My Story: “In Weight Loss, Everyone Has An Opinion”
Like many of us, Diona was having a hard time losing weight. And even when she did start to see some come off it would never stay off. That is, until she decided to make a real change. BlackDoctor.org recently sat down with her to get the details of how she lost over 100lbs.
BDO: Was there a defining moment that made you want to get healthy and lose weight?
Diona: I was always morbidly obese. I graduated high school weighing 250 pounds. I finished my undergraduate studies weighing almost 300 pounds. By the time I finished graduate school, I was over 360 pounds. In 2009, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After successful treatment, that involved chemotherapy and radiation, I experienced severe, unexplained swelling. Eventually, it was determined that scar tissue developed around my port and resulted in an occluded artery.
After seeing vascular specialists, the conclusion was surgery would not correct, and may even worsen, my condition. It was recommended that I exercise to promote circulation. So, I started going to the gym doing light cardio and sitting in the sauna. Frustrated, because I really didn’t know what else to do, I hired a personal trainer. He changed my life! While working with him, I learned how to exercise, the benefits of fresh air, the value of certain vitamins and supplements, the dangers of processed foods, and why I should avoid certain food groups altogether and embrace eating organic.
BDO: What was the biggest obstacle in losing weight?
Diona: The biggest obstacle in losing weight is accepting that the changes I made to lose weight are changes I must maintain in order to sustain the weight lost. Throughout my weight loss journey, my weight has fluctuated. Once I start to feel good and look good, I think a few process foods, a couple of dinners from my favorite fast food restaurant, and adding sweets back into my diet are okay as long as I continue to exercise. Well, as my trainer has told me, time and time again, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” While I have never gained all of the weight back, I am definitely heavier, regardless of how much I workout, when I don’t eat “clean”.
BDO: How much weight did you lose and are you at your goal weight?
Diona: My highest recorded weight was 368 pounds, my lowest recorded weight was 206 pounds, and I am currently 220 pounds. Ideally, I would like to weigh 185 pounds.
BDO: How did your relationships change with your friends and family when you lost weight?
Diona: I would recommended that anyone who loses a significant amount of weight see a therapist. The way relationships change seems unreal: Friends who are not interested in this lifestyle stopped inviting me places. Co-workers who never said acknowledged me before…