Writing the True Weight Loss segment every week gives me the opportunity to share inspiring stories with our DIR readers. Whether it’s the journey of a personal trainer who had to take his own advice, a spunky senior who didn’t let age deter his weight loss goals or a work-at-home medical transcription supervisor who battled a bone tumor, I want people who are struggling with their weight to find someone they can identify with. This week, Allison shares her 62-pound true weight loss story.
Allison Willson can tell you exactly when her weight struggles began, right down to her age. ” My struggle began at the age of 6 when I had my tonsils taken out,” she explained. “I was a thin kid, then I had my tonsils out and didn’t eat for two weeks. My mom said I lost 30 pounds. Once I began to eat again, my mom wanted to feed me the foods I wanted so I ate a lot of cheese, pastas and processed foods. This is all I knew, this lifestyle of eating unhealthy.”
Growing up, Allison admits her weight gain continued due to poor eating habits including processed foods, soda, fast food and lack of exercise. In school, she endured name-calling like, “Moo-Cow.” Although family members, including her mother, told her she needed to lose weight, they didn’t necessarily encourage or provide her with the tools she needed to do so, successfully. In her mind, she thought she was simply destined to be overweight saying, “Being big, that’s who I thought I was, just a big girl.”
Her feelings changed the day she entered a weight loss challenge at work. At her first weigh-in she said she was “shocked” to see the number on the scale, 375 pounds. “I didn’t think it was that bad,” she explained. “I have always known I needed to change, but didn’t know how.” Through the challenge she was presented with hard facts about the amount of calories, fat and sugar she was consuming. Her weight loss journey started with the My Fitness Pal app to count calories, eliminating soda from her diet and cutting back on fast food. For exercise she walked and used the elliptical machine at the YMCA.
Though Allison finally had the information she needed and a plan to follow, she still had setbacks. This year, Allison experienced the pain of divorce from an alcoholic husband who didn’t support her weight loss. The fallout from the divorce left her sad and lonely. She cut back on her exercise and turned to food. She was devastated again when her ex-husband, whom she remained friendly with, “let a train take his life.”
Allison continues to have trouble sticking to a consistent plan, but when she falls down she gets back up, “no matter what,” saying, “Sometimes it takes me a few weeks or months. That’s why it has been a year and a half and I have lost just 61 pounds. But then I remind myself. I LOST 61 POUNDS!! That is amazing.”
Allison’s future goals are to make better lifestyle changes and lose 150 more pounds. Her advice to others: “You can do this. You just need to believe and want the change. And no matter how many times you my slip and fall, get back up and keep trying. Everyday try and if you don’t do good that day, it’s okay. you can keep trying tomorrow.”