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Salute to Success ~ November 2012


      Welcome to November…Thanksgiving month!  What are  you thankful for?  I am thankful for so many things.  But one thing I’m thankful for is that so many of my success stories are willing to share their stories with those who need a little inspiration.  This month, I want to update you on three of the ladies you’ve met before, and they’ve all been kind enough to share their stories.  So read on for updates on Iris, Joanne, and Hannah.

First, Iris…

           "For as long as I can remember, my weight has never been stable. My highest weight was 312 lbs., about  20 years ago when I first came to Slimmons. Since that time, I have been down into the 180’s, and back into the 200’s, more times than I care to remember. No matter how hard I tried to get it together, I just didn’t. On Christmas 2011, I was 280.3, and determined, yet once again, to lose 100 lbs. before Christmas 2012. So many of you know of my struggles, and how hard it became for me to walk. When I needed to use a scooter to do my grocery shopping, I knew my life was going downhill, and the weight was killing me physically and emotionally.

          I have worked hard since I began again, and about 9 weeks ago, I reached 152, 3 lbs. below my goal. My head said, lose at least 7 lbs. more. I counted all my blessings, how I can walk for a short period of time without pain (I still need both knees replaced), how I can do aerobics really well and “fly” again, how I can get the energy to work hard and take three college classes, and still find time for daily exercise. But, I still want more … I want to taste what so many others have tasted, being thin once and for all.

          I loved that people no longer made nasty cracks when I was about to enter an elevator. The stares I got on a plane as people were hoping I was not sitting next to them, or when people watched me walking and whispered about my hips (thinking I didn’t hear) hurt me beyond belief, and made me angry. One person even asked me how I grew this way! I really believe I am a different person now. Losing weight changed my own attitude towards myself. Now, people who never spoke to me, look me in the eyes, smile and talk. Is it me? Is it them? I’ll never know. But I love the change.

          With all the positives, I have to now admit my weight loss has virtually stopped, or it is down to a crawl. I am hungrier than I have been for a long time, and I am starting my old patterns … ones that made me gain weight over and over. So, when I was asked to do this follow-up, I thought long and hard about what I am doing to myself right now! And I found my answers, which I would like to share with you. Maintenance is hard. It takes the same dedication as losing weight, or it does not work. Because I am doing school work at lunch, I stopped walking. I started eating a little differently, although for the “most part,” still watching. It is that “most part,” that doesn’t work … because I stopped logging down my food. Oh, and Diet Coke came back into my life; and I drank less water. So, let’s calculate this … less exercise, eating more, not accounting for what I was eating, drinking less water, and my last change – I didn’t weigh in last week. I weighed in today, and I am thrilled there is no change … even though I feel heavier.

            So, today, I am back on doing what works. I am planning my meals and snacks, and will follow my plans. I am back drinking water, and logging my food. And for the next 9 weeks, when I am getting my school work done, I may not walk, but I will still find some time to exercise daily. I’ll let you know how it all works out. I thank you all for being so supportive of me. Through all of this, I always knew I could reach out and someone would be there to grab my hand and help me. Our bond is tight, and I am forever grateful for Richard, and the club house, and the cruises, and Slimmons, for giving me such wonderful lifetime friends.

          Current weight: 152.  Loss since 12/27/12: 128.3  Weight: 12/27/12: 280.3 Highest weight: 312."

Now Joanne…


            "Thank you, Richard, for asking me to give an update to my story! I am excited to share what has happened to me and hope that it helps to inspire others on their journey.

            The first time I was featured here on Success Stories was August 2011, after losing 36 pounds and attending classes at Slimmons starting in January 2011. Currently, I've lost  92 pounds from what I weighed my first day at Slimmons (down 103 from my highest weight) and I feel better than I have in years!!! I haven't been at this weight since 1985, when I was 23 years old and Ronald Reagan was president! Right now I am 50 years old, so that is a very long time that those extra pounds were clinging to my body, more than half my life! My clothing size has gone from a 3x-4x/24-26 down to a M-L/12-14.


             The first time I tried on something in a size Medium I started crying because I was so happy and proud of myself that my hard work was paying off.

             I take classes at Slimmons Studio three days a week. It's marked down on my calendar a month at a time and I rarely let anything prevent me from going. That is the place where I get to sing, dance, laugh and learn how to take better care of my body and my mind. I get to hang out with Richard, his wonderful staff, and my new-found friends who are also working towards the same goals. One of the things I love about Slimmons is that the people there are very encouraging and not in competition with one another.

             Other days, I go walking, take water aerobics classes, or bike ride. I am active 6 days a week and I take Sundays off.

             Last year, my Christmas gift to myself was to get below 200 pounds. This year, my gift to myself will be to have 100 pounds off.

             For years and years I thought I was being kind by allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and as much as I wanted. I thought I was being kind by not exercising, because I wasn't good at it and I had asthma, and sitting was so much easier. I now know that the TRUE KINDNESS to myself is eating better foods in the right portion sizes, finding a variety of exercises that I enjoy and surrounding myself with people who are doing the same thing.

            I'm not just sitting around anymore wishing and hoping that my body would change. I'm standing up and moving and making it happen!"

And now, Hannah…




          "It was July and I was still trying to reach goal and still had not achieved a successful blast off and wondering again why Richard would want me to be writing about success..well its taken awhile but I finally understand reaching that end goal is not the real mark of’s the week by week progress that truly makes the mark.

                 I started on the New Orleans Cruise to Lose in Sept. 2010 and reached goal Sept.13, 2012… from 347lbs to 147.  It’s funny for all the frustrations being at a plateau can be ...isn't hitting Goal really the ultimate plateau to strive to reach and stay within for eternity?

          Clothes and Sizes…Lets just start at a 5x stretch T-shirt and only pants that had some kind of stretch or elastic band...I worked at home and at that point had really started to withdraw from social activity.  Now I’m shopping at places I have never shopped ,wearing sizes I've never been, and wearing fitted and fun fashion as an extended expression of ME.

          I wish I could say reaching goal got easier at the end but for me the final 40 were the hardest lessons in perseverance I have ever had to learn… so many things changing physically, mentally,…my perception of my own image, experiencing how different people's perceptions of me were but that could be a story for another time and definitely part of the work in progress.

         There's a new word I’m now focused on…"vigilance"...if "perseverance" got me thru the weight loss, it will take "vigilance "on the next part of the journey. .. living the life you deserve to live. All my life I thought it was about being fat or thin and now I realize it’s not that at all..bottom line. healthy or not’s your choice.

        One of the hardest challenges for me is portion control. Oh I've learned to eat the right foods prepared the right way...but too much of even a good thing can be bad. And nothing brings you back to reality about that like the foodmover...or keeping a food journal.

        Exercise ..I guess I'm’s one of the things that I embraced.  I have learned to challenge myself to get more out of workouts and to try different things. I'm still loving my SPIN classes the only thing so far that comes close to sweatin with Richard and now have added a Body Pump class to the agenda. I like to mix it all up...water aerobics…Sweatin DVD's…I work out every day. 

        Don’t ignore or sell short the PROJECT ME part of the journey ...rediscovering yourself, or molding yourself is hard. It takes work but the rewards are equally valuable. I talk to Richard about ..growing into my new skin...and who's life is this? He tells me to stop over-thinking..but my point is, I knew losing weight  and changing sizes would be different. But, it’s only one part of the journey.

        Someone very close to me asked me if I ever believed I could get to this point. I said no, and asked did she. She said no..and replied, “Did anyone?” I paused and said, “Richard did.” I know he'll be the first to throw the ball back in my court, saying No, I did this...but I guess I will always believe it was a team effort. In the beginning he said if I wanted this more than anything else, if I was willing to work for it,to leave all excuses and believe, he would be there to help. And he was. And I did."

        Thank you all so much… all three of you… for sharing your stories this month.  You never know who you may be helping.  I’m proud of you all and want you to keep working hard and going strong!