MICHAELA MORRIS: Happy news from a big loser

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

It’s taken me 66 weeks and 83.6 pounds to get here.
Now I can say, “I’m a Mississippian who has gone from obese to healthy, and I am not alone.”
As I’ve slowly walked down the scale, I’ve been inspired by the journeys of others who are fighting to find a healthy way to live. Some of them have lost their weight and kept it off for years. Others are still fighting the battle, but I continue to learn from all of them.
I’ve reached a weight I haven’t claimed since my senior year of college. I’m not sure I believed I would ever get here. There have been difficult moments over the past year as I’ve rebuilt my habits and priorities, but the rewards are sweet.
Sure it’s been fun to get into smaller clothes, especially the old favorites that had to be packed away when I gained too much weight. I have two T-shirts that date from my days at Drake University – they will be 20 years in 2014 – that I can now wear with pride.
The most important thing is I’m in a far healthier place at 40 than I was at 30. My cholesterol and blood pressure, which had been at the high end of healthy, have come down. I have so much more energy. I am more present for my kids – we have plans to go roller skating soon.
I’ve found a healthy balance that works for me. I track everything I eat and drink as well as my exercise. I keep a healthy snack in my purse so I don’t end up in a snack machine. I drink a lot more water. When I have to eat out, I search out healthy options and savor them.
A village of family, friends and colleagues have cheered me on through the weeks. There have been so many encouraging comments, like the old friend who told me he didn’t recognize me until I spoke.
My Friday morning Weight Watchers group has provided me an invaluable base of support through this journey. Then there have been my informal support groups – my cubicle mates, the health care professionals I’ve interviewed through the years, the Wellness Center gang and my church family.
There’s no one solution to weight loss. Organized programs, going-it-on-your-own, surgery – it’s all about what works for you and what gets you to a sustainable healthy lifestyle. But I do think weight loss is accessible for everybody.
For me, it’s not the end of the journey. But I am celebrating the milestone.

Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@journalinc.com