Do you remember when we shared Lee’s story of loss? Hold on, let me give you a little more information. Lee is Bari’s dad. He suffered an incredible loss, and instead of losing himself in it, he FOUND himself and a new reason to live. Go read his story quick, and then come back here and read Lee’s amazing update! Oh, while you’re at it, you might also want to read his heartfelt thanks as well!
And now, here is Lee’s inspiring update.
This is a status report covering the last two months of my journey to a new lifestyle…
Some of you might remember that my life was turned upside down by the death of my lifetime partner Bob about a year ago, and how that tragedy and the subsequent changes I had to make to my lifestyle, became known as my story, the one that was published in the Shrinking Jeans website a couple of months ago. I have also shared my story with others as the opportunity presented itself. As I wrote in my story, I loved Bob dearly and miss him, but his death has breathed new life into mine. I continue to make good food choices and workout vigorously under the guidance of my personal fitness trainer at the health club I joined the first of the year.
My trainer has challenged me to perform tasks I never thought possible. I meet with him on Mondays and he puts me through upper and lower body workouts on the strength building machines. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I workout with a Silver Sneakers class. Everyday I warm up on the treadmill for 20 minutes then on those days when I’m not working with my trainer or the Silver Sneakers class I workout on my own. The last thing I do everyday, is to take a nice swim and sit in the hot tub.
One of my major accomplishments over the past two months has come from the swimming pool. When I first joined the health cub, it was impossible for me to swim one lap of the pool on my stomach. After about a month and a half, I was able to swim 21 laps, not all on my stomach, but using a combination of styles and resting at the end of each length of the pool. It was my goal each week to meet or exceed my previous weeks lap record. Challenging? Yes, but I pushed myself and I envisioned my daughters standing at the end of the pool, encouraging me and saying “go dad, come on dad, don’t give up!”. That’s what kept me going. Every lap was very emotional as I pushed myself to my limits. Many times I rested my head on the edge of the pool and cried because I did it, I didn’t give up.
Another major accomplishment comes from the fitness room. I use most of the strength training equipment (although I don’t lift weights) and try to push or pull more weight, or do more repetitions each time. But, one of the exercises is the body squat where you sit on a bench or chair then stand up then sit back down, repeatedly without any assistance for a period of one minute. At first, I couldn’t do this without holding onto my trainers hands to help pull myself up and sit myself back down. Today, I did that exercise without the assistance of my trainer. But not just one set, I did three sets with a short rest between each one and a workout on another machine too! I did it, I didn’t give up.
The black granite stone I picked up last October at the Hospice “Service of Remembrance” program still sits right in front of me, under my computer monitor. It has the word “Inspire” inscribed on it. Little did I know at the time how many times I would come to hear that word, and how my story would come to impact the lives of others. Every week I hear someone tell me how inspiring my story is and how it gives them the encouragement and incentive to do something about their own situation.
Today I weigh 232 pounds, down 127 pounds from my highest of 359 pounds. This weight loss has occurred over a period of about 1 ½ years. My waist has gone from a portly size 58 to a much slimmer size 42. I am buying large size clothes now and not 3XL!. I have completely stopped taking my diabetes medications, which was insulin and Metformin, and my doctor took me off one of the three blood pressure pills I was taking. I will continue to monitor my blood sugar levels and blood pressure to make sure they are within acceptable limits set by my doctor.
I don’t know how much more weight I will lose beyond my original goal of 220 pounds, but most importantly, my BMI, percentage of body fat, and muscle mass continue to improve. As I continue to workout, and at the recommendation of my trainer, I am placing more emphasis now on building up my body strength, and less emphasis on trying to beat my previous lap swim records. I will let my body tell me where it wants to be. Protein intake and lots of water are the two most important things about my routine.
It’s gratifying when I walk up to someone I haven’t seen for some time and say hi, and they look at me and say “do I know you?”. And after I have talked to someone and they see what I have accomplished, they tell me they are inspired and want to work on their own weight issues, or even better, to hear someone say that they heard about me from someone else…well, it just spreads.
I am a very emotional person and I continue to be overwhelmed by the impact I am having on others as they struggle through their own weight issues. It touches my heart and I have been blessed beyond belief. God knows that I was hurting and my heart was breaking when Bob passed away. One life was lost, but out of that, I have been energized and given new life, and I feel God is using me to reach out and touch others through my story so that perhaps they can start their own journey towards a new life of healthier lifestyle choices. Am I crying as I try and close this? Yes. I told you I was an emotional person. Now, please hand me some tissue.
Better yet, hand us some tissue, Lee! Wow. Your story is so amazing, and it’s not hard to see how you’ve inspired so many people, including all of us at the Sisterhood. Thank you so much, and we look forward to another update in the very near future!