Shelley L: 50 lbs Lost
The letter below was written by a CONCI patient and appeared on an online women’s running magazine. It summarizes the process of problem recognition, the determination to do what it takes to overcome the problem, and the search for resources that can assist with what can be a challenging task. CONCI is proud to have taken a small part in this young woman’s recovery from overeating. As health professionals, her return to good health is “why we do what we do.”
I am a runner, daughter, and determined, dedicated, driven person who has battled the cycle of addiction and emotional eating over the last 20 years. The latter flared up for me in September 2012, when I had to overcome the setback and challenge of undergoing Achilles tendon surgery. The recovery period was long, and there were many times where I feared my running days were behind me. Running was an activity I enjoyed since childhood. I always had a passion for it, and it is and was an activity that not only helps me cope with stress and anxiety, but it also gave me a sense of balance and control through my addictions.
Since I couldn’t turn to running during this recovery period, I turned to food. It was all I knew at the time; it gave me comfort when I felt sad, alone, mad or bored. I knew I never wanted to go back to drugs and alcohol, and food seemed harmless. During this period of recovery and overeating, I gained a lot of weight—the most ever in my lifetime. At 5 foot 3 inches, I was pushing 200 pounds. I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure and approached pre-diabetic blood sugar levels. I had to take control of my health, so I made an appointment with a dietitian at CONCI in January 2014—more than a year after my surgery—and started my comeback to better health and happiness.
Prior to contacting the dietitian, I had registered for a 5K that was scheduled for May 2014. It would keep me motivated, I told myself. I continued to enter 5K and 10K road races to stay on track with my fitness. I started to keep track of the daily foods I ate, and the workouts remained consistent week after week. I stopped overeating and started running! A good friend, who is a psychologist and personal trainer, held me accountable everyday via email from miles away. I realized this routine was the solution to transform myself, reclaim my well-being, and be in the best shape of my life—in my 40s!
In 2014 I lost more than 50 pounds, and I no longer need medication for cholesterol. But one of my greatest accomplishments during my journey to a healthier lifestyle was completing a half marathon in November 2014. Since then, I completed a quarter marathon in May 2015. On a regular basis, I enjoy taking a boot camp class once a week and participate in strength training classes as well.
Since my first visit with my CONCI dietitian, I have kept in contact with her on a regular basis for accountability, encouragement, inspiration, and sound nutrition advice.
For those who have stories like mine, I want them to know that they can break their bad habits. When life feels too big, there are people and resources available to help even when you can’t—and don’t want to—see it at the time. Stick with it, and you will begin to live the life you want.