August 26, 2009
Earlier this year, I had interviewed a 51-year-old woman named Jane who had recently dropped over 130 pounds. Just hearing about her new-found enthusiasm for life—not to mention hearing the energy in her voice—actually made me feel like signing up for the NYC marathon! (Okay, I didn’t. But I did work out to a dance DVD later that day…) But Jane’s experience proved that age-old lesson: It’s never too late to make a difference!
Jane’s story: Jane had slight weight fluctuations since childhood. But after her youngest daughter was born, Jane’s weight stayed around the 200-pound mark and remained there for years. When her marriage failed, out came the boxes of cookies and chocolate snowballs.
Her eating plan was simple: About five donuts for breakfast (eaten over the course of five hours, thanks to the dessert table at the hospital where she worked), and super-sized fast-food meals for both lunch and dinner. At night, she’d give her daughters their fast-food dinner, then put on a moo-moo and climb into bed with cookies and a milkshake on one side and the TV remote on the other. By the end of the day, she’d consume around 4,000 calories.
Jane attempted numerous diets over the years, but she reverted back to her old ways within weeks. But Jane knew she was on a destructive path when she bought a new pair of scrubs in a size 2-XL. “I like them roomy anyway,” she told herself, trying to mask the pain.
Jane’s turning point: Over time, Jane began experiencing a number of health ailments—back pain, joint pain and constant fatigue became a regular part of her life. When she reached 240 pounds, blood work showed that she had developed high blood pressure and a thyroid condition. Then came the day when Jane was trying to get off the toilet and needed to grab the sink in front of her in order to lift herself off the bowl. Looking down, she noticed that the bolts on the toilet were loose. Then suddenly the sink felt wobbly—and those bolts were ripping out of the wall as well! More…