Today is the debut of our new weekly series entitled “Healing”. This is Lisa Allen’s Weight Journey.
My name is Lisa Allen. I live in Lake Villa, IL, and have been a single mother for the past 16 years. I have two kids: my daughter is 17, and my son is 21. Just to let you know, I am a pastor’s kid too! My dad was a Methodist pastor. He passed away in 2015, due to a myriad of health issues such as diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure, and gout. I have struggled with my weight since as long as I can remember. If I had to think back, 9 years old is what comes to my mind. My parents were divorced when I was 9 years old. This was really painful since my dad was a pastor. They had been married 23 years. My mom, brothers, and me moved to a new town and started over. My oldest brother hated apartment living, so he moved back with my Dad. We had a two bedroom apartment, and my brother and I could not share a room, so I had to share my mom’s king size bed. It was awful not having my own room. This even went on in my middle and high school years. I watched my mom emotionally eat after her divorce, and gain 100 plus pounds, and so my brother and I picked up her poor eating habits. I was always trying to lose weight and very insecure. Another thing that was difficult is that I was bullied over my weight.
Fast forward to the time I got married, I had worked hard to lose weight for my wedding day. I gained a lot of weight with both pregnancies. Then after I had both of my kids, I struggled to lose the weight. My ex-husband made me feel bad about the weight I had gained. I did find out it was related to my thyroid. It did not matter. He still did not like that I had become overweight. He eventually cheated on me and asked me for a divorce. Then I repeated the cycle that my mom showed me. I emotionally ate with the stress of becoming a single mom. My daughter was 22 months old and my son was 5 when their dad left. I felt worthless.
I was so overwhelmed and so depressed. I just ate and ate, till one day I reached my all time high of 354 pounds. The weight on my knees was so horrible that it hurt to walk and get up off the couch. I felt so old and wondered if this was how I was going to live out my life. I had no energy, and was exhausted all the time. I was on high blood pressure and anti-depression medication. I prayed so hard. I begged God for a solution, so I could get the weight off, and get healthy for my kids and myself. My kids are also overweight. I just felt like I was a failure as a mom. I had started Weight Watchers and lost 10 pounds, but I still had no energy, and I felt so bad. I was up 4-5 times per night. Filled with exhaustion, I was falling asleep behind the wheel on the highway on my way to work . I needed something, but I just did not know the answer. I just kept praying.
One day, a friend of mine posted information on a weight transformation program. I liked her post. She reached out to me, and asked if I wanted to learn more about this health and wellness system she and her husband were using. I agreed to listen and learn more. I had tried so many things in my life and failed them all. I was not confident in myself. I kept thinking to myself, “If I tried something else, would I fail again?”
I listened to my friend, and then I understood how the system worked. I told her I was headed out of town to my father’s house in Wisconsin for our 4th of July family reunion. I needed to pray about this and get back to her after my trip. While I was at my dad’s home in Wisconsin, I prayed about it. What is so sad is that my dad would have lived so much longer had he taken care of his health. I miss him so very much, and just wished he had led a healthy life so he could still be here with me today.
I was so worried about failing again. I just asked God, if this program is right for me, then let me know, and I will trust in you and go ahead and do it. I woke up in the morning with this incredible peace that came over me. I knew I needed to move forward, and get my body healthy again. So I called my friend and told her yes, and I asked her what my next steps were for getting started. I began this journey on July 14, 2017, about 6 weeks before my BIG 50th birthday! I was headed to Vegas at the end of August to celebrate my birthday with a high school friend who had moved out there. I was feeling amazing just after 5 days of this system! I had energy again!! For the first time in my life, I felt really alive!
When it came time to leave for vacation, I packed a suitcase with all my healthy products! I did not want to blow this on vacation. On my past vacations, I ate poorly, and I would cheat, cheat, cheat! I was determined to stay on course. I even taught my friend and her daughter how to healthy food prep while I was there. We had a couple evenings where we did eat a meal out, but I kept it to moderation and made good choices. We went out on my birthday, and I even enjoyed two glasses of wine and a nice seafood dinner. All the other days, I stuck right to my program. I returned home from my vacation maintaining my weight. It was the first time in my whole life that I succeeded on a vacation! So I just kept going when I returned home.
When wintertime came, I think my body was hitting a plateau. I was not losing pounds, but I was still losing inches. So I just kept pressing on. In the past, I would have given up if the scale was not moving. I knew that the system was still working because the inches were still coming off!
At this point, I was taking high blood pressure, anti-depressants, and thyroid medications. My health insurance was awful. In January, I needed to refill my prescriptions, and I could not afford to go to the doctor. I went off of them cold turkey. I knew this could be dangerous, but I did not have a choice. I decided to start exercising in January with a friend. It began with three days a week, riding the bike for thirty minutes. I wanted to make the exercise into a habit, so I made the small goal of three times a week.
Once I made that a habit, then I would increase my goal. I was doing 3 x a week, 30 minutes in the evening after work. It was a struggle because I worked 10 hour days. After working out for two months, I decided to ask my friend if we could change our workout time to 5 am, before I started work. Honestly, I could not imagine working out this early, but I knew it was the best time to get the workout done! This now meant that three days a week I need to get up at 4:20 AM. I was really stretching myself!! So I started working out three times a week at 5 am! Then one day my friend could not work out with me. I panicked, and I had anxiety walking into the gym by myself. I knew I did not want to miss my workout, so I prayed. I asked God to give me the courage to walk through the doors by myself. I need to do this for myself! After all, it was up to me to succeed in my new lifestyle. So I walked in with my head held high, and went into the gym and did my workout. When I was riding the bike 🚲, I listened to “Overcomer” by Mandisa(Christian song). I felt God’s presence with me as I did that workout alone that morning. Little by little, my confidence in myself was coming back! Praise God! I would say I kept this three times a week going for 3-4 months, and then my body was asking me for more! Now my friend could only do the three days. So I started working out 5 days a week at 5 am,and two of the days were by myself! Again I was stretching myself! I listened to upbeat music and got those workouts done! This was a huge accomplishment for me! I know God was walking along side of me through this whole journey.
Meanwhile, the scale was still not moving, so I knew that being off my thyroid medication was most likely messing with my metabolism. I called Lake County Health Department and scheduled them to do blood work on me so I could get back on my medications. They took my blood pressure, and I was nervous because I had been off the medication 3-4 months cold turkey.
The whole time that I was off the medications, I just kept praying to God. I said to him, “God protect me while I am off these medications. Please protect me from any health complications over being off the high blood pressure medication. It would be devastating if I landed in the hospital with any complications being off these medications, because I don’t have good health insurance.” I said “God, I will continue doing my part with this great nutrition. I am using and continuing my exercise routine.” So I just kept saying,” God’s will, my effort! I will be healthy, and no health complications will come from being off these medications.” I was sitting in the doctor’s office, and the nurse said, “Wow, your blood pressure reading is really good”! I was so over the moon happy! I told her I was so concerned being off the medications, but I also told her that I had been on a health journey since last year, and I had lost 50 pounds and 69 inches! She said,” WOW, that is so awesome!! Keep that going, that is awesome!! The doctor came in and said, “Lisa we don’t have to put you back on the blood pressure medication anymore. Your healthy lifestyle is paying off.” I seriously did a happy dance in her office. She also asked me if it was safe to say that I didn’t need my antidepressant anymore. I said, “No I have felt great and happy”! So the only medication I have to take now is my thyroid. This was HUGE news for me!
The lesson here for the ladies is that it’s NOT all about the scale. There are so many victories over my one year journey! 50 pounds gone off my aching knees, and 69 inches lost. Getting off my blood pressure and antidepressants were HUGE victories!! So I continue with my journey of my healthy living. My goal this year is to lose 60 pounds by August 2019, which will give me a grand total of 100 pounds lost! Then, I can cross the stage at the company’s Celebration Convention, and enter into their 100 pound club!
It’s a HUGE goal which I know I will do!! God’s will, my effort! I am a work in progress. I remind myself to love myself right where I am! God made me in HIS image! I am beautifully and wonderfully made! I pray that God will use me to help others who might me in a dark place praying for a solution to get themselves healthy. I hope and pray I could inspire someone else to make the decision to get healthy, and live in the body God intended you to live in! I thank God everyday for this journey! It is never too late to re-write your story! I am living proof at 50 years old. I made a decision to get healthy! God is so good! He answered my prayer! My journey is still going and I now have the confidence and belief in myself to see this through! I am so blessed and grateful!
Praise God for Lisa’s story! Every week we will feature a new story, a new woman who overcame struggles, and exemplified God’s faithfulness. If you would like to share your story, please email us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a blessed weekend!