I started out on this journey at 289 pounds. I had focused so much of my attention on my family and my career that I turned a blind eye to the fact that my own health was in need of some attention. My motto was, « As long as I can find cute clothes in my size, (2x to 3x), I am just fine. » I pretended that I didn’t care how big I had gotten, but when the size 24 jeans got too tight… that’s when I decided something had to change. I was just at a loss as to where to start. I understand the math behind the process – calories in must be less than calories out. But if it was that easy to understand, why wasn’t everyone fit? How come I couldn’t figure it out?
At about the same time last summer, a dear friend and colleague was diagnosed with diabetes. I wanted to be supportive to her and also felt some panic that I may be headed down the same path. She and I were about the same size, had the same sedentary « teacher » lifestyle, and the same terrible eating habits (like eating school food). I looked on the Internet and found references to the Dukan Diet. I speak French fairly well, so translating the information was not difficult. My interest was peaked, so I searched more, and found sites from the U.K. and New Zealand. The people on the sites seemed so happy and vibrant. I realized that that feeling was what was missing from my life. I made the commitment to myself to get healthy and feel better in my own skin. I felt tired and run down all the time. My favorite time of day with my youngest son was nap time because I would lay down with him and nap also.
I did a lot of soul searching, and realized that my size was a security blanket for me. I had become very comfortable slipping in the back for photographs or avoiding them totally. I felt invisible to other people. When did I become a « wallflower? » And why was I complacent about it? There was some significant guilt involved at first, working out took time that could be spent with my children and husband. I did not eat the same foods they did, so going out to eat was a challenge. We made no more trips out to pancake restaurants or to get big bowls of pasta at the Italian restaurant. But I realized that my children (and students) saw me as a role model. My sons were looking at me everyday and learning from the example that I set. I started to cut back and watch what I ate when school started – the day after Labor Day, which is kind of like « Teacher’s New Year’s Day. »
My new school year resolution was to not be the biggest teacher. I was tired of being referred to as the « fat math teacher. » High school students can be extremely cruel, and even if I am old enough to be their mother, the comments still cut deep. My new motto is: « FIT AND FABULOUS BY FORTY! » I believe that I am living that motto now. I have now lost 90 POUNDS! I smile constantly and feel so energetic and alive. I may not have the same mass that I had before, but I feel like my personality is filling the area that my body used to (and then some).
I still do a double take when I pass mirrors and see the size 24 girl looking back, but I am working on that. 20 more pounds until I reach my true weight. I am thrilled the Dukan diet gave me a realistic weight goal, and a support system that would help me for the rest of my life. The Dukan Diet has given me the life I have always wanted.
My favorite support Dukan food: grilled fish and vegetables.
My Dukan treat: I am very fond of a perfectly cooked lean steak.
My favorite form of exercise: is, by far, walking and running. I just completed my first 10K race and felt an incredible rush of satisfaction and pride by crossing the finish line. I also really enjoy playing outside with my boys, which is something I have missed out on for many years.
The nicest compliment I’ve been paid: is when I was mistaken for a substitute teacher by a male colleague. He asked if he could help me make copies, then did a double take when I looked up at him. A few students also told me that I looked « awesome, » and coming from high school students, that is pretty significant.
What keeps me going: how amazing I feel!! We just put our summer vegetable garden in and did some significant yard work. I was able to keep up and not get winded. In fact, I went for a walk after finishing the planting. That would not have happened before!
The advice I’d give to other « Dukanians »: Please, don’t forget the oat bran. It is important! Oh, and don’t be afraid to be proud of yourself. You are working hard, so it’s ok for people to notice. And trust me…. They will!