I don’t know about you but I am inspired by people around me. I just love reading or listening to people’s stories about how they dealt with certain setbacks in their life or how they are overcoming a major crisis in their daily life. I met a lovely lady, Delores Curtis, who at her heaviest, weighed over 350 pounds. I found her story so inspirational and motivational for people who are trying and struggling to lose weight that I decided to choose her as the inspirational person of the month and publish an article about her Inspirational weight loss journey. She opened up her heart to us and accepted with a lot of enthusiasm to share her weight loss journey with us.
Delores Curtis : “At my heaviest, I weighed over 350 pounds. Not sure how much over, I just stop getting on the scale. I repeatedly gained and lost weight over the years, I experimented with weight loss programs and within six months to a year of starting a diet, I returned to my bad eating habits and gained the weight back plus more. I ate myself in disrepair, size 5XL men’s T-shirts and 30-32 blouses, and 28-32 pants, my overall health wasn’t good either. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, acid reflux, high blood pressure and needed a daily water pill. I knew I needed to make a change. I was a highly successful ‘professional’ yo-yo dieter, but unsuccessful in maintaining the loss long-term.
The Turning Point: I know you think the turning point would have been all that medicine I was required to take to live a functional life. Well, no, like I said I kept right on eating – my eating habits stayed the same. Nothing Changed.
It took a few life altering things to get me motivated. (Okay, maybe more than a few things).
1) I realized that my weight had stopped me from living; on a business flight to Dallas and the seat belt wouldn’t fit around me, I wanted to cry. And I didn’t explore the city with my husband or tour the new Dallas stadium because I was limited in how far I could walk before losing all energy.
2) Being a part of a family photo where I seemed to take up most of the photo.
3) I had no lap, was easily winded walking up a flight of stairs – a huge problem for a realtor (no pun intended)
4) A realization of how much money I wasted paying membership dues to a gym I hadn’t stepped in in two years. Talk about money down the drain – yikes!
For starters, I wanted to get off all the medications, I decided I wasn’t going to let all the health aliments associated with obesity define who I was; and I took control of my health and my fitness, and made wellness, eating healthy an everyday part of my life.
How I Lost It: July 2013, I recounted every failed weight loss attempt to see where I went wrong in maintaining the loss long-term. I realized the problem was, I never found a regimen that really worked for me and my lifestyle.
The initial start was to remove sugar from my diet, stop late-night eating and start using the gym membership that I had been paying for for two years. I knew I had to do something different this time. I had to find a way to make it work long-term. I knew giving up too much and feeling deprived wasn’t going to work this time. I read the labels on everything to be a lot more careful about knowing what I’m eating.
I looked at every diet plan I’d ever been on and came up with a lifestyle plan that would that fit my daily routine and give me long-term results. Because at the end of every diet, you’ve got to get back to real life. …It’s a matter of making gradual, sustainable changes for life.
Once I lost the 20 pounds I started going to the gym 5-6 days a week. I was under the impression that you should stay away from the boring, ineffective cardio exercise and treadmill workouts- I’m here to tell you, not true, I lost the first 100 pounds on the darn treadmill. PERIOD!
Dealing with Major Setback: Everything was going along just fine; losing weight at a good clip and working out daily. I felt amazing. I had lost 181lbs in 18 months, Diabetes is gone – and so are the pills. I was down to 169lbs. I only had another 25-35lbs to lose and the next chapter was on to excess skin removal surgery. I was excited.
But a simple headache just didn’t feel right. July 2015, I was completely DERAILED by “A Simple Headache” that just didn’t feel right. I’d begun to notice a list of changes; difficulty in initiating movement, weight loss plateau, difficulty in falling asleep, no desire or energy to work out and muscular weakness.
I was diagnosed with “Brain Tumor” a “Meningioma”, and, so the stage was set. I was stopped dead in my tracks “no pun intended” I was completely side-tracked! One of the things that has been difficult is deciding who to tell what, and how. It isn’t something you can just drop into conversation. After braking the news to family and friends, I then posted on Facebook and my other social media pages. The response was amazing, family, friends and people around the world came together in prayer. I’m am forever grateful. Prayer changes things. You can make it past whatever you are going through Amen!
From July – November all my energy was focused on the brain tumor. The compilations kept me down for months on end. No gym, no driving…nothing but pain. I kept thinking: I worked too hard to lose ground now. I was 25-35lbs away from my goal and on to excess skin removal surgery.
Immediately I remembered when I first started my journey and how overwhelmed I felt over the amount of weight I needed to lose – and I didn’t want all my handwork to go down the drain. Most of all, I knew where I had been, and I knew I didn’t want to ever go back.
I knew I had gained weight and it felt like 20-25lbs plus gain. I was close with my estimation, 26lbs weight gain. My clothes felt a little tight and my body felt heavy. I’m not sure if it was all medications and not drinking enough water. I wasn’t surprised, but it just made me more determined to get back on track.
I had successful Gamma Knife Surgery – Early Detection, tumor size and location played a major role in the type of treatment. I had successful Gamma Knife Surgery in October and I’m completely off headache medicine. I can fully return to going to the gym and move on with my Weight Loss Journey. I said all that to say sometimes we get sidetracked; Get back up! And let’s try it again!
If I were to sum it all up, it really is all about finding what works for you – one plan is not going to work for everyone. The journey is so much more than losing weight.”
What an inspirational journey! I just could not let her go without asking her a few questions:
Eva Arissani: What inspired you?
Delores Curtis: Tipping the scale over 350lbs, I realized that my weight gain had stopped me from living a productive and rewarding life!
No one wants to hear they have diabetes. No one wants to reach into their closet only to find nothing they own will fit. And trust me, NO ONE wants to travel with their loved ones and have to worry about being able to comfortably fit the seats, or have the endurance to enjoy vacation activities. I’d reached a point where my health ailments ruled and all but consumed my life – I was stressed! The most disturbing part, the majority of my complications were a direct result of my struggle with obesity. To name a few of these complications; I suffered with type 2 diabetes, a highly diminished quality of life, acid reflux, high blood pressure, swollen feet, lethargy, and let’s not forget about the daily aches/pains that made getting through each day a challenge.
Eva Arissani: What kept you motivated?
Delores Curtis: I decided I wasn’t going to let all the health ailments associated with obesity define who I was! I took control of my health and my fitness, making all-encompassing wellness an everyday part of my life. I found that for me, researching foods that would fuel my body and creating a realistic and consistent gym schedule were the keys to my success.
For example, in terms of nutrition – one should think in terms of “portion control” instead of the typical and popular “diet”. This allows for more realistic goals as increase success in long term maintenance.
The key is not deprivation; but rather, finding what works for you – your lifestyle – to maximize your results.
Eva Arissani : What are you now trying to achieve?
Delores Curtis: I am still working hard to maintain my weight. I encountered a major setback in my routine when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. During my recovery, I could feel my 26 pound weight gain and immediately noticed the change in the quality of my days. My clothes felt a little tight and my body felt heavy and sluggish – I also did not have the mental clarity I once had when I was fully healthy. I wasn’t surprised, considering the medications and decrease in activity; however, it was the ultimate motivation for me to get back on track and continue my journey.
Eva Arissani : Who was/is on your side during this journey?
Delores Curtis: I’ve had an amazing group of supporters; my husband, my children, extended family members, dear friends and all the awesome supporters I met on social media. We all hold each other accountable, give the much needed encouragement when needed and we know that we are doing to this together!
Eva Arissani : What methods are using now to lose your weight?
Delores Curtis: At this point, I focus mainly on portion control, avoiding added sugars and overly processed foods. As much as possible, I try avoid processed and pre-packaged foods, however in some cases, it can’t be avoided, and we know moderation is the key. I read the labels on everything so that I am fully aware of what I am putting in my body – allowing me to make healthier choices consistently.
I analyzed every diet plan I’d previously attempted and threw them out the window! Instead, I came up with a lifestyle plan that would that fit my daily routine, my life and give me long-term results that could realistically be maintained.
Eva Arissani: What is your advice for people trying to lose weight and who are struggling?
Delores Curtis : I found the key to success was changing your mentality and embracing change as a new lifestyle – a long term commitment to health and not a short term commitment to fickle results. You have to find a way to make your eating and exercise habits work for you personally – there is no one size fits all plan. Keep in mind at the end of every “diet” you will have to return to real life and, unfortunately, typically back to old habits. It’s a matter of making gradual, sustainable changes that can be maintained for life!
Thank you Delores for sharing this personal and truly inspirational story with us. If you want to follow Delores Curtis weight loss journey, you can follow her on the following social media:
I hope you enjoyed reading this story. Don’t hesitate to like it, post comments or share your story. Let’s inspire more people who have embarked in the same journey. Health is part of our personal development. Are there any habits you need to change? Remember that you can achieve ANYTHING as long as you apply yourself to it. With faith, action and determination, nothing is impossible.
Eva Arissani, Published Author of New Moi New Life: Five ways to build a new you and live an extraordinary life (available on Amazon.com), Inspirational/Motivational Speaker, Facilitator, Blogger