Lite Your Fire Series

We met Andie just last week while visiting Lansing, KS. As we were walking towards her in the grocery aisle, she recognized our Aunt Kamie and they began to talk. Kamie had previously known her and was complimenting her on her weight loss and of course that piqued our interest. I began asking questions and went on to learn that she had lost 185 lbs!!! She was glowing with happiness and we *knew* we wanted to share her story! We exchanged email addresses at the grocery store! I love reading her answers and I know you will too! Thanks so much Andie!!!

First Name/Age: Andrea, 43

Tell us a little about yourself so we can get to know you better:

I have been heavy since my early teens, so this has pretty much been a life-long battle. And even at my heaviest, a whopping 360 pounds, it was not because I went to all-you-can-eat buffets and gorged. It was because a King Size bag of M&Ms; a Big Grab bag of chips and 2 Pepsi’s were a typical lunch for me. And of course, I would be remiss if I forgot to mention my love of fast food …it was just so convenient and easy….sound familiar?? When I finally decided I was ready to do something about my weight, I figured all I had to do was ask my doctor for approval to have either the gastric bypass or lap-band. In my mind, surgery was the easy “fix” to my problem. But when I went to my doctor, much to my dismay, he promptly said, “No.” He said due to the fact I had had ovarian cancer at 27, which caused me to endure three major surgeries including reconstruction; multiple rounds of chemotherapy; and suffered several blood clots due to a malfunction of the shunt – there was no way he would allow me to have a weight loss surgery. He went on to say weight loss surgeries are only band-aid solutions to much bigger issues/problems, which is why over 70% of these surgery recipients fail…they never change their lifestyle and eating habits permanently. He added my body had been through too much trauma and he didn’t want someone “messing up his masterpiece”. Then he said (and I remember this conversation as if it was yesterday), “Yes, you are fat and you need to lose a lot of weight; but look, you have survived cancer, ovarian no less. I have no doubt you can lose the weight the old-fashioned way with diet and exercise. You have a strong willpower and you are definitely stubborn. If you make your mind up to lose weight – you will and you will be successful.” Needless to say, I was crushed and back to square one, just when I thought I had it all figured out… So, I had a self pity party and came to the realization he was right. There is no magic pill or surgery, just hard work and a willingness to change my eating habits AND lifestyle permanently. Then my official weight-loss journey began. And believe me – it was rough and tough at the beginning!! At 360 pounds, I was hardly able to walk for five minutes straight without having to stop and catch my breath. Now do not misunderstand, there were LOTS of trials and tribulations; set-backs and plateaus; and even a couple of major weight gains along the way…but the important thing is – I kept going and eventually I lost 100 pounds with portion control and exercise being the primary components of my weight loss success up to that point. Well, guess what happened next? I found myself weighing around 260 and stuck… I just couldn’t manage to lose any more weight. I was maintaining over a period of time, which is better than gaining, but I was not losing. I was becoming more and more frustrated, and fearful I might “slip into my old habits”. Family and friends would say, “You know what to do, so just keep doing it”. Yeah right, anyone who has ever had a weight problem can tell you, it is much easier said than done!  Bottom line, if you can’t/won’t do/accept what you need to do to change your lifestyle AND eating habits as well as be willing to follow the program guidelines; then you are not ready to lose weight.  You may WANT to lose weight (I mean, who doesn’t??); but you just don’t want it BAD enough…or at least, not yet… And if that is the case, then the program offered here will not work for you.  Lord knows, it took me a long time to finally decide to take action. Remember, I was at 360  before I finally decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and was truly ready to start on my weight loss journey…It has not been a straight shot from 360 to 175 – I had a couple of huge setbacks during these past few years to get to this point (I regained a 100 pounds one time and regained another 120 pounds another time), but persistence and willpower have paid off!

Have you struggled with weight/body image issues throughout your life?

Started with puberty and has stayed ever since.

Was there a significant event that triggered your changes?

No, just sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Did you have someone that inspired you to make changes?

My husband and a few close family and friends have always encouraged and supported me, but I had to decide to change on my own for me and me alone.

Did you incorporate a certain diet? Restrict calories? Or follow any certain plan?

Portion control, lots of grilled fish and chicken.  Input (food/calories) has to be less than output (exercise/activity)

Do you exercise? If so, what type of exercise do you enjoy? Did you work out with family or friends?

Walking (by myself and/or with my husband), walk tapes (Leslie Sansone) (by myself), water aerobics (in an organized class).

When did people first notice the changes?

Amazing as it sounds, for as many people as I know and come into contact with – overall only a minority have said anything at all to me – so don’t know if and/or when the weight loss was noticed.  Several females have been negative as of to try to sabotage my efforts.

Did it take a while for your mind to adjust to the new you?

Still adjusting – I can feel it and see it in my shoulders/face, but I still “see” the 360 pound girl shoulders and below.

How did you measure your success throughout the process?

Pounds lost and inches lost and increased energy levels

How much weight did you lose and how long have you kept it off?

From 360 to 175 – heaviest to now = 185 pounds
With the 2 major weight gains during this journey = 395 pounds

Do you feel like your confidence has improved?

Haven’t noticed – always been a confident person.

How did your family react? Were they supportive?

The family that matters have noticed and been supportive.  Several family members have said nothing.

What do you eat on an average day?

A protein, a vegetable, a starch and a fruit at every meal whenever I am hungry – so it depends daily.

What are some of your favorite foods that keep you on track?

Lots of grilled/smoked beef and chicken and fish.

What are your biggest tips for people that are trying to maintain their weight loss?

My 3 favorite quotes:
1.  “Excuses are stepping stones to failure ” and believe you me I have heard and used ALL of them myself as to why it can’t be done.
2.  “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels”
3.  “Live to eat and not eat to live.”

My 3 main philosphies:
1.  Don’t give up – expect setbacks, it is a part of life – just don’t have a pity party and give up, just start back on your journey….
2.  This is a baby step process, you didn’t gain all your weright overnight, so don’t expect it to fall off overnight either.
3.  Anything worth fighting for takes time and effort – you are worth it – so get back to/keep on fighting, it is for you, you are your own best cheerleader.




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About Lexy

40 years old, "stay at home mom" to 2 boys (ages 16 and 14), wife to a chiropractic kinesiologist! I love blogging and learning new ideas. I follow the Weight Watchers Points Plus program and enjoy working out. I have run 2 full 26.2 mile marathons and 3 half marathons... and many 10k and 5k's. I love taking BodyPump classes and lifting weights. Working out has always been fun for me, but I struggle with eating healthy. Blogging has introduced me to a world of healthy eaters... When I first started WW... I just wanted someone to tell me what to eat! I didn't like cooking and I am not the kind of person that can just throw things together. There are tons of ideas out there and I love finding new and fun ones that I feel like I am capable of making myself!

4 thoughts on “Lite Your Fire Series

  1. Cyndi

    WOW!!! I think I love you Andie. What an inspiration you are! Talk about true and honest hard work and dedication. You should be a motivational speaker!

  2. Carol

    Wonderful interview Lexy. Quite a strong courageous woman.
    Weight loss surgery is not a magic pill or simple answer. Only a tool like all the others. To be successful long-term it takes major life changes & consistency. There are no 'easy' answers. But the efforts & success pay off big time in every aspect of your life. Really enjoy this blog. Thank you ladies for helping so many with their process and journey.


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