a dietician, and she also saw a psychologist.  She learned all about the surgery and what she would and would not be able to eat after the surgery.  At the end of 6 months, Robin had lost 50 pounds and had made a decision to go through with the surgery.
     Since Robin's surgery, she's had to work very hard at her eating and exercise.  And she's gotten off all of her medication except for a water pill.  She's learning to find healthier foods to satisfy her cravings.  Robin has had to have a couple of other surgeries since the bypass... a knee surgery and a hysterectomy.  But through it all, she's stuck to her plan.
     Robin is learning to love to exercise.  She used to hate it...but now she's caught the sweat bug!  After her knee surgery, she could only use a recumbent bike for a while.  But now she's doing my Sweatin' to the Oldies DVDs, and she's exercising with her Wii Games, and she's even joined a gym!  For a while, Robin even had a personal trainer.  Robin now exercise seven days a week between one and two hours per day.  Two to three times per week she does her strength training, and she gets in some cardio every day.
     Robin has found that her favorite machine at the gym is the elliptical.  When she started, she could only do five minutes.  Now she can do an hour.
     Robin's children are fighting obesity too, and she longs to be a good example for them.  She wants to inspire them to eat right and exercise so they can be healthy.
     When Robin and Bill married, they got married at the court house, and Robin wore a blue dress.  It's Robin's dream to renew their vows and walk down the aisle in a traditional white wedding a regular size.  She says she thinks she'll do it for their 25th anniversary...or maybe even sooner!
     Robin's knows the importance of support, and she's stayed in touch with me all along the way...and uses my clubhouse.  She says she'd even like to join us on a Cruise to Lose someday!
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     Robin says,   "I have the tools now and I need to use them for the rest of my life and continue to keep eating healthy and exercising every day. I hope to be at goal by July 28, 2010 and then be able to maintain the weight loss. I have lost 160 lbs so far. My goal is to be around 130-140. My surgeon's goal is 140-150. I have come a long way on my journey. The song from Miley Cyrus The Climb reminds me of my weight loss journey. I play it on mp3 player daily while I am exercising."
     Now as many of you know, I think a lot of people rush into weight loss surgery looking for a quick fix, or magical cure for their weight problems.  And I think many of those people could lose the weight without the surgery.  But I also think this is a personal decision that a person has to make with themselves, their doctor, their family, and God.  I'm so glad Robin took this decision seriously...and glad she realized she was still going to have to control her food, and still going to have to sweat!  I've seen so many people have this surgery and then gain the weight back.  It's the eating right and exercising that will make the difference!
     When Robin first started emailing me, she hardly ever smiled in her photos....but more and more I'm starting to see those smiles.  You see, Robin is learning to believe in herself, and it shows.  This IS a lady who is now walking on sunshine!
     Robin, thank you for letting me share your story with my readers... you hang in there and keep eating right, and keep sweatin'.  And you keep smiling too...and keep walking on sunshine (and the treadmill, and the elliptical too!).  Don't it feel good?