This is a wonderful and very vulnerable story from our Vice President’s sister-in-law, Mary Waldron. We hope it inspires you as it has us!
It all started in January of 2009 when I got an email one evening from my daughter with a picture of this person at Christmas. I was wondering who that person was and why she was sending it to me. I just stared at it and then realized that I was looking at myself. Wow!!!! What an eye-opener. I decided at that minute that I was going to be out the door walking the dog the next day and I was going to lose weight. A week later I joined Weight Watchers.
I weighed 264.4 pounds and wore a size 22-24 women’s plus. I realized that it took years to put all that weight on and I didn’t like the way I looked or felt. I knew my family medical history and I wanted to be around for my children. I decided to start walking. The first day, I walked maybe half a mile in 30 minutes. The second week I walked half a mile in 20 minutes. I ended up walking about a mile and a half in an hour. After that I decided to add a mile every week. I worked myself up to 6 1/2 miles in two hours. Then I decided I needed to walk faster in less time. I committed myself to losing weight slowly with exercise. I didn’t want to have surgery to get rid of the flab.
Then, I decided I wanted to be healthier in my 50’s than I was in my 40’s. I signed up for a 5k in June of 2009. You have to understand that I had not run since the 7th grade (all through high-school I was excused with a medical note). So, here I was at 50 doing my fist 5k (while my husband was doing a 100 miler!).
At the time, a 5k sounded NUTS! So what made me do it? My commitment to myself to lose the weight. I didn’t care how long it took but my motto was, I WILL NOT PUT THIS WEIGHT BACK ON! My goal was to lose 104 pounds but I changed it to 90.4. I’m now down 82 pounds but it’s not even about the weight anymore. It’s about how I feel. I’m healthier; I make better decisions when I eat. My health is my gift to myself.
This has been a very emotional journey. When I look back at where I was, it’s hard to believe where I am now! I walk between 3-6 miles every day. I am a size 12-14. I’ve lost about 12 inches from my body (I still have a pair of pants from 3 years go that I can actually put both legs into one pant leg!). I write down everything that I eat because it makes me accountable for my actions.
The one piece of advice I would give anyone is that you have to do this for yourself and no one else! It’s not an easy journey. I’ve had pain in every joint but I refuse to let the pain stop me. Sometimes watching the scale can be discouraging – you may be eating healthy but not losing. Regardless, you see results in other ways and that’s very rewarding. Make realistic goals, reward yourself, and start each day fresh.
What I remember about losing the first 35 pounds is that I could finally sit in an airplane comfortably. Little things like that hit me all the time. I was a completely different person 3 years ago. I don’t even recognize that person now. My family has also supported me every step of the way and we all eat a lot healthier now.
It’s a slow process but it’s worth it. It’s my gift to my family, from me.