Meet Brenda, who has lost 149 pounds at the Y through the 100 Mile Swim Club and Overeaters Anonymous!
"I began overeating at about 10 years old after my beloved grandmother died. Because a family member was abusive and my grandma loved me unconditionally, her loss was devastating. After her funeral I remember everyone eating and laughing. All I wanted to do was cry. I learned to stuff my feelings down, which lasted for 50.
"By age 13 I was 210 pounds, so I started my first weight loss attempt. Throughout the years I have lost and gained over 600 pounds, but I am now keeping it off and the Farmington Valley YMCA is a big part of that! I have lost 149 pounds here, and would like to lose at least 21 more!
"In 2012 I started my final push for weight loss. I was at the “end of my rope.” I started exercising, eating a well-balanced diet and recording my food intake. I also started counseling and even attended a day-stay eating disorder clinic. I found that there are many eating disorders, and they all have to do with numbing your feelings!
"Because I have a bad hip, I didn’t know what exercise I could actually do. I always enjoyed swimming and found I could move my legs in the deep end of a pool. After three months I achieved my first mile-swim! In 2013 I had my hip replaced and started swimming even faster. In 2015 I joined the Farmington Valley YMCA and the 100 Mile Swim Club. I achieved 100+ miles in 2016 and 2017, and I’m working on my next 100+ now for 2018. I also attend Water Zumba and Water X classes! This gives me incentive to eat correctly, because I don’t want to ruin the hard work I do exercising.
"Last fall, after being plateaued for a while, I joined Overeaters Anonymous. I wasn’t getting to my goal and I wanted to be DONE with weight loss and finally at maintenance. In this class I realized that I AM a compulsive eater, and that I can control myself, but only for a limited time. I call OA my “missing link” because I’ve done almost every diet plan over the years. For years I hated myself, then over-ate and hated myself even more! It’s a vicious cycle of self-abuse. I didn’t realize I was doing this until a good friend asked me WHY I was punishing myself with food. That was quite a revelation.
"OA is a 12-step program that teaches my Higher Power will assist me to abstain from this behavior. This has been a wonderful help and now I know that I CAN get to my goal and stay there for LIFE, and that I NEVER have to compulsively overeat again!
"Now I’m mindful of what I’m feeling, instead of shoving those feelings down with food! I am living a happy, healthy life, enjoying my husband, children, grandchildren and wonderful friends! I no longer have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol problems. I am a healthy, thankful person!!"