Imagine being told by your doctor that you have a medical disorder that is affecting your health and makes it difficult to lose weight, yet that is the very suggestion he/she gives you to improve your condition. Most of us would feel frustrated, angry and overwhelmed. When Mari Farthing was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), she felt the same way. Then, she cranked up her iPod, laced up her kicks and hit the track.
She knew losing weight would be tough but not impossible, and now she’s 61 pounds lighter because of her determination.
Mari describes her weight as being a, “lifelong kind of thing” that didn’t really become a problem until adulthood. She started to notice a few more pounds each year, even though she was taking steps to eat healthy and exercise. Before her diagnosis, frustration led to a cycle of yo-yo dieting. After the diagnosis, she felt relief; at least now she could quit feeling like a failure.
“When I learned there was a part of me that was essentially broken, it was powerful, she said. “It answered so many questions for me. It gave me strength. It empowered me. Let me know that I’m enough. Because I didn’t feel like I was.”
Shedding the Pounds
The doctor who discovered Mari’s metabolic syndrome stressed the importance of weight loss and a lifetime of healthy eating to avoid type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Mari started by keeping a food journal, researching diabetes diets and making a list of superfoods. “I removed all refined carbs and most processed starches from my diet,” she explained. “The sugar was easy – the chips, pasta and rice, not-so-much.” She was advised to go on a strict 1400 calorie-a-day diet. She was also given medication to help with insulin resistance.
Exercise: With an arm band to track her progress, Mari set a goal to burn 300 calories a day, however she could. “I varied my workouts with classes, machines and weights,” she said. “Weights are an important part that women often overlook – cardio alone won’t do it.”
My food diary was key!
Implementing a new food routine was interesting at first and Mari enjoyed whipping up different recipes but some days, the minutia of everyday life made it difficult for this editor and married mother of two to stay on track. “A food diary was key, especially on those days I was just frustrated,” she admits. “I could look through and see my progress. Or if I slipped and gave into a craving, I could use the food diary to remind myself that I didn’t sabotage anything by giving in to a craving.”
Shedding the Guilt
Mari shared a poignant, “ah-ha” moment with us. “One day while running I realized how great it felt. Nothing hurt, it was just a good run. I was seeing progress. I realized before I went to the doctor, I just felt like a failure. . . then I learned that something inside of me was basically broken. I needed help to heal it and I did. I cried while I was running.”
” That person in the mirror is the person stopping you from having the body and life you want to have; but sometimes it’s not a simple matter of what you do and how you do it. Sometimes all the effort in the world that you put in will not give you the results that you seek, and sometimes you need to ask for help.”