For two weeks, Stephanie Bernstein walked around with only 40% lung capacity. Soon she would discover that 100s of tiny blood clots had invaded her lungs, resulting in a massive pulmonary embolism. Five years ago when Stephanie got the news, she made a deathbed pact to God vowing to make some “serious changes to get healthy.”
Now, 80 pounds lighter, she’s the healthiest she’s ever been in her life, and at 51, she’s having fun picking out trendy clothes and even turning a few heads in the process.
Like many of our true weight loss rock stars, Stephanie said her weight is something she has struggled with her whole life. “I was intimidated by exercise, and I loved sweets and comfort food.”
The extra pounds even affected her self esteem. “It was always the thing that held me back from being truly happy,” she admitted. “I never felt attractive, and always felt like the ugly duckling.”
The promise she made to God
Stephanie was determined to get healthy for her daughters. After losing their first mothers in China, she prayed that her life would be saved so the girls wouldn’t have to go through another devastating loss. Following the embolism, she spent a year enduring constant blood draws and Lovenox shots to reduce the risk of further clotting. Once her body was healthy enough for exercise, Stephanie got busy making good on her promise.
Circuit training and nixing sweets made a world of difference
Despite loathing the the treadmill, Stephanie joined Planet Fitness and took advantage of their 30 minute circuit training. In the beginning she could barely finish the cycle but she didn’t give up. Eventually she added weight training, and now she power-walks for additional endurance.
Instead of starting a complicated diet, she cut out sweet food, and focused on portion control. Then, she added larger portions of fruits, veggies, protein and complex carbs to her regimen. ”Planning was the key, “she told us. “Always having some string cheese and cut up veggies on hand for snack attacks was very important.”
Finding Cinderella at The Buckle
After her weight loss, Stephanie found joy in the dressing room again. “My biggest triumph was when I was buying blingy jeans at The Buckle (my favorite store) in size 29. I felt like Cinderella! I never owned a pair of hot jeans in my entire life. I still struggle with food choices from time to time. I let myself indulge here and there, but always keep myself within a range of 3-5 pounds so as to not lose all that I have worked so hard for.”
There is never a reason to stop working out and making healthy choices no matter what age!
She may have spent a large portion of her life inactive, but Stephanie has a new outlook and she’s determined not to go back. Her advice to others – “Just get started moving and stick to a regimen that works for you. For example, my gym time is non negotiable! It is easy to let it slide when the weather is bad or things get busy, but I always figure out a way to get my workout in. It’s THAT important.”
April 5th, 2014