According to the CDC, more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults are obese. No one wants to be overweight. I certainly didn’t. Up until my late 40’s I lived without ever having to think about my weight. I worked out daily, ate what I wanted, and that was enough to keep me fit and healthy. Back then, if I happened to gain any excess weight, I’d just put in some extra time in the gym and easily take off the unwanted pounds.
In my late 40’s I began to gain weight (12 lbs. per year) and eventually found myself officially obese with high blood pressure, disastrous blood work and eventually — a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Dealing with obesity was embarrassing, frustrating and for a while, my circumstances seemed hopeless. At the time, I didn’t understand what was happening to me and I foolishly thought I had pretty good eating habits, so I continually tried to lose weight through increased exercise, yet all it seemed to do was increase my appetite. I explored diets but quickly found that they don’t work and were merely temporary fixes that lasted only as long as the length of the diet.
Overweight people usually don’t get support from friends and family, and I was no different. The following are some of the comments and advice I received:
· You’re fat!
· Lose weight!
· What happened to you!?!
· Look at your gut!
· You need to go on a diet!
Back then, my kids were young and didn’t understand the negative change in my appearance. My son reacted by putting my photo on the refrigerator and it seemed impossible that such a wildly overweight person was really me. It certainly had an impact. Once I acknowledged and understood that I had diabetes and it wasn’t going away, I looked for a program that would help me lose weight and teach me to manage the disease, so I could live a better, healthier life. Not many programs exist, and they are often costly. I was fortunate enough to find and attend the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, where for a week I interacted daily with doctors and nutritionists as well as people who had overcome obesity and successfully managed their diabetes.
I dropped 12 lbs. during my visit to Duke, and eventually lost all the weight I gained using a program of diet, exercise and prescription medications. My battle against obesity and diabetes is never-ending, and I take great satisfaction in helping others combat them. The program at Duke taught me that we are all different, and most of us need to follow the diet that works best for us as individuals.
People suffering with obesity need to understand that they’re not in an impossible predicament and their friends and family need to provide positive help and support. Not everyone can attend a program like Duke, but a wide-range of alternatives (including authors and bloggers like me) exist and if you sincerely desire to improve your life the first step is a click away on your computer.
Stay away from all miracle cures and do the work instead by seeking out realistic advice from a qualified healthcare professional and read as much as you can about how to battle obesity with the understanding that it’s a process.