MORE: Talk a little about your trainer and your exercise program.
DS: His name is D’Mario Sowah. He is from Africa, and he is amazing. He’s worked with me through the toughest times. I began with him in November 2011, to improve my balance and mobility as well as lose a little weight. In February 2012, I had a total hip replacement and stayed out of the gym for eight weeks. Then I went back to D’Mario and have been training three or four times a week ever since.
When I first met D’Mario, he said the most amazing thing to me about my weight and awful physical condition: “Lay down that burden; that burden is mine to carry now.” I cried. No one had referred to my weight like that before—as a burden I’d been carrying. And yet of course it was.
MORE: Was Mika your cheerleader?
DS: Oh yes. She texted and phoned all the time. She had to travel a lot, so we didn’t see each other for weeks or months at a time. She saw me after I lost 25 pounds and then maybe 40. She had a pretty great reaction. Still, I don’t think living this way is second nature to me. It never will be.
MORE: You’re five foot eight, you’ve gone from 256 to 190 pounds, and you’re still losing. What’s changed for you?
DS: For the first 25 pounds, nobody really noticed except my friends and family. But at 30, 40 pounds, everyone noticed. All the corny stuff that people tell you when they lose weight that I never paid attention to? It’s true. I did this because I wanted to look good, but the most amazing thing is feeling good. I don’t have pain in my knees anymore. I don’t have to take blood pressure medication. I have lots of energy.
And, of course, there’s the shopping. I recently went out with one of my girlfriends, and I did not have to set foot in the plus-size department. My friend had tears in her eyes. She said, “Do you know how proud I am of you?”
This year my husband and I went out for Valentine’s Day, and after years of wearing almost nothing but a black pantsuit, I had on a leopard-print dress. I walked out of the bedroom and said to my husband, “Your wife is back.”
MORE: So even though it was painful, you are glad for Mika’s intervention?
DS: It turned out to be the best thing anyone has said to me since Tom asked, “Will you marry me?”
Next: Mika's Do-Over
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