My Story: I was Obese

Wow, there it is, in black and white…I WAS OBESE! I wasn’t always obese; it kind of snuck up on me. I was full of excuses: a high stress job, a career ending injury, quitting smoking and having a baby.  In reality, I was obese because of poor eating habits and a sedentary life style.  Year after year and pound after pound I made excuses for my lifestyle.  I didn’t do outdoor actives in the summer because I didn’t like the heat, in the winter it was because I didn’t like being cold, and in the spring and fall there were too many bugs. My weight problem really came to my attention when my son graduated high school in 2011. I was looking at pictures of his open house I kept finding pictures of myself and thinking, “well, that angle isn’t very flattering.”  Then it hit me…none of the angles were flattering. I was a tight size 22 and my BMI was 39.87- it was time to make some changes.

That summer, I started making modifications to my lifestyle. I reduced my portions and began exercising.  I began using the Couch to 5K app (I repeated week one seven times). I was so out of shape.  But over the next 5 years the weight slowly came off, in a roller coaster pattern.  As I began to shed some weight, I started to enjoy the things I always said I hated.  I started camping with my kids, biking and kayaking, and I even ran a couple of 5Ks.  Each year I cleaned up my eating a little more and as I got in better shape, my new active lifestyle became enjoyable.

Last winter, I went cross-country skiing with my daughter and I even started snowmobiling. Guess what…I LOVE WINTER. We visited the frozen Munising Falls, the Ebens Ice Caves and the Grand Island Ice Caves. I enjoyed every minute of winter in the Upper Peninsula.

In May of 2015, I had lost approximately 45 pounds but my weight loss had hit a plateau, so I made some more changes.  I’ve adopted a clean diet (mostly :)) and have begun following a nutritional program. The program includes an online motivational group which has helped me increase my daily activity. Since May, I am proud to say I have now lost over 100lbs.  My BMI has gone from 39.87 to 23.33. Not only am I NOT obese, I’m not even OVERWEIGHT!

Last summer was one of the best I’ve ever had- I can now proudly call myself a runner.  I ran the Mackinac Bridge, the Sault Festival of Races International Bridge 10K and my three kids and I ran the U of M Depression Dash. I spent the summer camping, swimming, kayaking, running and most importantly…LIVING!

Written by Ressie Stranaly, 2016 Michigan Fitness Ambassador

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