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Salute to Success ~ September 2009




   Hi everybody!  It's September now, and time to go back to school!  Are you ready?  What?  What do you mean you don't go back to school anymore?  We all have new things to learn all the time, don't we?  So, in a way, every time we open ourselves to learning new things, we are going back to school.  And if you want to lose weight, that requires learning too.  You have to learn how to eat, how to exercise, and how to keep yourself motivated.
Today, I want to share the stories of two of my clubhouse members who did go "back to school" to learn how to take care of themselves.  First, I want so share Tobie's story with you! (prettywoman).
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         As the story goes, Tobie was a toddler with "baby fat", a chubby youngster, a fat pre-teen and a morbidly obese adolescent who tried all kinds of diets, and because she did not work the programs, never lost weight, got discouraged and gave up.
         But when Tobie was about 14, her Mom brought her to Slimmons.  Through Deal-A-Meal, she began to learn the importance of proper diet and through Project Me classes, she learned how important exercise is to a successful weight loss. Tobie says, "I followed this program, (of course with slip ups here and there), and lost 80 pounds over a couple years. I got a little cocky, then a little lazy, stopped working out, went back to my old eating habits and over the years gained all the weight back and then some. I very likely reached 275 or 280 pounds, but don't know for sure as I stopped weighing myself when I reached 265 pounds."
       "I can't say there was this major "thing" that made me get myself together. There were no deaths related to obesity, no medical diagnoses that set me into a panic –nothing like that. One day I woke up, had a moment with myself and said, "This is it - I'm ready to do this". I had a heart to heart with myself and relived all my failed attempts at weight loss and realized that the only time I succeeded is when I followed Deal-A-Meal. I thought, "God, it's as simple as that - eat well balanced meals, lots of water, get regular exercise and there you go". Doesn't take a genius to figure that out, yet, I always wanted the easy way out. When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I changed my ways and basically went back to Deal-A-Meal, without actually using the program. (I couldn't find my set of cards, and couldn't afford a new one at the time, so used the basic principals)."
      "I began planning my meals daily, and even weekly when time permitted. I spent several hours on the weekends cooking enough meals for the whole week. I started eating balanced meals, smaller portions, ate more frequently - sometimes eating 5 to 6 times per day. I ate at home the majority of the time, stopped drive thru's all together (went over 12 months without going to a drive thru), increased my water intake, took a daily vitamin, exercised 3 to 5 times per week (that increased later, as I got closer to my goal), and started writing down everything I ate. I honestly think one of the most important steps I took was to write down everything I put in my mouth. I find it works really, really well and I love that Richard has food sheets available at his Clubhouse!"
     Tobie always keeps a "before" picture in her food journal, which is with her at all times. She never wants to lose sight of where she never wants to be again. She says, "My life was miserable at such a high weight and having a picture of where I was keeps me focused with my eyes on the prize. (I hated myself so much that I tore up all the pictures I had at my highest weight. The ones I do have are from people who gave them to me after I lost some weight to show me the progress I had made)."
      "I also found it helpful to set small goals as well as larger ones and reward myself when I reach those goals. Whether it was to by a new pair of jeans when I lost 15 pounds, or color my hair when I lost the next 20. It helped keep me going knowing that I had a reward coming. The big goal I set was to lose 100 pounds and my reward for that was the 2009 Cruise to Lose (and boy did I have a BLAST!)."
      "This was a HUGE step for me just in the sense of individual growth. Because of my weight, I was always so ashamed to be seen in public and feared I would be made fun of, so I avoided social situations as much as possible. When I did step out of my comfort zone and do something, I had to be with someone I knew, as I would never do anything alone. But as the weight started coming off, I noticed that I began enjoying my life more and more. I went on the cruise by myself and was asked to speak at the “Before, During & After” seminar. When I was trying to put my thoughts together, I had realized that up until then, I only existed. I had been alive for 35 years, but only living the last 2 ½.  That really put things in perspective for me and sealed the deal in that I would NEVER go back to my old habits. I LOVE LIVING and it feels so good to set myself free and experience the world. I now do things I never would have done before and look forward to getting out there to see what life has in store for me. I wake up with a smile on my face each day to greet the world and look forward to my morning workout." 
      "I do not for one second, doubt that I will lose another 15 pounds and reach my goal weight. It has been an extremely difficult road with lots of curves and bumps, but I look at this as a lifestyle change and not a diet. I realize that I can have the foods I want in moderation as long as I account for the calories. I still need the support of others who understand just how difficult this journey can be and that is another thing I love about the Clubhouse. I can go to the forums and chat with others who are, or have been in the same boat. Before I became a member of the Clubhouse, I got my friends together and we were a support team for one another. We had an initial meeting and took "before" pictures, measurements and our weight. I put them on a poster board and every Saturday we got together and weighed, had a healthy breakfast (made by yours truly) and followed it with some sort of physical activity. It was very helpful and motivating to have one another and know that each week we had to report to the group. Being accountable to myself is most important, but being accountable to others, knowing they needed me as much as I did them, definitely helped keep me on track."
      "Six months ago, I had a severe back strain and had strict orders from my doctor, "No exercise other than active rest for 8 weeks" WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING!?!?. I went into a panic thinking I would gain weight back and that really scared me. To my surprise, I managed to actually lose a couple pounds during those 2 months simply by modifying my food intake and adjusting my calories. That certainly proved to me that I was on the right track and that is something I am very proud of. For once, I believe in myself and I know without a doubt that I am going to make it. Do I have bad days here and there? Absolutely, but when I do, I don't struggle anymore with getting back on track. I just tell myself, I didn't do well, but that will change with the next meal. I realize how strong I am now, both physically and mentally. This has been by far, the most painful and difficult journey I have taken, but I am thankful to be here today, healthy, happy and smiling every single morning that I wake up. It feels good to enjoy life."
      "I want to thank Richard for always believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself. I owe much of my success to him for never doubting me, always being there for me when I needed an extra push and for teaching those FANTASTIC classes at Slimmons. They make me smile each and every time and I look forward to the next class as soon as one is over. THANK YOU, RICHARD!"
      Thank YOU Tobie for sharing your story! I know you'll keep coming to those classes, and know you'll keep taking care of yourself! 
      Now, all of you know I like to sometimes go back and give you an update on one of our past success stories.  Remember Robin (richardsrockinrobin)?  Well, Robin is still doing great, and I wanted to share a little update!
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      Robin says, "I am still a work in  progress and will always be. I still use Richards DVDs. But now I also do some walking at least 20 minutes. I just finished a mobility course, learning to walk with a white cane so I can walk as safely as possible"  (Robin is legally blind)

     "I like knowing I can make it to the library and back... about a mile, round trip. I have finally after all these years learned measuring is a must. Weighing is a commandment... or should be. I cant yet weigh myself every day. But I do sneak a peak on Monday morning to see where I am."
     "My actual weigh in is Wednesdays. at my TOPS meeting. I have discovered I like adventure... finding out what I can do. My first big adventure was making a plan and taking my first solo trip to Florida and going on the Cruise to Lose in April 2009.  That was major for me as I was always told... "No you cant."  Now I tell them, YES I CAN."     
     "Just going to the cruise was major for me!  Should I?  Could I do this?  It was my first solo trip!   It took prayers, asking questions, and research to make a plan. Just walking on board the ship looking Richard in the face and saying "I DID IT!"   That was a big moment to me. Now I am hooked!  I like a little adventure. On the cruise itself, there were just too many thing to list. However I did make it to every exercise  class and worked out to the best of my ability. Sitting down doesn't stop me from moving my butt!   And I MOVEEEEEEEEEEE my butt!" 
      "The one thing I learned from the cruise is to never give up on a dream.  No one can say for sure it wont happen. For my next dream / adventure I am saving to go to California.  I am taking myself to Slimmons. Watch out, I am coming!                  
      "For me journaling is a tool I cant do without. I know I would be back in the 200s without journaling."  Robin closes her FoodMover windows, but finds it also helps her to keep a log of the food she has eaten.  She says, "I have never been a social butterfly nor do I think I ever will be. However I am beginning to look at what interests me and I'm connecting with others that  share those interests. For example I just went to an all day  Genealogy workshop and had a great time talking to, and laughing with, other women who 'collect dead relatives.'"                                                                                        
     "There is one thing that isn't new, but will always be a major key...SUPPORT!  There is no other way..not for me for sure. I need my support because I am not always strong. I need that person / people that understand I WANTTTTTTTTTTTT  a dang pizza and they lovingly ask if I am insane. And at that moment I am just that."  LOL!                                                                               
    "When I had my birthday August 9th  I actually made it without eating half the cake. One thin slice was it for me...and lunch was a healthy salad. Three years ago that wouldn't have happened if you paid me by the hour!"                                                                                           
     "This too isn't new but a must, reading Richards daily message and going to Monday chat keep me focused. I need those messages and chat..Lord knows I need my little prince. This journey isn't always easy, but it's always worth it. I am glad I share the road with my fellow travelers."
     Thank you Robin for sharing your story too.   I'm glad you two ladies decided to go "back to school" and teach yourself some new skills with the food and the exercise.  Thank you so much for sharing your stories with our readers this month.  Keep going strong!   And after reading your stories, maybe some of our readers will decide it's time to go "back to school" themselves, and learn to take care of themselves.