What made you decide to come to the Rice Diet Program?
I began to see the potential health implications that my excess weight could cause... implications that I knew I didn't want to deal with later. I decided that I needed to do something now, and that I needed to get away from my home environment. Making my health a priority was the only way that I knew how to achieve the goals that I had set for myself.
What changes happened while you were at the Rice House?
I am fortunate that I did not have any health complications to overcome, yet. My body, however, went through a lot of physical changes in a short period of time. In three months, I lost 69 pounds. Most importantly, I changed as a person. You can't go through something like this without learning a lot about yourself. It was difficult... there were times that I felt lonely, and I missed my life at home. That time away was crucial, though. I became stronger and more confident. Once you achieve something so big, you have a lot more inner strength and peace.
Have you been to the program more than once?
Yes! I never want to forget what I learned here and what I accomplished. I never want to forget what I went through to achieve the success that I have.
Which classes did you find most helpful at the Rice House?
I always enjoy Dr. Neelon's classes. The most important class for me, though, was the nutrition class where we counted all of the calories that we would eat in a day. That day was monumental for me. I was so blown away by how many calories and how much sodium is in the foods that I was eating every day. I am now so consciously aware of every single thing that I put into my mouth. If it comes in a package, I read each label and look at the ingredients. I don't put anything in my mouth unless I know what is in it.
What do you do for physical activity?
When I was at the Rice Diet Program, I exercised all day long. I walked the trail, walked the wall, did water aerobics... I even worked with a personal trainer at the Duke Sports Performance Center. At home, I now exercise two hours a day. I walk four days a week, I do aerobics classes, and I work with a personal trainer.
I have found that working with a personal trainer holds me accountable, as I am motivated by other people's expectations of me. If my trainer pushes me and thinks that I can do something, I don't want to let him down and I push through. It has helped me immensely to stay on track.
What helps you remain focused at home?
People ask me all the time, how did you do it? My only answer is: "A lot of exercise and a little bit of food." There are no magic tricks. This takes hard work and dedication, and it will not happen overnight.
You have to give up the things that damage your health, and I have quit drinking. The calories that I consume from alcohol are just extra calories that keep me from being mindful of other foods that I put into my mouth. I am also proud of myself for the success that I have had so far. I have worked so hard in the last eight months to lose 100 lbs, and I don't want to do anything that would jeopardize that success.
What has been your biggest challenge in trying to live a healthier lifestyle?
Other people! I live with family members that are not exactly following the Rice Diet Program at home, and I find it very difficult when they bring food into the house. My friends are supportive of my weight loss efforts, but they forget how hard I have worked and take that for granted. I have to remind them that this is still a battle that I am fighting every day.
Is there anything else you want to share?
When I first came to the Rice Diet Program, I was very successful at my job. I was very talented and well respected. It was in that job that I found my own personal identity. For the first time, I have found a confidence in myself. I have my own personal value, and my job is no longer my identity.