April 18, 2012
Herbie of the Week: Cole
Last week we met Kessa, who lowered her A1C level from 13 to a 6 and lost 30 lbs! This week we meet Cole, who has lost 136 lbs and has one of my favorite quotes about achieving your goals.
HH: Tell us a little bit about your history and what motivated you to make a change.
Gosh, there is so much emotion tied up into this question, it’s hard to just write about the facts. The truth is - I weighted 319 lbs and felt like I was dying. I had struggled with my weight for years and even reached a point where I decided to just stop struggling and allowed my food addiction to grow into full force. I was on a binge everyday. Anything that sounded good to eat that was even remotely accessible to me I would indulge in at every opportunity. I was so depressed that over Thanksgiving dinner in 2009 I blurted out that I’d rather die than live another year at that weight or higher.
HH: What changed?
It was then that my mom intervened. She told me that if I would try just ONE more program (Weight Watchers) and still wasn’t able to succeed, that she would find a way to help me afford weight loss surgery. So December 6th 2009, I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting. (HH: Cole also gave up smoking, cold!)
HH: I saw this on your blog "I know a lot of you are not on board with my vegetarian/veganism which is absolutely FINE in so many ways!" Is your family not supportive?
My father and I have a relationship that is mostly centered on food. He is also morbidly obese. ((Wait- I’m no longer obese, so I guess “also” doesn’t apply anymore. WHOOP! …Sorry, still getting the hang of this!)) Anyway, my family has always eaten out at restaurants. My mom has always hated cooking and my husband’s favorite food is pepperoni pizza. So when I went to a plant-based diet, many of my relationships changed. Eating out pretty much stopped when my Dad once told me “you’re no fun anymore” because I ordered 2 sides of steamed vegetables for dinner.
Luckily my family is amazing and once they realized I wouldn’t be wavered, they all supported my decision and worked on finding new ways to make out time together special.
HH: You have some pretty amazing pictures on your blog, showing yourself at 319 down to 183 (incredible!) What motivates you to keep losing the weight and keeping up the healthy lifestyle?
Pictures and videos. Seeing the pictures of what I like to call “my evolution” is dramatic. I do not recognize myself in new pictures. It used to be that my eyes would just quickly scan for the fattest body in the picture and that was me. Now, that’s not true. I still struggle making food choices every single day. I do NOT always succeed at making good choices for my diet and lifestyle. But I now KNOW that a plant-based diet works well for my body, and I wake up every morning with the idea that people who achieve their goals aren’t perfect, they are just persistent.
HH: Have you helped anyone who aspires to take or is taking a similar journey?
I’ve had several people tell me that I’ve inspired them to change their life. That’s hard for me to handle. To me it feels like pressure to be perfect. And, to be honest, I feel like I let them down when they do not succeed. But I’m trying to talk more about it. Before, no one wanted to talk to the fat girl about how they struggled with their diet too. Now that I’m “normal” (not sure that’s the term I’m sticking to when I describe my new body shape), people are more inclined to be honest about their own health goals. It’s nice to know that so many people struggle along with me and that we can help each other make more informed decisions about our journeys.
HH: What advice do you have for someone who is struggling with weight loss?
For the long of it, check out this blog post I wrote called The Definition of "Hard".
For the short of it, just do not EVER give up struggling. I know it can be absolutely exhausting to resist eating all the food you think about every free minute of the day. But it is true what they say, “Will power and healthy decision making are like muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they get.” Work hard to ditch the “all or nothing” attitude. I go on an 80/20 ratio. I only require myself to make a B- when it comes to my diet. And I grade on a curve. :)
HH: Any additional comments?
You can yell or whisper in excitement or anger, but please remember to speak only in a tone of love, and this applies most especially when you’re speaking to yourself.
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story Cole.