Monday, October 8, 2012

What Changed Me. // Joelle L.

I have always struggled with weight. I have yo-yo'd from the time I was 12 years old until the age of 25 that I am now. My self esteem has also done the same with each different time period in my life. I think what set my life into a spin was losing my Grandma at the age of 59, due to a very unexpected stroke. I lost it and ate and ate and ate. Fast forward to high school and 2 years into a relationship with my first boyfriend, I became comfortable and started packing on more pounds. We broke up and I was going to be heading to college so I decided I wanted to start it out on the right foot and got moving. On the treadmill, school weights, school sports, etc. I felt so good....and then came the Freshman 15(more like 25) and a new boyfriend(who is now my husband). All in all, I gained about 30 pounds.

In January of 2010, tragedy struck our family again when we lost my 46 yr old uncle to a heart attack. That is when doctors began to seriously monitor the rest of my dad's family, who all have/had heart related conditions. I never thought I would have to deal with anything like that, at least right now anyways. My wedding was set to be in October, so life and planning had to go on and then another unexpected event took place. I got pregnant. I was in NO shape to be pregnant. I was at my heaviest weight to that date and I could tell that my parents were scared for me. I made it until about 4 months in and started having blood pressure issues that the doctor monitored. At 5.5 months along I fell and sprained my ankle while we were moving and apparently developed a clot in my leg. I say apparently because when I entered the hospital after feeling extremely sick and exhausted, my pulse was at 130 bpm. They had a very hard time figuring out whose pulse was whose. After every test in the book, it was diagnosed as a Pulmonary Embolism. Holy Crap. I did not realize the extent of this until after I got home and looked it up.(I don't think my doctor wanted to stress me out anymore than I already was, for fear that it would harm me and the baby). I could have died and moreover, my unborn little girl could have died. I also developed gestational diabetes so the next 2.5 months were spent injecting myself 8 times a day with insulin and blood thinners. I went into labor so many times that I lost track, and finally at 36 weeks, by Csection, I had my little baby girl safe and sound,after a very very scary delivery because I had gone into labor on my own and was not off blood thinners yet. The doctors worked their magic though!

So...moral of the story is that because of my overall unhealthy state, I could have died twice. My baby could have died once. I did not like this. But it wasn't until April of this year, when my dad's other brother, 55, died of a heart attack. That's 3 family members, dying extremely young. My dad has been having issues too. I was put on Blood Pressure meds shortly after having my daughter, and have needed them daily since. I knew that day, that that was not going to be my same fate. I would not leave my daughter without her mother, if I had any say in the matter. I was not going to subject myself to the higher possibility of getting Diabetes. This is just not an option to me, if I can help it.

In April, my mom and I decided we would bite the bullet and do a 5K at the end of the summer. We started the C25K program, and after a few health issues and breaks, we were able to slowly build our endurance. As an added bonus, the weight started to come off. In July we both hit the 3.14 mile mark. We could run this distance without stopping. I could not believe it. The farthest that I have ever run without stopping is 1 mile, and that was my freshman year of high school. To strenghten my legs and to make sure to keep toned(I don't want the flabby skin after losing a bunch!!), I started lifting weights at the Wellness Center in my town. It has only added to my endurance and ableness to keep going.

I try to go running at least 4 times a week. This all depends on my husbands schedule(he is a police officer and works so many strange hours and shifts). Now and then I have to take a little time out for my daughter and the house, but that 1.5 hours that I get to myself is better than any money spent at therapy. I have time to think. Not like a mother, wife, daycare provider, etc. I get to think like an athlete. To date, I have lost 22 lbs. Those are the hardest 22 lbs that I have ever worked for in my life. I look forward to the ones that I know are to come! We are now in the process of lowering my dose of BP meds, with the ultimate goal of getting off of them altogether. Try to be proactive in your health. Don't sit back and wait for something to happen to you. Take steps to ensure that nothing does. You won't be sorry that you did.
5 lbs down.
15 lbs down.
22 lbs down.
You can follow my journey to a healthier me with my own blog at Journey Back to Half of Me.


  1. This is such a good post because it brings awareness back to what really matters... our health! Of course we all get caught up in how we look, and yes that's important too, but it we don't have our health, we truly don't have anything. I'm sorry for what your family has gone through but am proud of you for taking the steps to better your health!

  2. What I loved most bout this post was the fact that you never once mentioned looks. For you, the change wasn't about looks or some "I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw" moment. At the end of the day it's about your health. It's about being there for your baby girl and your husband. Congratulations on making the change, you are well on your way to a better you!

  3. Great post:) Staying is healthy is key and thank you for posting this inspiring story. Great read.

  4. I too, have experienced significant loss in my immediate family, and it has a huge affect on emotions, health and all kinds of stability. I have finally realized that unless I want to have my own "heart related" issues, I'd better get my ass in gear. Glad you are there too. Hugs. My blog is at if you want to read. =)

  5. Holy crap Joelle, we are the SAME person. Only I don't have a child. I am (almost) 25, married, overweight. I, too, have had lots of tragedy in my life, some caused by the person's weight. I have also lost 22 pounds! I am inspired too by my family. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. I have many shallow reasons for wanting to lose, but at the top of the list is my health!! I want to be a healthy mom! I don't want to burden my children or husband with a mom/wife that has health issues that could have been avoided. Good luck to us all!!


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