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Wellness Guide: Nutrition and Fitness

Battling Obesity:
Shakira's Story

Ever since I was a child, I was overweight. Not much, but just a little chunkier than everyone else. Once I went away to college, I packed on the pounds, and they just seemed to keep coming. I would get depressed about my body and try to go exercise, but my whole body hurt from just doing simple things. I also hated feeling like everyone in the gym was looking at me because I was big. I'd usually leave and go out to eat to make myself feel better.

I tried every diet that came along – and believe me I did them all – but they never lasted very long. If I did lose a lot of the weight I would feel like I "made it" and didn't need to keep dieting. I thought, finally I could be like all of the other skinny people and eat what I wanted, when I wanted. Of course, the weight I'd lost always came back, and then some. I tried to feel better by comparing myself to other women who looked heavier than me. I convinced myself that I would get it together before it ever got that bad. But I never did.

Then one day I kept that lie going until I stepped on the scale and it almost tipped 300 pounds. I couldn't see my feet, could barely put on my socks, huffed and puffed up one flight of stairs, and had people 40 years older passing me while I walked down the street. My weight had officially spiraled out of control. I realized that I was really going to die if I didn't do something. This time it had to be a life change, not just another fad diet. I also knew I needed support so I finally joined a nutrition group at a local gym, and started exercising three times a week. I have lost over 100 pounds and am still going strong. I think about what I eat now. I don't eat for comfort or boredom. Sometimes I just have to pray that chocolate cake away. Seriously, I still miss eating whatever and whenever I want, but now I know that that's not healthy either. Not even for skinny people. I am much more active now. I can't believe how much better my body feels, and how good I feel about taking control. –Shakira, age 37