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    Posted January 25, 2013 by
    chefswife27
    Location
    Federal Way, Washington
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    The Gift of Life...

     
    I have gained and lost weight several times in my life using a variety of programs. When I started my weight loss journey at the very end of August 2012, I was about 75-85 pounds overweight with a BMI in the 40s. This time, however, there is a very good reason to lose and KEEP the weight off.

    My mom has had kidney problems for most of her life. However, her kidney issues have become so bad, she learned that she would need to prepare for dialysis, which she is expected to need at any moment. She had a fistula placed in her arm in order to be ready when the need arises. However, several complications have caused her to have a number of surgeries in order for the fistula to work properly. She is currently scheduled for another surgery to move the fistula again.

    Her doctors encouraged her to get a kidney transplant before the need for dialysis arose.

    My mom, however, is ineligible for the kidney donor list due to her weight. When I learned this, I immediately told her that I would donate one of mine. The thought of losing my mother was something I couldn’t even imagine. We have always been very close and she means the world to me. She has always been my biggest cheerleader and is always laughing.

    We went into the hospital to be evaluated by the transplant team. Mom was told that she was an excellent candidate for a transplant. I would be a suitable donor through their Paired Kidney Exchange (since our blood types were not compatible), but we were told we would BOTH need to lose at least 40 pounds before they would perform the transplant!

    The transplant team recommended we both undergo bariatric surgery. We attended an informational meeting, and were both pretty concerned by the changes that would not only take place to our physical bodies, but the changes in our lifestyles for the rest of our lives.

    I met with my Primary Care Physician, who was not excited about the idea of my having surgery, despite her specialty in bariatric medicine. She understood the need for me to lose weight (and do so fairly quickly), but encouraged me to seek other options. Being married to a chef, she thought my only eating 1/2 cup of food at a time would not be ideal for my family life. She told me, however, that she would support me in whatever decision I made. I asked for a referral for the surgery, and she gave it to me. We were approved by insurance, and they called to make an appointment for the surgery.

    I still wasn’t sure this was the best route for us to take, so I asked them to hold my file. I did as my doctor requested. I checked out 3 different plans, took the information, and made an appointment for a consultation. When she looked over the Optimal365 plan and supplement ingredient list, she was encouraged. I loved the fact that the plan was based on REAL food, not shakes or prepackaged meals. She agreed that the plan was a healthy option and was thrilled that I had reconsidered surgery.

    I started with Optimal 365 immediately. I also started using It Works! supplements and body wraps to tone, tighten and firm as the weight came off. After about 8 weeks, I started walking a mile a day or doing 30 minutes at Curves 5 times per week.

    I started at 243.3 pounds and a wore a size 20-22. It's been about 4 1/2 months. I am not to my goal, but have lost 60 pounds (nearly 50 inches!) and am wearing a size 12-14. My BMI has dropped 11 points! The best part is that, for the first time in my life, I don't feel I am "dieting." I just feel like I am LIVING, and living well. I feel 20 years younger and have lost all cravings for food that doesn't provide great fuel for my body. I feel healthy. I feel strong.

    What does losing my excess weight mean to me? Of course, I will enjoy the activities I used to, such as riding bikes, doing aerobics, and being active with my kids. I am thrilled to be wearing my diamond wedding ring set that had been in my jewelry box since 2007 instead of the larger wedding band that I wore when I was larger. I love waking up before my alarm. I enjoy shopping for regular sized clothing. I love wearing clothes that flatter, rather than hide, my shape.

    But by far, most importantly, I will be able to give my mom the gift of life. Lord willing, I will be able to enjoy many more years with my dear mother.

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