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Salute to Success ~ December 2012


         Well, December is here...and at this special, magical time of the year, I want to introduce you to my friend of my clubhouse member.  Here's Marc's story, in his own words...
          "I was always a chubby kid. I was made fun of at school because of my weight and the fact I wasn't athletic at all, keeping to myself. And food was my release. My mother, she loved me, but was an obsessive dieter, and I was her guinea pig for the most part. She went on several diets and of course, put me on them as well.


         And when I left home, I went wild, eating what I wanted. I have tried several diets, from Weight Watchers, OA, many liquid and calorie and carbohydrate diets, you name it, I've probably done it. And lost the same 50 pounds over and over again. The only thing I didn't do was diet pills, as they killed my mother finally, and when we cleared out her things, we found a lot of those pills among her possessions. So those were out.

        Finally, in 1991, I was diagnosed with diabetes, and terrified, I went on another diet, losing a lot of pounds from 250 to about 180. But it didn't last. And I even used Richard's Sweatin' to the Oldies. But I tired of the exercise and diet, and slowly the weight came back and then some.

        I abandoned all pretense of eating right and exercising, using several excuses that I didn't have time, I was getting too old to lose weight, and many more. Fast forward to 2011, and I was in terrible shape. I had topped out at 311 pounds, and my out of control diabetes was taking me apart piece by piece. Not only diabetes, but high blood pressure, sleep apnea and other consequences of obesity. I even had a painful and scary week in May of that year in the hospital with a leg infection. I didn't lose the leg which I could have easily, but it scared me a lot. But that wasn't my wakeup call, not yet. I had several expesnive treatments which drained my bank account and although it healed, it recurred twice.

        It was now around Thanksgiving of that year, and the doctor threatened to send me to an diabetes specialist,and said I needed to agressively control my diabetes. I was on three oral medications, a blood pressure med, and 40 units of insulin morning and evening.

       In December, I had the crisis moment. I was at my sister's house for her birthday, and was sitting in her easy chair sharing it with her. When it came time for me to leave, I tried to get up, but couldn't! I tried several times with her help, and finally got up, almost tipping over the chair. I left, and sat in the car and just bawled.

     I couldn't walk from the parking lot to work where I work as a cashier at Walmart. without gasping for breath. People there were worried about me, and rightly so. I was dying, but I didn't care. I hated myself, I hated my reflection in the mirror, and I just wanted to die.


       The turning point came after Christmas, when something my sister said awakened some hope in me. She told me how her diabetes, her AIC had gone from a very high 11 to just 6.5, and she was feeling great. Something sparked in me, and I told myself if she could do it, so could I.

       And I didn't make any New Years resolution, which I don't believe in. Those promises are made to be broken a week after they are made, even though gym memberships skyrocket and diets are started, but fizzle later in the month. I just started. And I started by cleaning out my refrigerator and pantry of all the junk that had made me fat.

        I invested in some exercise videos and bought the healthy foods, lean meat, vegetables and fruit that I knew I should be eating. I also invested in a lot of cooking equipment, and learned my love of cooking once again. I am a frustrated chef at heart. I have always loved to cook, but got away from it, depending on the microwave and the processed food which was so bad for me. 
I started my exercise program with a brisk walking video which was tough for me, but I kept at it.

        My blood sugar started dropping over the weeks, as did the weight, though there was no outward evidence anything was happening. When I started, I was wearing size 46 pants and 4XL shirts, and those were very tight on me. They started getting loose. 


       Where does Richard come in on this? He came a few months later. I had thrown out the video I had of his a few years back, when I was cleaning out the videos I no longer used, but I got me another, a DVD called "Party Off The Pounds," which eventually became my favorite. At the time I started it, I couldn't keep up with it, but I kept trying. I said to myself "The guy's nuts!" But I liked him anyway, and used it a lot. I eventually got a lot more of his, including all his Sweatin' videos and a few toning ones as well. I wanted variety so I wouldn't get bored or burned out.

        And I found the website as well. I can't afford to go to LA to visit him at Slimmons, but this was the next best thing. I looked at what was there with interest and read his daily messages. And started writing him. I wish I had known I could write him and he cared about all of us years ago. I thought back then, he was a big celebrity and couldn't be bothered. Boy, was I wrong about that! He is one of the only ones who did write me back and encouraged me on my journey. He really cares about me, and it was something I never had before. I joined the webbies a few months later and found a family there who supported me as I did them.

         And the compliments started coming as the weight loss finally started becoming visible. They encouraged me even more, and kept me on track. I had several who were looking up to me for inspiration, which had never before happened in my life. I had never before felt loved, and tried to find love in food. It dulled my pain, but didn't love me back. I found the love here and there which helped me.

         One of the hardest things I have done is to start loving myself, and stop trashing myself. I used to struggle getting out of bed or my chair, saying "Get up, you fat lazy slob, you worthless obese freak!" and many other choice words of putdown. I saw what I was doing to myself and started putting away the 'baseball bat' which I was beating myself bloody with, so to speak, whenever I did something wrong.  


         I felt better, felt better about myself more and more, and the doctor was happy as well. He took me off one diabetes med, then another, then another. Now I'm off all my oral medications, and taking only 10 units of insulin morning and evening. And that could go when I see the doctor in a few weeks. The last time I saw him in August, his eyes just popped, and said over and over again, 'How'd you do it??' I told him, and he just couldn't believe it, but the evidence was there.

         The high point happened recently when Chatty Cathy, another of my webbie friends, took me to Kansas City where Richard was putting an appearance. She is a dear friend, and when I walked in the hotel, Richard recognized me instantly and bragged about me to the others assembled there. I was on the stage with him finally, and Cathy and I pulled a prank on him. I was wearing the old pants I had worn at the beginning of the year, which don't fit me anymore. (Two of me could fit in them now!) I dropped them, and you should have seen the look on his face! But he enjoyed it, and we danced to the music.

        My weight loss has reached 104 pounds lost so far, my weight is now 207. I'm not at my goal yet, and the losses are slowing down a bit, but even an ounce is an ounce more than I have weighed in over 20 years! I have about 45 pounds to go before I'm at where I want to be, and be out of the obese range, but I'll get there.
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         I've started to watch an old video series of Richard's called Day by Day, which has several five-minute motivational segments, and I'm just loving it!

        And the compliments keep coming. One person called me a miracle, which I have never been called before. I've been called a lot of things in my life, but never that! And it feels good.

       And I keep telling others, if I can do it, anybody can. Why am I keeping on? This time, I'm doing it for me, not out of fear or pleasing somebody else, and I'm having fun! It's something I have never done before. I never want to go back to the misery of what I was. That's one thing that keeps me from going back to my old bad habits, and it's SO easy to do so. 
       What are some of my goals? I want to ride a horse again, something I haven't done in years. For the first part, I probably couldn't climb up on one, and the poor thing would probably have collapsed under me unless it was a Clysdesdale. One other thing is, to climb a mountain, something I have never done. I just wasn't fit enough or had enough endurance to do so. I want to learn to be a cook or even a chef.  And someday, I want to visit Richard at Slimmons.

        I'm having fun,and it's only just begun! Look for me on chat and on the web, my handle is Balto, after the movie of the same title, about one who had rejected his gifts for so long, only to find himself, then he became the hero he was meant to be.
        Thank you so much for sharing your story this month, Marc!  I'm so proud of you, and so glad I got to meet you.  Keep being a hero and you'll reach your goal in no time!