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Beth Donovan's No Weight Loss Surgery, No Crazy Diets, No Extreme Exercise...
SparkPeople Story of Joy on a Journey:

Pounds lost total: 226 and counting

I don''t have an abundance of will power, nor am I a mega strong person. I am definitely willful and strong-headed, but those aren't exactly the same things. I've tried my whole life to lose weight, yet I gained 100 pounds every decade topping out in my 40's at 460 pounds. The diet clinics love me. I have a lifetime membership to one. Others caught me for 2-3 go rounds, while a major one caught me for over ten.

I will burn with brilliant passion and perfectionism at first, but a slip up meant to me that I was a bad person and I had failed. This perfectionistic outlook led to bulimia in my teens and 20's. While it kept my weight somewhat in check, it made me miserable. I had to be perfect period. My goal? Unrealistic. I wanted to be a size 5/6. I was never meant for that. I was meant to be much smaller than the 460 pounds I arrived at in my late 30's, however.

I have low thyroid (slowed metabolism), fibromyalgia, a degenerating spine, herniated discs, pinched nerve bundles, arthritis, knees needing replacements, and clinical major depression--and the list continues. For several years, the pain and depression were too much for me. It''s hard enough to be motivated when you have severe pain, but depression with it was completely crippling, leaving me bedridden and wheelchair bound. I resigned myself to life in my bedroom, where lying down hurt less. Really I was practicing avoidance. I didn't have to deal with the snickers, stares, comments, or pictures being taken of me with camera phones. I also no longer had to deal with the crippling pain as long as I was in bed. In staying home alone, I missed human interaction so badly that I would call the crisis line crying.

My husband became a caretaker. When I say that it makes me cringe. He had to help me in all aspects. He is still my caretaker, as I am still disabled by my illnesses after losing so much weight, but it has made thing more manageable. By staying in bed and not moving and allowing my husband to take care of everything for me, I was perpetuating my own unhealthy lifestyle and losing the chance to walk, shop, work... I remember giving up my choices. That''s actually what living an unhealthy life is about.

I chose for myself not to have weight loss surgery because it is stomach surgery, not brain surgery. I am an emotional eater. When I went to the classes to prepare for possible surgery, I realized that most people there still had the same mindset- they were hungry. They complained about wanting to continue to eat after being full, craving things they knew were unhealthy choices, and not wanting to exercise. I was already at that point. That''s when I told myself that having my stomach cut open wouldn't fix my particular problem. According to my best friend who had her life saved by the surgery, "If you have to ask the question of when you can eat normally again... the answer is never." Your whole lifestyle has to change after surgery, just as it does without surgery. I am for surgery as a last resort.

I fired my medical teams who all thought that being overweight was the sole source of my pain and problems. WHAT was causing the pain? It was severe! I couldn't move. When I finally got it diagnosed by somebody that listened, I had herniated disks, slipped disks, bulging disks, pinched nerves, spinal stenosis, degenerative disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia ,2 knees needing replaced because they are bone on bone, shoulders both needing surgery and the list goes on with metabolic and depression issues. My doctor prescribed in home physical therapy because I was in too much pain to leave the house and frankly, too big to move.

I started my first movement with lifting shampoo bottles in bed and rolling my ankles, followed by just lifting my legs from a sitting position off the side of the bed. It didn't seem like much to me, in fact it hurt a lot, but it seemed useless at the same time. What were these small movements going to accomplish? I wanted to walk again! My PT instructor told me that every move strengthened me for my next. It did. Soon I was standing from a seated position and doing small steps and yoga in bed. I used an arm-bike for cardio. Eventually I was able to walk again.

I eat more naturally now, more whole foods (natural single ingredient foods like a banana or a potato instead of a chip). I try to steer clear of processed foods, but I do still eat them at times. I use smaller plates and put my big plates up where I can't reach them. And I do eat out upon occasion, pre planning for it on my Spark tracker so I don't get off track when I get to the restaurant. When I order fast food, and I do, I order one size smaller than I actually want to order. I split meals with my husband if we are out many times. These are all just some of the changes that can be made as you are ready and there are many more, but they need to be sustainable for the long haul. Anything you can't do for the long haul, won't yield permanent results and you'll end up right back where you are now. So be careful which changes you make and don't starve yourself!

I've lost on average .5-1 pound a week during my shedding phases. This has allowed me the pleasure of enjoying life without making the excuse of "I can't do that, I'm on a diet." I'm not. I'm doing what I'm going to be doing the rest of my life... I'm taking care of myself.

As you lose weight, you learn so much about yourself and it's a little funny how some of your likes and dislikes can change... It's like rediscovering who you are. Enjoy it. Play with it. Try new things and be adventurous. Seize life if you do manage a second chance! I'm here to tell you that they exist!

Thank you so much for supporting me on my journey! It makes all the difference.

If you would like to get to know me better or like my blogs, you might like Team ~IndyGirl http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_

Beth Donovan

Member Since: 1/18/2008

Fitness Minutes: 67,085

My Goals:
Reach as far as I can go

Reach beyond fear

My Program:
Eat Cleaner-
More Whole Foods
Less Processed Foods
Portion Control
Supplement Therapy
Light exercise

Personal Information:
Beth Donovan
Fishers, Indiana


Other Information:
Looking for friends in the Indianapolis area

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    “If I give up who I am, I become who I might be”. Austin Muhs
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    With firm belief in your one hand, your dream in your heart and your eyes on your destiny, the struggling blocks in your way will be overcome. Martha Gouws
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    Awareness – if you don’t get it, you can’t change it. If you don’t acknowledge it, you can’t fix it. If you don’t own it, you can’t improve it. Stephanie Staples.
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    Above all, beyond everything, know that you are loved. Gail Lynne Goodwin
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    It is truly an irrational belief to believe that if you have a checkered past, then you are not allowed to have a future. Deb Copeland
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