Author: Facebook Support Group Admin & Back On Track Champion Donna Hoaks

I had surgery in 1991.  They weren’t doing them in our area at that time, so my friend and I travelled two states away to get it done.  We were gone five days.  Our surgery was a Silastic Ring Vertical Gastroplasty.  A really wonderful surgery, actually.  My starting and surgery weight were both 271.  We didn’t have a support group or any real help.  In fact, we had a pizza party at the hospital the night before surgery, and the nurses said to get it all gone by midnight.

I lost 70 lbs the first 6 weeks, and a total of 130 within the year.  As an electrician, I didn’t have enough stamina at that weight, so I settled in the 150’s and stayed there for most of the next 22 years.

Facebook Admin Donna Hoaks

This was three years after surgery, in 1994.

I was able to do so many things that I would not have even considered before surgery.  My job was really strenuous, which was probably my saving grace.  The first 15 years or so, I did follow the rules pretty well, but over time, things crept in.  Protein wasn’t comfortable, and made me sick, so I didn’t eat it.  I ate a lot of eggs and dairy, and the slider foods became my friends.  I travelled around the country working, and always seemed to get the hard work.  I hung the field lighting at the catwalk atop Foxboro (Gillette) Stadium.  I worked in nuclear, coal, and gas-fired powerhouses, prisons, hospitals, schools, pharmaceutical plants, and so much more.  I climbed 300 foot tall wind turbines at the age of 50, and was the first woman to do so for the contractor I worked for.  We were doing 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week.  I burned so many calories on that job that I had to do body-builder proteins just to stay on top of things.  This pic was taken at the base of a turbine.  I have 30 pounds of gear on, which I wore all day.

Facebook Admin Donna Hoaks

Here is a great photo from 2010, 19 years after surgery.  I was holding pretty well.  I thought I was a success story.

Facebook Admin Donna Hoaks

In 2010, I broke a bone in my foot while simply walking.  Within a few months of healing, I tripped and injured the other foot.  I was pretty limited, pain was intense, and I didn’t do much.  I took a job in our union hall about that time, and I knew that I was going to have to watch it, since I wasn’t getting any exercise.

I refused the donuts at first, then I had a donut.  Then I had two sometimes.  The boss would bring lunch back for me.  It wasn’t always healthy food.  I ate it.  I outgrew the 10’s and 12’s, and started getting bigger sizes.  I was in total denial.  I had no incentive to exercise.  I hated exercise.  I even told our wellness coach that I couldn’t find ten minutes a day to exercise.  I wasn’t a model participant.

In 2014, I was going through pics taken by the kids at our Christmas get-together.  I came upon this one, and cried.  I was heartbroken.  I told myself that I wasn’t going to look like that in 2015.  But nothing I tried helped.  Of course, I wasn’t exercising, and I was still eating slider foods.  I hit 200, and cried inside for days.

Facebook Admin Donna Hoaks

Guess what?  In December of 2015, not much had changed, unless I was even bigger.  I purged all the smaller clothes, even the ones I loved.  I went into depression.  This one was taken in 2015.

Facebook Admin Donna Hoaks

In March of 2016, I saw my doctor, and we discussed a revision.  I didn’t want to, but I wasn’t having any luck getting weight off.  A couple of weeks later, while my husband and I were on a birthday trip to my favorite Amish community, I was surfing on my phone.  I remember it so clearly.  He had stopped for gas, and I was checking in.  There on my Facebook feed, was the infamous toast post.  I read the article, and it resonated.  But I had to ruminate on it for a while.  I remember talking to hubby about it then.

April 4th, 2016.  I can’t tell you a lot of dates.  I am not a date person.  I miss birthdays, and anniversaries.  But I remember that one.  I got up and something was different. I stepped on the scale for the first time in a good while, and I was 228 pounds.  Had I not known that things were going to change, I would have cried all day.  I didn’t even have all the things I needed but I was going to start, NOW.  Today.  I had another brand of protein, and I just packed a bag, and headed to work.  I texted hubby and told him I was starting that plan I told him about and had to stop at the store.  That evening, he said he would do it with me.  I told him his support was enough, he didn’t have to do the plan.  It wasn’t long before all of the comments about our products got to me, and I had to try the Inspire. I can say that this plan is a treat with a dessert in your glass.  I was blown away.  And, I started losing.  It was fast enough at first to show me that I could do it.  That this would work.  It gave me the steam to continue.

I think what I want people to realize is that you can do something while you learn to do it right.  Walk until you can run.  I didn’t exercise. I didn’t get all the water.  I sometimes missed a shake or two.  I remember some days I wanted to eat the steering wheel on the way home, and realized I missed some shakes.  I started planning better.  I started working out now and then.  I bought a stepper, then a treadmill.  I started getting out of bed earlier and working harder at exercise.  I still don’t do it every day.  I still don’t always drink enough.  I still miss a shake now and then.  I have lots of room for improvement, but you know what?  I have come a long way.  I jokingly call myself the poster child for imperfection.  But!!!!  I am committed to this, for the rest of my life.  I love the groups.  I love the products.  I love the no-nonsense attitudes and sometimes tough love approach, mixed with empathy and understanding.

As I approach the one-year anniversary of starting these plans, I have lost 57 pounds and feel healthy again.  My non-surgery husband has lost 60.  We have energy again.  We are enjoying our lives.  Even if I don’t lose another pound, I can be happy.  I don’t mind pictures.  I don’t mind clothes.  I like to shop.  I smile in the mirror.  I still hope to lose another 20 to 30, and he thought he was at goal but now is going to try for another ten or twenty pound loss.  If I can do this after 25 years, and he can do this with no surgery at all, what are you waiting for?

Facebook Admin Donna Hoaks