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    Posted June 24, 2014 by
    West Hempstead,, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    From 313 to 125- and never again shall the twain meet

    Growing up, I was an average weight- I had the constant tendency to overeat, such as the time I ate at least half a dozen donuts at the age of 3 or half a jar of chocolate chip cookies and made myself sick, but my mother kept me from going too far overboard. I was very shy and awkward around people, felt such a deficit in myself when I was around them so as I got older I isolated myself and I can definitely say food filled many voids for me. It was comforting, always there and as luxurious to me as a drug. When I got a car at the age of 16 I suddenly had freedom and access to fast food joints, which I was able to hide from my mother while still eating regular meals at home. I was still able to maintain an average weight until after I graduated high school (it takes time for input to overcome the rate at which the body burns fat), but by the time I reached my twenties my weight was slowly climbing.

    During these years I fell into a depression which only spurred the weight gain further- antidepressants unfortunately only accelerated this but I sure drove the momentum behind it. I was eating fast food at least once if not twice a day, as well as dinner at home (I had moved back in with my parents after a short stint in Los Angeles immediately after graduation) and lots of snacking in between. I had almost no friends, of my own choice because I felt so lacking around other people, no desire to do anything other than work to make money so I could feed my bottomless pit, simply wanted to stay in my room, listen to music, eat and sleep. I knew I was becoming very overweight and had a surface desire to reverse the process, would tell myself, "I'll start a diet at the first of the month, the 4th of July which is in two weeks, my birthday in September, New Years", so it would feel like a fresh start, but it never lasted. I finally reached a point of blindness when I looked in the mirror, was seeing an obese woman but didn't associate her with myself. I could look right through her. I was in such grave denial it seemed almost nothing could snap me out of my one-way course to destruction. The pleas of my one close friend, the tears in my mother's eyes as she begged me to get help before I died of a heart attack affected me, yes, but didn't reach the core inside needed for fundamental change.

    My early thirties marked the crest of 300 pounds for me, and it wasn't too long after that that the advent of some alarming health problems cropped up as well. I of course got winded after any amount of physical activity, but my blood pressure was rising steadily too, as well as my blood sugar, even when fasting. This was brought sharply home to me when I became unable to sleep lying on my back anymore- I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding, gasping for air. My heart was drowning under the pressure weighing down on it. Still... even then, I wasn't sufficiently motivated to take my life in hand. The apathy was so deeply entrenched, and the lengths I would have to go to actually lose weight loomed too huge above me.

    Then, one day in 2009, I was listening to a new CD by my favorite musician and saw his twitter page in the liner notes. I was a neophyte to social media, had never stepped foot on Facebook or MySpace or any other form of it, but wanted to see if there was a way I could thank him for bringing some happiness into my life. I located his page and saw that he was very interactive with his fans, answered their tweets personally and a hope surged up in me- what if I not only could thank him, but maybe he might actually read it and respond to me as well? This grew to actually wanting to go to a concert of his (I avoided public gatherings if at all possible, not wanting to expose myself to ridicule and certainly not being able to stand for hours at a stretch), and... the thought of him seeing me at my weight struck such horror in me the reversal took place right then and there without any further effort on my part. It was the one and only time that caring what someone else might think of me worked in my favor. The craving for food to fill the monstrous hole was gone, replaced by my new desire to be a person I could be proud of, as well as have a life that included other people in it. This was the most defining, eye-opening "click" I have ever had in my life.

    The rest was easy- yes, easy and I say that with no trace of speciousness whatsoever. Food became a secondary concern for me, moving further down my list of priorities and for the first time in my life, I got in touch with my body's natural rhythms in which intake and output flow of their own accord. I was now excited to lose weight and began exercising too, starting off with 15 minute walks around my apartment complex and then stretching them longer and eventually working up to 30 minute runs. At first the walks would exhaust me- I would stagger into a chair afterward and feel my entire body pulsing with my heartbeat but this also energized me, knowing that I was effecting change. As the months went by the pounds shed off, and in 18 months I had reached my goal weight and lost 180 pounds.

    Along the way I have learned some very valuable lessons about valuing myself, taking responsibility for myself and looking at myself realistically. This is an ongoing process, and one which I will never forsake again. I now enjoy my life and take pleasure in the people in it, my successes and actively seek to multiply them. I have begun a blog about weight loss called Breaking Slim (breakingslim.com), and am in the process of writing a book about my journey. And I have maintained my weight for almost four years.
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