From Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul

Finally, Success—A New Me!

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.


No one except my doctor really knew how much I weighed. Every time I had to renew my driver’s license and was asked if anything had changed, I said “No” and wondered if I could go to jail for lying to the secretary of state. Now, for the first time since I was about thirty, I’m legal.

I used to claim my excess weight was postpregnancy weight, but since I’m now sixty-one with sons thirty-five and thirty-six and actually gained only twelve pounds with each pregnancy, it seems a bit ridiculous.

I’ve gone to Weight Watchers, TOPS and other weight-loss groups. I succumbed to everymagazine at the checkout counters that promised to share the secret of losing weight. I used incentives, like “the class reunion is coming up, I need to lose forty pounds in two weeks.”

Having been in the healthcare field, I knew how to eat properly and be healthy. I knew all the dangers of being overweight. But only when the scare of things that “could” go wrong actually became a reality did I wake up and smell the Columbian brew.

Each time I had a physical and passed (and I’m an overachiever, so I’m used to passing tests), I said a prayer of thanks and promised God I would give him a hand and help out in the being healthy department. I guess he got tired of listening to that tune because one day he threw me a real curveball.

My blood sugar was a little elevated, so my doctor ordered a glucose tolerance test. I’ll be darned if I didn’t flunk a test! She said, “Well, you didn’t stop at pre-diabetes —you’re diabetic.” The date was November 15, 2004.

I went home totally scared to death, angry and positive that any good quality of my life was indeed over. I read the booklets my doctor had given me, went to the pharmacy and purchased the little blood test meter. My husband took me out to dinner, where I ate like Miss Piggy on the way to the bacon factory.

I began counting carbs and testing the next day. Maybe because I hate math, I hate to count anything—calories, carbs, fat grams—losing ten pounds seemed like such a huge task. But I was determined. Not determined halfway, like before when I’d lose five pounds and gain them right back, but really determined.

Even before my consultation with the dietician at the diabetes clinic, I’d lost seven pounds. By the first of the year, I’d lost seventeen pounds—OVER THE HOLIDAYS! My blood sugar dropped immediately with the slightest weight loss.

When I realized counting carbs was easier than I thought, it became a way of life. I knew what I could eat. I ate three meals a day with three small snacks in between if I wanted, which usually I didn’t. I expected the dietician to give me a whole list of foods I could never eat again. He didn’t. It was all about portion control. What a concept! Of course, I already knew that half a box of spaghetti wasn’t really a serving. But, come on, two ounces of pasta! Show me someone content with that and I’ll show you a fuzzy little rodent in a cage with an exercise wheel. But, guess what? I am content with that.

I enjoy my food now more than ever because I’m busy tasting and enjoying it and not just shoveling it in. When asked my secret, I say, “I’m eating for one, not for Sandi and a third world country.”

I was still fat on my sixtieth birthday. The number stuck in my throat. I couldn’t even say it. Now, as I approach sixty-two this summer, I can say it with ease because I don’t look or feel my age. As I listen to talk of diets and weight struggles, I’m amazed at how truly easy it ultimately was.

So, that’s the end of my story, my fat story that is. This is the beginning of the NEW me story and my new healthy life. I wear a size 6 jeans—real zip-up jeans now, not elastic-waist-fat-girl jeans. I work out at the health club three times a week (I started out at five to six times a week). I walk two miles and work out on the weight machines. I go to yoga classes. I eat what I want to— portion control. I’ve lost sixty pounds and feel twenty years younger. I have unlimited energy, and most important, my blood sugar is totally normal even when I go a little higher on the carbs once in a while.

I am healthy, energetic and happy. My doctor has changed my diagnosis, and she smiled when I said, “At my age, I want to be healthy and feel good. Looking good is the bonus.”

Sandra L. Tatara

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