Most people would consider losing 70 pounds to be a once in a lifetime accomplishment, but Angela VanBuskirk had to do it twice. After losing 100 pounds with the help of a personal trainer, Angela’s efforts were stymied by an aggressive bone tumor in her leg. Now, she’s 70 pounds lighter and determined to finish her fifth half-marathon in three hours or less.
Angela’s true weight loss story is the result of patience, determination and “admitting the struggle.” For her, the struggle took years to overcome and included heartbreaking setbacks.
Babies are amazing little creatures who grab our heartstrings and don’t let go. Unfortunately, for many women, the extra pregnancy weight also refuses to budge. As a tall, “stork” of a teenager and young adult, Angela was unprepared for the rapid 80 pound weight gain she experienced during her first pregnancy. “I truly embodied and embraced the ‘eating for 2’ school of thought,” she said. “Indulging cravings for french fries and banana splits – it caught up to me fast. I naively thought I would lose the weight right after I had my son. I believed this so much, I took an old pair of jeans that I wore pre-pregnancy to the hospital to wear home after delivery. The truth, I lost 7 pounds after I had him. He weighed 8 pounds and an ounce.”
In 2000, years after her second pregnancy, Angela sought the help of a personal trainer and, “worked out diligently.” She lost a significant amount of weight and for the first time in a long time, “felt incredible.” In 2002, however, she was devastated to learn she had an aggressive bone tumor that destroyed her femur and hip joint. Though the tumor was benign, the surgery to remove it left Angela with two large pins in her hip and a titanium rod in her femur. In the year it took to rehabilitate her leg, she gained 100 pounds.
Having a baby is where Angela’s weight struggle began, and ironically, the thought of carrying another one in her arms was the catalyst for her second determined shot at weight loss. In 2011, Angela found out she was going to be a grandmother for the first time, to a granddaughter named, Thea. “I knew the minute we found out she was coming into our family that I wanted to be healthy,” she said. “I wanted to be the cool active Grandma GiGi who takes her to Disney World. I wanted to watch her be a kid, and be one with her.”
With the help of a commercial weight loss program, Angela says she’s finally learned “how” to eat. “I grew up the daughter of a truck driver and a stay home mom,” she explained. “If it wasn’t fried, it was double-fried and dipped in gravy.” For exercise, Angela embraced walking, then running. She still does a combo of the two. “I like to say, ‘I ralk’ because it sounds like, “I rock.” Despite the pins in her hip and a leg-length discrepancy, she has several 5K races under her belt and she’s running her fifth half-marathon in November.
Angela admits the biggest struggle with weight loss is her career in the medical transcription field because she sits for extended periods. She has to carve out time for exercise and she’s adamant about doing so, declaring, “I decided I’m worth that, and I deserve it.”
In regard to her current/future goals, Angela says, “My goal is to be at 160 pounds by New Year’s Eve. I don’t even have a plan B. I’m just making it happen. I’m a warrior.”