Lost 86 Pounds!
Before: 210 lbs.
After: 124 lbs.
Lost: 86 lbs.
Hi! I'm Pat Alamao, Camelot 45 in the Clubhouse. I was born and raised in Sacramento, California. I've lived there my whole life. Right now, I'm working for the State of California Department of Mental Health as a Staff Information Systems Analyst. I'm kind of a computer geek. I'm also an Attorney at Law, and I keep my license active, but I don't practice much anymore. I've been divorced for many, many years, and I have no children.
"You have to do this for your health, first and foremost! Everything else is a fringe benefit."
I've had a weight problem my whole life - fat as a child, fat as a teenager, fat as an adult; it's the story of my life! When I was a little kid, I was convinced my mother liked my brother more than she liked me, because I got a very little piece of pie when he got a big piece of pie! She would also try to make me eat healthy snacks, but that was okay, because my father felt sorry for me, and he would go to the store and buy me candy. I would promptly hide it in my room.
I think 210 was my weight. I was into a size 20, and when you're 5 feet tall, that's not very good! Way back then, they didn't have petite stores. When I bought a size 20, the waist was usually about 6 to 8 inches too low! I'd have to take the hem up about 6 inches. Clothes are always a problem when you're that short.
I think that I have gained and lost my whole life, but I've never kept it off until now, and I'm thoroughly convinced that I never kept it off because I never "got it." I had many reasons for losing weight. Once I didn't get a job as a deputy district attorney, because the county didn't want their women attorneys to be overweight. There were times when I'd be dating some guy who wanted his woman to be slim, or the old standby, I wanted to go to a high school reunion and look better. There was always a different reason, but never the right reason, until March, 1998, when there was an event that changed my life.
I used to travel with one of my coworkers, and we would teach classes in prisons throughout California. We ate out a lot when we were traveling, and when we were not traveling, we would eat out a lot, too, usually at buffets. While I did not get up to my heaviest weight, I had hit 180 again. Remember, I am 5 feet tall! I knew all the people in the classes were just looking at me and thinking, "Oh, my God." But what really did it to me was one February, when we were teaching class at a prison in the middle of the desert and I took winter clothes. BIG MISTAKE! I had to go to a Big Five Sporting Goods and buy a man's large shorts and a man's large tank to be comfortable around the hotel! That did it for me.
I decided that I was going to do it this time, really lose weight for good. For some reason, I don't know what it was, I had an epiphany that I had to exercise. I knew who Richard Simmons was, and while I didn't know anything about him then, I had heard that he did an exercise video to oldies music. I bought Sweatin' to the Oldies, II. I took it home, and when I tried to do it, I thought I was going to die, but I finished it!
The next day, I proceeded to tell my friend at work, who lived for McDonald's 29 cent hamburger days, that I couldn't eat lunch or dinner with him anymore. Two days later, he was dead from a massive heart attack, and he was only 53 years old! That was a real eye opener for me. Very shortly after that, my sister had a stroke at a young age - she was only 60 - as a result of complications from diabetes and obesity. Those two events pointed out to me, "You have to do this for your health, first and foremost! Everything else is a fringe benefit."
Since those 2 events, I have made exercise a daily part of my life. Now I won't say I love exercise. I won't say it's better than sex, but it's no longer a chore! I remember several years ago on one of the cruises, someone said to me, "But it's easier for you to exercise; you don't have any children!" I replied, "Let me tell you what my day is like. I work fulltime, go home and walk the dog, and then go to my mother's nursing home and take 2 hours to feed her. Then I go home to exercise, and I go to bed." You find some way to fit the exercise in. You have to!
Right now as this is being written, I'm not doing many videos because the NBA Playoffs are on. I can't do a video and watch the playoffs at the same time, so I'm on a treadmill, or I'm on a bike. If you have time to watch television, you have time to exercise! I had a brief period of time when I was unable to exercise at all because of a medical problem. Now that it's been diagnosed and I'm on medication, I'm easing back into a full exercise program, and I expect to be back to a full program within a month or so. For me, exercise has been the magic ingredient that helped me get it!
Since I had to "diet" my whole life, I've always known how to eat. I knew how to count calories. I knew how to count fat grams. I knew how to lose, but I never knew how to keep it off! What I finally realized is that it's a lifestyle change! I've changed the types of food that I eat. If I had to write a book, it wouldn't be "Still Hungry - After All These Years," it would be "Still Wanting Junk Food - After All These Years"! When I'm out driving, and I go by a grocery store, I hear a voice saying, "Pat, it's Mr. Planter's Peanuts! Come buy me!" Or, "Pat, it's Mr. Mounds Bar! Come buy me!" But now I drive by, and I don't go in. I have learned not to keep the types of food in my house that are my downfalls, and that is why I call this a lifestyle change. I never did that before, and that's the only way you'll ever be successful, by changing your lifestyle!
Included in the lifestyle change is understanding what causes us to overeat and gain weight. I am a stress eater, like many other people. I have learned that to stay healthy, I CANNOT let the stresses in my life control my eating. I lost my mother, my sister, and my beloved dog, Gretchen, all in less than a two year period. I didn't gain during that time. We will always have stress in our lives. Someone close to you will die. Your kids or your boss may cause you grief. You may lose a spouse to death or divorce - something will cause you stress. If you give into the stress with food, you will never be successful. I know, easier said than done! Once you learn to deal with stress without involving food, you will succeed!
I've had the weight off since November of 1998! I'll put on 5 pounds here or 5 pounds there - put it on, take it off. I'm going to cycle that way for the rest of my life. Somebody once said to me, "It's just easier for some of you people to lose weight." They don't know how I struggle every day! Avoiding junk food is a struggle, and I know it's going to be a struggle for the rest of my life. It's a struggle to eat this way, but I know it's something I have to do to stay healthy. I want to enjoy my retirement and be active, and giving up peanuts and other junk food is a small price to pay for being able to move around and be healthy!
Before I lost weight, I never had enough energy to do anything. I was also a heavy smoker, so I don't know if being out of breath was being overweight or smoking or both. I quit smoking 12 years ago!
When I was heavy, I never wanted to mention that I was a size 20, so what I used to do was buy a size 18 pattern and add inches to the seams. Is that denial or what? Now it's nice to just be able to go in and buy clothes off the rack! It's nice to be able to go someplace on a hike! It's nice to be able to get up someplace and dance! I could never have done that before, being unhealthy and out of shape. I feel younger now that I did 30 years ago!
One thing that I was able to do after losing weight that I felt really good about was signing on as a trainee on a tall sailing ship! It was the ship Russell Crowe filmed "Master and Commander" on, and it looks like a big pirate ship. We had to climb the riggings to the , get the sails up by hand, row out to a deserted island on a long boat, and 16 of us had to manually hoist the anchor! Try to do that at 200 pounds!
Now that I'm in the maintenance mode, the only thing that is different is that I have a few more FoodMover windows to pull down. I still have to use the FoodMover, I still have to use the same amount of discipline, and I still have to fill out food sheets and mail them to Richard once a week. I need accountability, and that helps me! Whatever works for you is what you have to do, and knowing somebody is watching me works for me.
The only way you'll maintain your weight loss is through your lifestyle change. Before, I would lose weight, and I'd go back to my old habits, and the weight would always come back on. But when you change your lifestyle, which includes proper eating and exercise, you'll maintain! That's it, plain and simple!
What I would like to share with somebody just starting is that you shouldn't set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Set mini goals! Maybe a mini goal would be 10 pounds. When you reach that goal, do something nice for yourself, like a manicure or pedicure. Reward yourself with something, but not food! Then set another goal, and another goal, and you'll be at your goal weight before you realize it!
PAT'S 3 TIPS FOR SUCCESS!
1. Find whatever process works for you and stick to it!
2. Don't be afraid to ask for help!
3. Have enough faith in yourself to know you can do it!