My name is Cathy Valliere-Hennes. I am using my Internet presence to show the world that ANYONE can be active and fit and healthy. AND, on top of it all, enjoy yourself in the process! The Web site will show everyone my writing portfolio (ePortfolio) that showcases my writing and training capabilities over the past two decades. At the same time, I am using the blog area to write about my experiences with my weight loss journey. I call this My Personal Journey-Weight Loss Edition. Finally, I have used my creative skills to design recipe cards, note cards, and other items that are now for sale. Take a look and order some! You won’t be disappointed!
Back in October, I wrote a letter and sent a packet to Mrs. Obama about my story. I wanted her to see that not only do food choices help in keeping our children healthy, activity is also important. The below is the letter I sent (edited to not include the images)…
At my heaviest weight, I was 386 lbs. I was wearing a size 6XL dress. Not my happiest moment. I have always been heavy, going back to grade school. I was always happy, but never dated through high school. The guys I went to high school with just did not want someone to date who was as heavy as I was. When I graduated high school in 1989, I weighed in at 278 lbs (have copies of my medical file as proof).
All through college and my adult years, I continued to gain weight until I reached this weight weight. I hardly ever had pictures taken of me. Oh, I have them, but few and far between. I was working full time, had a family, and activities. But, something was missing. I always wore my wedding ring until one day; I realized my finger had swollen up so much that I couldn’t get the ring off. In fact, it took me three days to take the ring off.
October 3, 2012, a wonderful friend of mine at my job asked me if I wanted to join the At Work program for Weight Watchers. They needed 15 people to start the group. A leader from Weight Watchers would come to the office every Thursday at lunch to meet with us, give us some learning on nutrition, and have an official weigh in. I thought to myself, how the heck am I supposed to do this? I work full time. I just started back to college for my Master’s Degree (M.Ed. in Adult Learning, earned 8/14). My husband, daughter, and I all had activities. How was I REALLY supposed to do this? But, I decided, it was during lunch during the work week. What the Hell?!!! So, I started.
The next day, October 4, 2012, was the turning point in my life. I started on a path that I will never regret. I never told my doctor. I figured I was just learning how to eat better. I wasn’t cutting anything out, but learning portion control. Portion Control. That’s an important phrase.
Within the first two months, I had lost over 18 lbs. I made an appointment to see my doctor after my first semester of school. At the time, I was also on blood pressure medication. The day I went in, I was shaking so badly because I took him my weight tracker (I still have ALL of them!). My blood pressure that day? 140/??? Even with such a high blood pressure because I was SO excited at what I was doing, he discontinued my blood pressure medication. He was very proud of what I was doing to change my life and applauded me. Go for it!
Also, during that semester at school, Cleveland State University converted many of their parking lots, so parking was at a premium, and I had to walk a number of blocks to class. Four nights a week, I was walking 3-4 blocks each way to class. And I was enjoying that little bit of walking. I realized I liked the activity. Gave me an opportunity to unwind from the day at work. During my Tuesday/Thursday class, I was on a third floor classroom. I knew at that time, my legs weren’t strong enough for me to walk UP those stairs, but I could certainly walk down. And that I added to my waling. I walked to class from the parking lot, and walked down and back to my car after class.
Then, next semester and until I just graduated, all of my classes were on the Web. I lost my activity. But, where I work, my company has a gym that I joined. The cost was minimal. Who wouldn’t join? And I did.
By March, 2013, I had lost over 50 lbs, with the bulk of it coming from food choices and portion control. There’s that phrase again: Portion Control. And then I was introduced to FitBit. One of my closest friends gave me my first one. And, I’ve been with it ever since. I have competed against others in healthy competitions for steps. I have completed against myself to do better EVERY day.
In my first year of having FitBit, here are the stats, taken from my Facebook page:
5,295,327.33 steps have been taken in my first year of working with my FitBit. During that time, I lost 80.5 lbs.
Since taking a serious look at my ability to motivate others, I started, first with my personal Facebook page, then started a fan page to chronicle my weight loss journey:
I talk about everything from posting recipes that I use to posting how many steps I walk, exercise/activity I am completing. I post pictures of things like walking in the local malls. How many steps/miles does it take to complete a lap at the mall? You can find activity about anywhere.
This week alone, I have completed the equivalent of 3 10K’s (6.2 miles) all on the treadmill in my work’s gym. Understanding that not everyone can afford a gym membership, there is always SOMEPLACE where a person can walk or get activity.
Why do I bring this all to you? I believe in the importance of not only eating the correct foods and Portion Control, but also getting enough activity to make everything worthwhile.
During my Master’s Degree program in Adult Learning, I completed classes in Education Technology. In one class we had to build a brochure and a presentation using specific Microsoft Office Tools. My subject? Using Music to Motivate Movement. While I have been losing all of this weight, my iPhone is always with me. Again, the cost factor is always there with a smart phone, but so many people have some sort of MP3 player. Get your music involved. I listen to 70’s and 80’s dance music. The faster the music, the faster I move. I would love the opportunity to expand my homework assignments into full-fledged seminars.
How can you help me? Anyway I can help you promote your efforts also promotes my suggestions.
And, should you take a look at my Facebook pages and posts, you will see the number of comments from friends, family, and others who have friended me through Facebook who look to me for motivation. At the same time, I read my friends’ pages and get the same inspiration to keep doing what I am doing.
As of today (this was in October), I am at 221 lbs, just 1 pound away from 40% lost when I started Weight Watchers on October 4, 2012. AND, I am currently 58 lbs LIGHTER than I was when I graduated high school in 1989.