How to drop 100 pounds—in 2 years

My daughter-in-law wanted to be a role model for her kids. So she went out and lost 100 pounds.

It didn’t occur overnight, but gradually over time—like two years. Today, she’s a new person after losing the weight equivalent to another woman, feels a lot healthier by her actions, and relishes an added bonus.

She can keep up with her two active children when it comes to soccer, dance classes, school activities, and anything else that requires energy.

I remember the day 12 years ago when she was introduced to us by our son, a suave cross country runner without an ounce of body fat. They were opposites all right, in the extreme sense of the word, and truly looked like the odd couple wherever they went.

Weight aside, the woman had a heart of gold and we were sure she was the perfect fit for our family.

“Outside appearances are sometimes deceiving,” he told us one day. “Julie is the girl I wish to marry. She will make a terrific mother for our kids.”

My son was always the recluse when it came to dating girls and attending proms. He was the wallflower at weddings and other social gatherings. The day of the introduction, it appeared the engagement process and wedding were foregone conclusions.

Eight years into the marriage, she decided to make a difference in her life and joined a weight control program. Pick up any Sunday magazine section and you will find the tempting ads of people who’ve dropped incredible amounts of fat.

On occasion, you’ll see someone who reached the century mark but not that often. I knew a state politician who hit the 500-pound mark, only to shed 250 pounds on a liquid diet, then gain most of that back. The self-control and abstinence he had exercised somehow gave way to temptation.

One day over the dinner table, Julie broke the news of an impending diet.

“I’m really serious about this,” she told us. “I’ve tried in other years and it didn’t work. This time I mean business.”

And business it was. The days of our family reunions, the woman was regimented to a point. She operated on a “point” system, brought her own food with her, and pushed aside the brownies and ice cream.

While others were vegetating in front of a TV screen, she was in the basement exercising on a treadmill. Anything that tasted good was removed from her diet. The less she ate, the more she kept her balance.

Having a daughter with Celiac disease certainly worked both ways. Because the youngster was allergic to gluten products like wheat and barley, she was put on a gluten-free diet. The end result was healthier meals that they both enjoyed.

I remember one day, she brought along a scrumptious chocolate cake and didn’t touch a morsel. The others wasted no time digging in. She went for the fruit, allowing for exceptions on weekends. It wasn’t total refrain.

Her formula was wrapped up in four simple words. “Not interested, thank you.”

Slowly but surely, the metamorphosis was taking place. When she hit the 25-pound mark, a cheer resonated throughout the home. A year went by and she topped off at 50 pounds lighter. Anyone on an extreme diet will tell you that that the first 50 pounds are the hardest. On the contrary, Julie found the second 50 to be just as challenging.

At the 75-pound mark 18 months later, she looked like a totally different person. Her perks were new wardrobes, a refreshing lifestyle, and newfound energy. Julie’s self-esteem soared off the charts.

But the goal was still 25 pounds short. Could she do it?

And then one day, six months later, the smile on her face was inescapable. She had been honored by the diet club for reaching the century mark, which came with all sorts of special privileges. In addition to all that, she was an example for others living the impossible dream.

Others in the workshop began coming to her for advice and looked to her for inspiration. She was suddenly the prototype for nutrition and good health.

It’s been about four months now and here’s the epilogue. She hasn’t gained back an ounce, determined to the hilt.

In this age of obesity, perhaps there’s a lesson here—that food for thought should remain that way. And, too, the worst thing about being defeated in a diet is the sympathy that comes along with it.

Julie cast aside the sympathy and today lives in a much happier world. For that reason, I’m pleased to call her an unsung hero.

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.
Tom Vartabedian

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