While some weight loss is intentional, that certainly isn’t always the case. Typical weight loss is ego based, lending to specific action and intention, we want to look better, so we do these things to accomplish that. But when weight loss is medically based; it’s an entirely different ballgame. I have a girlfriend who I recently found out has Celiac Disease, which prevents her from consuming gluten. The forced dietary change based on this medical necessity made weight loss just a happy byproduct. Obviously her main priority was her health and feeling good throughout the day. The flip side of that coin is when a medical condition causes a person to gain weight; and the adjustments one needs to make to mitigate those forced circumstances. When Nancy found herself in that situation, she didn’t just succumb and give in to her condition, she fought back and not only conquered it but also the things that were (literally) weighing her down.
Meet my beautiful friend Nancy Ng . Funny how Nancy became a friend to me just late last year, yet it feels like a friend I’ll have for the rest of my life. Nancy is one of those friends that I can have dinner with, and before I know it hours and hours have passed. Not only is a Nancy a beautiful girl, she’s a kind and generous soul. She is a fearless person who seems to keep striving, learning and challenging herself. Just recently Nancy became a published author. She’s certainly taking the world by storm and conquering it one mountain at a time…Nancy’s weight loss is a little less intentional, not so conventional but nonetheless successful. Nancy went from a size 10 to a size 2. Unfortunately Nancy got rid of all of her old before pictures (burnt them I believe!). But knowing Nancy now, and how tiny she is, I cannot even begin to fathom her as a size 10 (I imagine seeing her image in one of those funhouse distorted mirrors and it just seems ludacris!)
STARTING POINT: Nancy grew up in Venezuela and initially assumed her weight gain to be a product of the delicious deep fried culinary culture. She found however that her weight issues stemmed much deeper once she immigrated to Canada. Nancy endured a lot of stress caused by her family situation at the time which took it’s toll on her body, “I have to say that food is just part of my weight gain when I was young. A huge part of my weight gain is psychological. There were a lot of problems at home, and it threw my thyroid out of wack because of it. I was young and didn’t know how to handle all this stress, so, I ate.” The stress of Nancy’s family, her affected thyroid and her coping mechanisms brought her to a bad place emotionally and physically.
THE BREAKING POINT: Nancy unintentionally fell into a weight loss plan when she was working on her graduate studies in Ottawa, “It was a stressful time during my graduate studies in 1999. My stomach was taking in a lot of the stress from the pressure, so it wasn’t working properly. I was staying with my sister and her family in Ottawa at the time I was going to school there.”
Nancy’s stomach issues made her reassess her dietary habits and activity levels; “In response to my stomach problems, I changed my meals to include more vegetables in it, even though I still love my carbs and protein. Equally important, I would often be home before everybody else, so, I would take their dog Chewy (may he rest in peace) for walks. Every time he heard me opening and closing the closet door, he knew we were going for a walk and he was SOOO excited. And walk we did. After a few months, I noticed my clothes were much looser, but never really connected to eating better and walking Chewy. It’s been 13 years now, and I’ve kept the weight off since.”
STAYING ON TRACK: Nancy engaged in a more conscious healthful and active lifestyle, “In the last 13 years, I developed a love for rock climbing and sport climbing and hiking/climbing mountains, AND including more vegetables in my meals. Also, whenever there were plans to climb a mountain in some far-away-corner of the world, I would start physically and mentally training one year ahead of time. Training involved sprinting up the stairs in the river valley, yoga, indoor rock climbing, and running. For once in my life, I feel a love for exercising and working out, whereas before, it was an obligation or a burden. I actually feel 500% better when I have a routine involving exercise. But I noticed I am not a gym person. I find it so boring. I feel whole…I feel all the stars are aligned….when the rock and I are one.”
SUSTAINABILITY: Since her active lifestyle became second nature to her, Nancy hasn’t found a severe adjustment in adapting to life lasting goals; “I don’t have labels on my tupperwear containers or a food scale in my kitchen. I just make sure I have a balanced meal, AND I can have anything I want (Miss Vickies chips or red velvet cupcakes) once or twice a week. I make sure my meals have an equal portion of veges, meat, and carbs. I don’t deprive or punish myself. Everything has to be in moderation. But come Christmas time….watch out!”
GREATEST SUCCESS: Nancy’s greatest successes so far have to be her amazing mountain climbs including Mount Everest Basecamp, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua (to name a few). She’s travelled, witnessed and been imprinted by these amazing once in a lifetime experiences. She describes her love for climbing; “I actually love it! I’m not doing it because of health problems, for a competition, or because there are a lot of men in the sport (well, that helps). I think it was very unexpected that I found a love for climbing. I was never good at any sports when I was younger, and didn’t think I would find it as an adult. But I did. Climbing has been my greatest success. The more I climb or sprint or run, the more appreciation I have for my body, my health, and for myself.”
Thanks for your story Nancy; you’re another inspiration to me!
Everyone has a story.
I’d like to learn mine. What I most want is to simply find myself; and get good at being me. I want to find my motivation, my commitment and my will to take a stand for myself and not waiver. I want to discover for myself what feels good, right and healthful. I want to learn me inside out. What fuels me, what energizes me, what inspires me. I want to learn what I need to do for myself. It’s difficult to start cold though, so I turned to my friends for a little guidance and some insight into how they found themselves. I approached my gurus and healthful trailblazers with questions stemming from my own challenges in fighting the chub, and they responded perfectly. Thanks girls, I appreciate your openness and could never thank you enough!! Thanks so much for letting this monkey see what she can do….