MY BODY IN MY TWENTIES As I neared 30, I inched toward 200 pounds, eventually, by 31, filling out a size-22 dress. I dressed quickly every morning to avoid catching a glimpse of my body in the mirror.
THE TURNING POINT I started to have terrible stomachaches, but I was afraid to go to the doctor because I didn’t want to find out there was something seriously wrong. The pain waxed and waned for about six months until one day in 2007, when I was 31, I had such severe cramps that I passed out. My mother found me unconscious on my couch and rushed me to the hospital. It turned out I had diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening medical condition. My glucose levels were 10 times higher than normal,and my pancreas had stopped functioning. I was in the ICU for four days. When I finally got home, I vowed I would do whatever it took to get healthy.
THE MAKEOVER The hospital nutritionist gave me a diet plan that was full of processed foods and sugar-free sweets. I may have been obese, but I did know something about nutrition, so I thought I could do better. I retrained my palate, cutting out refined carbs and sugar and teaching myself how to cook wholesome, diabetic-friendly meals. To replace my old fattening favorites, I developed what I call trick-me food, like pizza frittatas and baked zucchini fries.
I started going to the gym four times a week for half an hour, alternating 10-minute sessions on the treadmill with crunches on the mat. Then I’d try to walk the two and a half miles home. I was losing weight for my health, but as people started telling me how great I looked, I became more motivated. I stepped up my gym sessions to six times a week, staying longer and working harder.
THE MILESTONE In 19 months, I lost 100 pounds. I remember going to Macy’s and for the first time in years buying pants that didn’t have an elastic waistband. What I was seeing on the outside was finally mirroring the person who’d always been on the inside.
MY BODY TODAY I love my body. My stomach is flat, and my long-lost friend, my collarbone, is back. At 105 pounds, I’ve kept my womanly curves, but I’m firm. Best of all, I’m healthy. I still check my blood sugar three times a day, but I haven’t needed insulin since 2009.
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