One of the best things about deciding to make our blog public, is the fact that we are able to share with our family. It has opened the door for us to be able to discuss our struggles with weight as a family. We have been able to help each other with daily decisions, encouragement, and even provide healthier family gatherings! I’m so excited to introduce you to our Aunt Jackie! Her story is so very inspirational and I hope you will find motivation and encouragement from her words!
First Name/Age: Jackie Skinner, 49
Well, where do I begin?…….. I have loved to eat all my life. I was raised by a mother that loved to cook and try new things……my brothers & I were more than happy to be her critics. I was also raised that food was comfort. If you had a disappointment in your life Mom would cook your favorite food to ease the blow. If we had a success we’d celebrate with food. As I look at things now I see that our culture celebrates life changing events with food. As I was growing up I maintained an ok weight. Never really had an issue until after I got married and had to cook all the time then I started to gain weight, and then……I was expecting my first child……I had complications and gained 60 pounds! I remember the morning I was induced….they made me get on the scales and I weighed 227 pounds! I couldn’t believe it! Everybody told me that I would lose the weight after I began resuming real life! Oh yeah…..I forgot to mention that I had to lay on my left side in the hospital for the last six weeks due to blood pressure problems…..and all I had to do was eat and sleep. From that point on I stayed overweight until after my second child was born. Then the drug “fastin” became popular and I went to the “fat doctor” and started taking that and lost 40 pounds. I was feeling good. I was walking every day and the diet pill helped me not to be hungry and I had loads of energy. I did great for a while and then I quit taking the pills and began to quit walking and before I knew it I had gained back the 40 pounds plus more. A whole lot more! I was a mother with two babies and didn’t have the energy or the desire to do anything else about it.
As the years passed I just dealt with it and tried to make sure no one took any pictures of me. During this time I was diagnosed with diabetes and later had to have a stent put in my heart. More years passed and then the two years that caused me to get my heaviest was the year I lost my Mom and 11 months later I lost my Dad. During that time I spiraled up in my weight. Dad had cancer and the Doctor told me “do not let him lose weight”. Dad being the sweetheart that he was didn’t want me to cook only for him. So if I asked him what he wanted for breakfast he would ask me what I was going to have and if I said I wasn’t hungry he would say he wasn’t either. So I quickly learned he would eat only if I did. So I began cooking 3 full meals a day and I sat and ate with him. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world. I got to spend one on one time with him that I never would have been able to do otherwise. We were together 24/7. Then the day came that his life on earth was done. I was grief stricken for a long time and I literally ate my grief away gaining even more weight. I had no idea what I weighed until I went to the Dr. and had to get on the scales. I weighed in at 295 pounds! When I left his office I cried all the way home. I couldn’t believe I was just 5 pounds away from being 300 pounds. I felt terrible, had no energy and didn’t feel like doing anything about it. I had had a series of tests that all came back normal. I knew something had to be wrong with me but what could I say….. all the test results came back normal. The Doctor said I was just severely depressed!
Well I continued to exist for a while longer continuing to feel bad and one evening when I was watching a talk show and the topic of sleep apnea came up. A lot of the symptoms they were describing I could relate to…..so on a whim I called my doctor and asked him if I could be tested for sleep apnea. He said ok but he didn’t think that was my problem but he said it wouldn’t hurt. I went and was tested and sure enough I had it. The test said that out of 160 sleep apnea episodes in one night 80 of that 160 were total obstruction. I asked what that meant and he said I had quit breathing for more than a minute 80 times. He said my body was oxygen deprived. I was fitted with a CPAP machine and began to sleep with it on a regular basis. I lost 20 pounds in two months just from using that machine. That brought my weight down to 275 where it stayed for quite a while. I joined weight watchers twice during the next few years but never stuck with it for very long.
I watched Windy (my sister-in-law) as she began to lose weight and I was really impressed by how well she did. I then had Carman (my niece) who began to be talk about eating healthy. Then Lexi (another niece) placed a video online that I watched. I was impressed by what she said but I still didn’t have any motivation or desire to try and lose weight. Then came May 2011 and Tim (my brother) came and spent Memorial Day with me. When he pulled up I couldn’t believe how much weight he had lost! I thought then and there….ok this is it! I’m not going to be the only fat family member…..so I started weight watchers again. My friend Leann started a Zumba class and asked me to come. I did and I love it! Then 3 of my wonderful nieces created a website called fire lites fire. I began reading their posts and started my journey again.
I can’t say that I have stayed on track the whole time but I have lost 24 pounds and my blood sugar test (A1c) this past week was normal for the first time in 6 years……and I have been able to discontinue 30 units of insulin. My Doctor said I don’t know what you’re doing but keep it up. I still have a long way to go but I now have the desire and it has been so much fun seeing my clothes getting too big! I still have my days that I fall off the wagon but instead of totally giving up I just jump back on the next day. Carman said something that helped me so much. She said if you get off program…..own it and move on. I have used that so many times when I have wanted to beat myself up for eating too much. Lexi said something as well that I had never thought of…..with learning and eating healthy there is no finish line. I have thought about that a lot. It’s so true! I am now on a journey making lifestyle changes and learning how to eat healthy. Will I eat chocolate again? Absolutely!…… but I am committed to doing all I can to become a healthier person. I plan to continue to lose weight until I get to a healthy weight and acheive the better looking body that I want.
When I become discouraged I log on to fire lites fire and look at the before and after pictures of my family and say “Yes I can!” They are my best cheerleaders! Do I know when I will reach my goal?……..no but it doesn’t matter as long as I continue the journey. I too hope to continue to chart my progress on fire lites fire with them. I love them so much for supporting and encouraging me. There’s more to come…….or should I say less!……LOL!
Progress – Nov 2011
© 2011 – 2012, Fire Lites Fire. All rights reserved.