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Gretchen's Story



    I first began my weight loss journey on June 24th, 1999. I am coming up on my 3 year anniversary of my program. When I started I was skeptical that I was going to be successful. I on the average started a Health Program once a month and never lasted more than a week.

    This time I needed to I was scared I was going to die. I had spent the last 6 months sleeping upright on the couch in the living room because laying in my bed was way to uncomfortable, I found it both difficult to breath and I had pain in my hips and my back. My husband never said a word.

    I got up and went to work everyday, I worked in the afternoon so I slept until about 11am each day, went to work and came home and sat in the same spot. I had a hard time walking across campus. Students stared at me the first day of class. My clothes were nasty and I was unkempt. I didn't care that my hair wasn't in place or that I hadn't been to the dentist in 18 years! I was dieing!

    I feel from a pool ladder that collapsed under my weight just 5 days after I started my program, I was totally humiliated at the hospital. It was my birthday, I was 43 and should be enjoying life. I had high blood pressure, bilateral bone spurs, skin ulcers, periodontal disease!

    For the first 6 months I didn't weigh, how could I there wasn't a scale that could use regularly. The last recorded weight I had was when I had my students doing a clinical at a hospital and they had a wheelchair scale for the patients. I weighed 396 pounds. That was a year before I started my program.

    One day I was at Costco's and I was feeling great. And I saw they had a scale that went up to 350 pounds! Looking up and down the isles to make sure no one was around. I stepped on the scale and weighed 323 pounds. I cried like a baby and bought the scale! And so my journey began!

    Last year was a struggle. I dieted all year it seems and my weight last July was 215 pounds! On January of this year it was 255 pounds! My low weight was 180 (something) the December before and I had been featured in Pounds A Weigh Magazine.

    So now I have gotten my butt in gear. Writing this helped my realize I like who I have become and I don't want to go back!

    BTW (by the way) I no longer have high blood pressure, bone spurs no longer an issue, my cholesterol is 179, I still have extremely bad right knee and bad hips (but the MD says I won't need surgery if I keep my weight down). I have a Hollywood dentist that reconstructed my smile at the cost of $10,000.00 and I will have my tummy skin removed and arms done in the summer of 2003!

    Thanks for your support as I count down to goal! 59 pounds more!


    The Beginning! (My story) pictures (low weight picture)

    Written 5/27/2002




    I would like to tell you what turned me around this year was positive and uplifting and spiritually. It wasn't. I think it was FEAR fear of going back to what I was.........

    I told you a bit about my life and what I was like a 396 pounds but I think I skipped all the gory stuff. Do you want to hear what life was really like? People come to me because I never hold back and I am very open and honest. I decided long ago when I took my struggle public that if I was going to succeed and help myself and other I had to be honest.

    There wasn't a day I didn't cry, either because of an insult, or the pain in my heels or hip. I was horrible and short temper and don't even mention DIET! I am really surprised that Free stood by me. My in-laws (a little different to begin with) every time we had a social gather would push metabolife, PHen PHen something. Naturally I was insulted. I was a nurse I knew how to eat how dare them!!!! Then I would go the the bathroom and break another toilet seat, have trouble wiping myself, and forget using tampons UGH REALITY why is it so cruel. Why did people point at me in markets and tell their children not to eat junk food or they would look like me. Why did a student come up to me and ask me if I was pregnant with triplets. Why was I so SHORT! 5'2"


    I would do fine all day, I didn't eat anything. Then I would come home and from 5PM on eat everything. Steak, rolls (real butter), (2) baked potato, sour cream, cheese, salad with real ranch dressing, ice cream. Then when people were asleep at night I would get up and eat cookies, and peanut butter sandwiches (4 or 5). Then sleep until noon. And do it again.


    I guess I was pushed. Does God do that? I remember falling it was like slow motion, I was falling so slow I had time to pray and think about an 7 year old that would feel helpless with his Mother on the ground. I hit hard and my back went out. I really thought I broke a hip. I called for my 7 years old and he came, but what could he do?! He brought me water and the phone. But I didn't call anyone, I was way to embarrassed! He sat on the ground next to me holding me and crying (I cry now thinking about it). After about an hour I managed to pull myself to my feet. I wet my pants, I was in shock! I managed to get to the couch where I sat another 4 hours hoping I would improve. Soon Free arrived home, I told him we needed to get to emergency. He dressed me like a baby (really embarrassed now)

    At the hospital I was given a wheel chair (my hips hardly fit in) actually they didn't, it hurt even more. I went to the check in nurse. Blood Pressure 210/126. When I walked to her she asked me if I always walked like that! WHAT!? I was hobbling because of the fall. WHAT DID SHE MEAN!? I couldn't walk because I was FAT! Then a snippy little nurse 1/2 my age gave me one of those cover gowns, that would (If I was lucky cover one boob). And wanted me to parade past 30 people to X-ray. First of all I could get undressed and second of all no way in HELL! I was wearing elastic pants so a kind X-ray tech said ignore her. WOW finally a kind person that saw a HUMAN in pain not a fat lady.

    Well I survived it! The humiliation, the fear on my sons face, God spared me one more time.

    Like I said, this was my birthday. Next year I was going to celebrate! Next year I weighed 247 instead of 396.

     to be continued..........