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Name: Suzie Skidmore
Before Weight: 269 pounds
How I Gained It: I was an overweight child who was raised with hearty portions and a rule of always clean your plate. My eating habits grew worse as an adult when I continued to eat large portions, junk food and snacks out of boredom or for comfort. I was also very social, and food and drinks were always an integral part of every occasion. I was also very sedentary and rarely did any exercise.
Portions were large, but so was my sweet tooth. Each meal was enough for three people. I would prepare meals at home with starch, starch, meat and starch. I loved bread, bagels, rice, pasta -- not exactly balanced or nutritious. Very few fruits or vegetables landed on my plate. Pizza was my favorite food, and I would often cook a medium pie and eat at least three quarters of it. More than once, dinner was a large bag of corn chips and cheese dip. The daily snacking and sweets were definitely my downfall. I would buy six donuts in the evening and eat them all by morning. It was not unusual for me to eat two full-sized candy bars on the way home from the grocery store and another later in the evening. I would not just eat a few cookies from a box, but once I started I would eat the whole thing. At a restaurant, I would eat everything on my plate, even when servings were huge. No one ever had to ask if I wanted fries with that, because I always ordered them. I knew I'd been gaining weight over the years, and frankly had stopped trying to lose it.
Breaking Point: The moment of truth came to me at a doctor's appointment in March 2010. I was not prepared for what I saw when the nurse had me step on the scale. I was shocked, scared and ashamed. I realized if I did not make my own decision to lose weight now, it was only a matter of time before a doctor would tell me to do it to save my health or even my life.
How I Lost It: I needed help and decided to call Jenny Craig. I started Jenny at 269 pounds. I had my own personal consultant and we hit it off right away. Her experience and advice was invaluable. I loved the meals and followed my planned menus that my consultant helped me to develop to the letter. She encouraged me to try to add in more activity in my daily life, and move more than I did before. She suggested I always skip the elevator and take the stairs. I also parked farther away from my destination so that I could get some extra steps into my day. I tried to take my dogs for longer walks to increase my activity.
After losing 27 pounds, I joined a gym and started doing 10 slow minutes on the elliptical trainer. By three to four months later, I was working out for 30 minutes at a higher intensity three to five times a week. A year later, my workouts were 45 to 60 minutes long and included a circuit training and/or toning class once a week.
Now, I know how to combat hunger and keep calories down by adding lots of vegetables to each meal and snacking on fruit. I no longer keep junk food in the house and have learned how to make good choices for eating out. I still have a sweet tooth but have learned to tame it using portion-controlled treats to satisfy my cravings. I usually do 30 to 45 minutes on the elliptical and 15 on the treadmill. I also wanted to set a goal for myself to run a 5K. I trained on the treadmill for the most part and did a combination of running and walking to build my endurance. I ran the 5K in September 2011 and did not walk any part of it. I was so happy I accomplished this, although I prefer walking as it is easier on my knees.
Improved health, increased energy, more confidence and fun shopping were some of the many wonderful benefits that I experienced after losing weight. As if this was not enough, my weight loss had another exciting result. My longtime friend Kevin had been battling kidney cancer and had to have both kidneys removed. He had to rely on dialysis to do the job his kidneys once did. His quality of life and health were severely impacted. Kevin could not be considered for a kidney transplant until he was cancer free for five years. I told him during this time that I would be willing to donate one of my kidneys to him. Fortunately, Kevin made it to the five-year mark and was finally eligible for a transplant. I was a good match for Kevin and was now ready and willing to fulfill my promise to him.
The transplant took place in April 2012. My recovery was not easy, but I am happy to say Kevin did very well with my kidney and is so grateful to be enjoying life and better health as a result. I had no fear and have no regrets about my decision to help my friend. My weight loss gave me a happier, healthy life and also allowed me to give the same to Kevin.
After Weight: 165 pounds The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers.
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