When I got out of the army, I was three years out from having lost my youngest son to a drunk driver. Needless to say, I was the ‘walking wounded’ at that point and for a long time after. Still, I managed to get a 4 year degree in five years, and stay gainfully employed…for a while. Finally, my personal anxiety reared its ugly head and I realized that I would never be happy in a nine to five job. I am still trying to get one, but I am hoping that it never comes down to that…but I digress.

The weight gets packed on

When I got out of the army, and traveled to Washington, I probably weighed about 200 pounds.

I was 38 and around 200 pounds here

I was 38 and around 200 pounds here

To be honest, I really don’t know. A lot of things put on the weight. Stress and depression (or something) killed my thyroid, so I had to go on medication. I am a HUGE stress eater and that, of course, didn’t do me any favors. Do you know when you put on that kind of weight in a fairly short time, you get stretch marks? Just like when you’re pregnant (if you’re a female)!

Through the five years that I went to school, I struggled to get through school, hold a job as a work study, and deal with my personal medical issues, which consisted of depression, anxiety, and severe stress. I found myself eating an enormous amount of Little Debbie Nutty Bars. A box at a time. It was horrible. I do notice that, throughout the years, peanut butter remains a ‘thing’ for me. ┬áThat and sugar.

My Top Weight Was …

Around 2004, I hit my top weight. I presume that I topped out at 280 pounds. To be honest, I stopped getting on the scale at 270, but I am pretty sure that I got to at least 280.

Going to school for my BA at University of Washington, Tacoma

Going to school for my BA at University of Washington, Tacoma

I still had 1 year of school left at this point, but my physical health was probably the worst at this point. It was around this time that I started using an electric cart in the store. I came home from the store, one time, crying from the pain of staying on my feet while shopping. For me, standing for long periods of time was very painful and the stop and start of shopping was extremely hard for me.

I made it through my last year of school, barely, and still not quite sure how I managed to pull it off. I got lucky and found a job where I had been working as a work study. From the time that I graduated, I actually started losing weight, immediately. It was the stress (and the Nutty Bars) that were packing on the pounds.

Figuring Things Out

I also knew that something that I was eating was causing severe intestinal ‘distress’. The first thing that I figured out was causing me problems was drinking Pepsi. I would be fine and within minutes of having a Pepsi, my stomach would start roiling and I would be in the bathroom…hating life. Finally, I quit drinking Pepsi. To my own embarrassment, I didn’t try to figure it out any further. What IN the Pepsi was causing me problems. As it eventually turned out, it was both the caffeine and the high fructose corn syrup…and there was the caramel coloring and most, if not all, of the other ingredients.

Eventually, I switched to Vitaminwater. Little did I know, that it was a VERY minimal improvement. Vitaminwater has high fructose corn syrup, as do most, if not all, of the Gatorade drinks. As long as they have high fructose corn syrup in them, there is ZERO health benefits to them. The vitamins and nutrients that it says it gives to you, are ones that you won’t have any problems getting anyway. At this point in my life, I was still resisting everything that I didn’t want to give up. There was nothing wrong with the Vitaminwater, the Pepsi (despite the fact that I had quit drinking it), the bread, the FOOD!

Still I managed to lose some weight. Around 2007, I managed to get on a scale and figured out I was down to 250 pounds! Woohoo! I still felt really bad, but it did feel good to know that some of the weight was coming off. However, that is where it stayed. For about 6 or so years, I maintained 230. No matter what I did, I couldn’t change that. I began to wonder…was 230 now my ‘natural’ weight?

Lose Weight, or Else

It was somewhere about this time that I began with green smoothies. My doctor wanted to put me on some high cholesterol medicine and I said, absolutely, no way. I am not taking those pills. Then, she says, you need to lose weight.

I told her that I had been trying, but nothing I did changed the weight. For suggestions, she handed me a piece of paper with 4 documentary titles on it. One of them was Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross. I won’t bore you with the details, but by the time I finished the video, I was a believer. However, I knew that I wouldn’t stick with juices, because I really didn’t care for juice. But one thing that I did like, was slushies and shakes. So, I decided to make one of these green smoothies that I had read about, somewhere on the Internet, and use frozen blueberries. I did, it was great and that is the beginning of the return of my health.