been said that life is a journey, not a destination. My life has been an incredible
journey! A journey that took me from a 260 pound unhappy, unhealthy, depressed,
self-conscious woman over 11 years ago, to the happy, healthy, active and confident woman
I am today! Heres my incredible story.
Unhappy with the stigma of being a chubby
child, I joined my first weight loss club at the age of seven. I tried program after
program, diet after diet, but with no real success. Id lose a few pounds but always
gain more. By the age of 25 the years of yo-yo dieting had taken their toll and my weight
had affected every facet of my life. My marriage ended when my husband left me for a
thinner woman. My career path was limited -- I became a radio broadcaster because I
was told I was too obese for television. My negative feelings about my
appearance prevented me enjoying everyday life like going to movies, participating in
sporting and volunteer activities, and visiting with family and friends. I hid from
cameras and I ran from mirrors. I hated the way I looked, and worst of all, I hated
The final straw came on January 3, 1992. That morning, as I was getting out of the
shower, I slipped and my whole body plunged forward. It was in my frantic attempt to
prevent myself from landing on my head that I saw myself in the mirror my complete
self, from head to toe. I was absolutely horrified with what I saw. I was obese beyond
belief and there it was right in front of me. No more hiding, no more excuses, I was fat
and I was disgusted. I sat on the edge of the tub and sobbed. I cried a tear for
every hurt Id ever felt, every cruel joke I had endured, and for every diet I had
tried and failed. By the time I finished crying I had made a decision I was going
to change my life for the rest of my life. And I knew it couldnt
involve another diet another round of expectations, broken promises, and failure.
Thats what got me in this mess in the first place. This was going to be a lifestyle
change, for the rest of my life. Diets had always turned my life upside down -- I was
going to turn my life right side up.
So what did this lifestyle change involve? First, a new attitude about life and a new
attitude about food. I had to learn that there was more to life than planning my next
meal, that food was just food nothing more and nothing less. Thats why diets
dont work they keep us focused on food, on what we can and cant eat.
Its a proven fact. 95% of people who go on a diet will lose weight, but regain it
back, plus more, within two years. An even more astounding fact is that dieting is a $35
billion per year industry in North America. What does that tell us? Diets dont work.
The second key to changing my lifestyle was to incorporate physical activity into my
life. The key was to pick something I liked so it would become habit forming. Ive
never been good at team sports and I hate aerobics but Ive always enjoyed walking,
so thats what I chose as my lifestyle activity. Today, I power walk three to five
times per week and also do strength training two to three days per week and I feel
The third key to changing my lifestyle was common sense eating. Which is exactly that
using common sense about what I eat. Common sense doesnt mean eating only
broiled fish and lettuce it means eating healthy, most of the time, and learning to
push my plate away when I feel comfortably full not overstuffed. Diets had always
left me feeling deprived and hungry. I no longer feel either of those because my eating
habits have changed. The irony is that once I changed my attitude about food and
incorporated physical activity into my life, what I was eating wasnt nearly as
relevant as diets had always wanted me to believe.
The decision to change my lifestyle was the most profound decision I have ever made. I
now live a life thats full and rewarding and no longer limited by my size. I have
the confidence and self-belief to pursue my goals and dreams, and I know I can accomplish
anything I set my mind to. Im an active volunteer in my community, I participate in
social activities with family and friends, and I have energy, energy, energy! Most of all,
my lifestyle change has given me contentment with myself. I like me, I really do, and
thats a fabulous feeling.
And, I no longer run from mirrors!
Sundholm is a communications specialist and popular speaker on lifestyle
management. By changing her lifestyle Shelly transformed her body, losing
over 120 pounds and has maintained it for over nine years. She formed Sundholm
Lifestyle Management Inc. to help others do the same. Visit her website at www.sundholmlifestyle.com or
email her at firstname.lastname@example.org