I grew up in a large family. With 17 children being raised by a single parent, there wasn’t always enough food to go around in our household. My mom worked hard, but we often lacked attention when we grew up.
Throughout my adolescence I had a thin build, but I’d learned early on how to score food and save it up for a rainy day. My weight was never an issue to me until I became pregnant with my first child. After that, it seemed to take off – relentlessly dictating my life for the next twenty years.
I started to eat my feelings and bury my troubles in food. I was out of control. I had no nutritional knowledge whatsoever. My children grew up knowing only terrible eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle choices. During my years as a young mother, the day-to-day life of my little family revolved around food. When we finally did reach a point where we had enough to eat, we had no idea how to manage it and no concept of the unhealthiness of our habits.
During these years, my desire for unhealthy food grew. The more I ate, the more I wanted to eat. I was depressed and hated myself, my life, and especially my body. I slept all the time and during my waking hours I was angry and miserable. I became overwhelmed at the amount of weight I needed to lose. To cope with this, I started telling myself that I was happy with my body as it was. I had pretty much given up all hope of altering my situation.
After seventeen years of unhealthy eating and unhappiness with the life I was living, a turning point occurred in my life. On the last day of 2010, my mom passed away. She was my hero. My siblings and I had gradually watched her health fade. Her body had endured more than many could even imagine. I watched as her systems slowly gave out one by one – as she died a slow, tired, and depressing death. She was 71 when she passed.
My mom’s death was incredibly heart wrenching. It continues to be a very painful part of my life. After she died, my sister and I decided that we didn’t want that same fate for ourselves. We decided to get healthy. My sister dove in head-first, quickly losing almost 80 pounds. However, I honestly could not conjure up the confidence in myself to even try until she had accomplished her goal. It took until Halloween of 2011 for me to decide that I truly wanted to get serious about changing my ways.
I began researching all I could about diets and exercise, knowing that I was in need of a lifestyle change – not just a cut-and-dried diet program. I started to exercise a little at a time and took to watching my calorie intake using an app on my phone. I began monitoring my intakes while exercising and researching healthy living techniques. I stopped drinking soda – which was a big change for me. In the area I live (which is extremely rural and sheltered) it is very difficult to find fresh foods that help in dieting and healthy living. I was happy to discover Quest Bars because of their high offerings of protein and essential nutrition and absence of high amounts of sugar.
I took up biking. At the beginning of my endeavor, I was only able to ride a stationary bike for about four minutes before exhaustion had taken over. Now, my road bike is my vice. I ride twenty to thirty miles at least five days a week. This helps to keep me motivated as I try to beat my distances and maintain healthy living styles. My sister, on the other hand, has taken up CrossFit to aide her in her pursuit. She’s a beast!
I had an amazing support team throughout my quest. My husband (who used to be a sports coach) was very supportive and helpful in offering me advice and tips. My kids have offered their support in eating healthy with me – taking pride in my success and encouraging me to keep at it, even on the days when I wanted nothing more than to sit down with a bowl of ice cream and a bag of chips. My sister has been one of the greatest driving forces for me. She is my hero and always will be. Watching her in her success has pushed me to continue. We push each other to continue.
By March 2012, I had lost 80 pounds. My sister and I took a fabulous trip together to Mexico in honor of our hard work and results. When we got back, we continued to work hard to keep ourselves lean and fit. I have, to date, lost a total of 125 pounds. I feel great! I have the energy to go out running and to play with my youngest daughter, and the confidence to keep up with my oldest two and a daughter in law, who are now young adults themselves. My family is so proud of me and I feel great about myself. I am alive and I live like it!
My advice for others starting out in their quest is this: It’s never too late. There is a reason for every day we wake up on this Earth. Eating healthy is the only way to accomplish your goals in weight loss. It’s not just about diet, it’s about living differently to be the best you can be. We aren’t alone, but only we can make the choice to change our lives. And you don’t have to be miserable. Life is a blessing, don’t live it as a curse. I now know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to – and I will never go back.
Team Quest – We are here for you! Share your transformations and triumphs with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email them to us at [email protected]. Remember that these transformations took hard work, discipline and a plan. Quest products are a delicious component of, and not a substitute for, an exercise regimen and effective diet. The Quest Community is always there for you if you need help, inspiration or motivation!