By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
It’s a bit embarrassing to be the morbidly obese health reporter. I’ve had all the tools at my disposal for the past 12 years. I’ve gotten to quiz the best and brightest people in health care and fitness in our region. I’ve interviewed two Biggest Loser winners. I’ve written stories about local folks who have lost hundreds of pounds. A Google search of “Michaela Gibson Morris healthy lifestyle” turns out more than 85,000 hits on my stories.
But for a decade I couldn’t seem to get my personal health into gear.
I’ve been consistently overweight since college graduation. The needle on the scale took off after the kids arrived. After they were born, I ate to battle the sleep deficit. I ate to feel better. I ate to celebrate. I cleaned my kids’ plates to avoid wasting food.
In August 2011, I tipped just into the morbidly obese range with a body mass index of 40.2. The healthy weight range runs from 18 to 24.9. If you’re not skinny and sedentary or heavily muscled and athletic, BMI is a fairly accurate scale.
It wasn’t for lack of good intentions that I became morbidly obese. I’d psych myself up to eat smarter and exercise harder. But within two weeks, I’d be back to old habits – grabbing donuts and chicken biscuits in the morning, candy bars every afternoon, making three trips to load overflowing plates at the Chinese buffet and skipping the gym.
But at the end of last summer, something clicked into place for me. The determination to get healthy mixed with the encouragement of my friends and family and set off a chain reaction.
Since Sept. 1, I’ve lost nearly 60 pounds. The lion’s share of that weight – all but two pounds – came off with the help of Weight Watchers. It’s not magic, but for me, it’s been a very helpful tool to keep my eye on the three things key to sustained weight loss: nutritionally dense foods, portion control and exercise.
Through this journey, I’ve been blessed with two fabulous support groups outside of Weight Watchers. My co-workers, especially my Living department colleagues, cheered me on at every turn. My family has been wonderfully encouraging and patient as I’ve changed cooking and dining habits; my husband has been my biggest cheerleader. They have been essential ingredients in my success.
Now, I’ve reach a 29.4 BMI; I am no longer considered obese. I’ve got about 25 pounds to go before I reach a healthy weight range and can begin the lifetime of work to keep the weight off.
It’s not always easy, but it is possible. I hope you can find your own chain reaction.
Michaela Gibson Morris is the Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at (662) 678-1599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.