Choosing to Change: How I Became a Healthier Version of Myself
By Cori O’Brien Paluck
Weight is a heavily debated topic these days, with a focus on loving your body and embracing your “flaws”. But what happens when your health is at risk, and a lifestyle change is necessary? About eight months ago, I was faced with this question. The result was my journey to losing 80 pounds!
Over the past 15 years, my weight had steadily increased, little by little, until I reached 225 pounds. I've always been a curvy girl, and for many years had been confident in my body shape. I particularly loved my #Booty! As my weight crept up, I noticed my health starting to be negatively affected. My snoring at night meant I couldn't get a good sleep; I had constant hip, back, and neck pain that years of therapy was no longer helping. While my health issues increased, one in particular really forced me to face the problem: I found my commute walking to work was becoming increasingly difficult and I could no longer keep up conversations with friends when we met up for walks, which is one of my favorite ways to connect with them.
Last May, I knew I needed to make a change. I didn't want to die from a preventable health-related issue, and I wanted to move around with ease. At the end of each day, I felt resigned to the couch because I was too tired to do anything else; I was determined to change this and restore my energy. It was this realization that led me to start my weight-loss journey.
After doing some research, I found a company called Dr. Bernstein (it's a Canadian company but I believe there are offices in the US). Dr. Bernstein is a doctor/nurse-led diet program that guides you through healthy eating habits, like sticking to a diet of lean protein, veggies, and fruit. The meal plan is strict low calorie/fat/sugar/carb and includes large amounts of B vitamins and water.
Once I started, the first steps weren’t easy – a total lifestyle overhaul is hard! On day one, I had a massive panic/anxiety attack. It was the loss of control that made me nervous. The diet is strict, and I wasn’t used to having restrictions that meant I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. It was daunting to commit to something for so long that limited me so much. The next four days I spent in a horrible sugar withdrawal. This side-effect surprised me and was a reminder that sugar is a drug many people are addicted to.
After that, it was simple. My new plan included creating and sticking to a meal plan each week, buying groceries, weighing my portions, and visiting the nurses each morning for check/weigh-in. Under the plan, the diet is all about real food and only features items that you can buy at the grocery store.
Sticking to this plan, I was able to lose up to 5 pounds PER WEEK!
Now, 7 months later, I'm at a healthy weight and feel great. I eat healthy and enjoy eating more vegetables than I've ever had in my life. For real...veggies are my friend. I never would have thought that 8 months ago!
So, today I'm in maintenance mode. I'll slowly introduce previously disallowed foods back into my diet each week. I'm pretty nervous for this part as I am worried I'll slip back to old habits, but I’m confident I can do it. I've come this far! Under this plan, I’ve learned valuable lessons about portion control and how to cook a balanced meal. Previously I had the conception of “Who cares if I eat 7 slices of pizza, I’m already fat." Now I can see the impact my food choices have on my health and well-being. Eating healthy translates into feeling amazing, and this motivates me to eat in moderation.
Being at a healthy weight today, I realize I previously felt unhealthy and sluggish 100% of the time. This became my norm, and it wasn’t until I made the change that I realized that’s not how I’m supposed to feel every day. My weight-loss has helped not only my physical health but my mental health as well. My new norm means I feel great physically and my mind is at ease. I realized that previously every glance in the mirror induced stress. Every time someone sat beside me on public transit, I worried they didn’t have enough room; I preferred to stay home instead of going dancing with friends or do anything that required physical effort. Now that I feel more comfortable, I am looking forward to doing the activities I had previously closed myself off from. I’m excited to make plans and don’t feel so anxious picking an outfit. In fact, picking out clothes to wear is fun! I have also been able to get back into yoga, and I’m considering getting into dance!
My journey through losing 80 pounds wasn’t easy but a commitment that I made to myself and my health. It’s not over, as living a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing choice. This being such a personal journey, it wasn’t an easy choice to publically post my weight-loss, but I wanted to share my journey with the Amplify community – especially if it helps inspire others.
I have worked at iATS Payments in a variety of roles for over 15 years, most recently as Operations Manager. I've always worn many hats, including product management for Brickwork, a leading Payment Processing application on the Salesforce App Exchange, as well as a number of other products and services within iATS.
I'm also a proud certified Salesforce Administrator and working on getting my Advanced Administrator and App Builder certifications. I have currently earned over 60 Trailhead Badges and counting! #Ranger, here I come!
On a personal note, I am an active member of the HW Flesher Co-Operative Housing in Vancouver and am a volunteer Salesforce Administrator for the Ethiopia/US-based NGO Selamta Family Project. I also enjoy volunteering my time sewing for Day's for Girls and exploring new charitable opportunities.
I was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, and I currently live with my husband and cat in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.