(T-G Photo by Becky McBee)
The cardiologist had just told me that I had a number of blocked arteries, and that it wouldn't be long and I would probably have to have open heart surgery. I knew that I really needed to lose weight, for my own health and for my family as well, so I started taking the necessary steps to do that.
I had friends that had gastric bypass surgery, and I really didn't want to do that. But the drastic measures they had taken to lose weight got me thinking seriously about my own weight loss.
So in June of 2009 I joined Weight Watchers and started attending the weekly meetings. There were three groups that met at different times during the week and I attended all three until I finally decided that the Thursday noon group was the right one for me.
I was beginning to learn the program, and began taking a serious look at the unhealthy ways that I was eating. It was becoming a real education for me that was long overdue.
But then in late August of 2009 I went to the emergency room after experiencing chest pain, and my cardiologist told me that I needed to have open heart surgery.
On August 26, 2009 I had quintuple bypass surgery at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville.
The surgeon told me then that I really needed to lose weight, and I told him that I had started going to Weight Watchers. I only wish I would have done it long ago.
The recovery was long and difficult because I developed an infection that was hard to treat, and I had to have my sternum removed.
Two things I continued to do when I could during that recovery period was preach at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist and go to the Weight Watchers meetings. I found great encouragement and support from both groups of people. In fact I was encouraged that a number of the members of my church were also members of Weight Watchers. So we were on this journey together.
On March 3 of this year, I was presented with a "Certificate of Accomplishment" from Weight Watchers for having lost 100 pounds. It was a long process, but so worthwhile. It took me more than a year and a half to get to this point, but it's been good. And I thank God for seeing me through all of this.
I feel better now than I have in years. I have been taken off of several medications. I no longer need to take insulin. I've been told my cholesterol and triglycerides are normal. I can cross my legs comfortably. I can bend over to tie my shoes, and I can sit comfortably in a seat on an airplane without spilling over into someone else's space.
I am so grateful for the help that my friends at Weight Watchers have given me. I have learned a healthy way of eating and living, and I find strength from the accountability I find attending the weekly meetings.
I know that I need to continue to attend the meetings and follow the program if I am going to keep the weight off. I don't want to regain any of the weight that I have worked so hard to lose
Weight Watchers is for men and women who are ready to take control of their lives and make the necessary changes to their way of eating and living. The program is not a diet but it teaches you a lifestyle worth living. I know that my life has been changed, and I want to encourage others to find a new way of life too.
Weekly meetings are held here in Shelbyville at Christ Lutheran Church on Mondays and Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Thursdays at noon.