Above All Odds: Inspiring Chicagoan Karen

Above All Odds: Inspiring Chicagoan Karen

As I have lost  weight and shared my story, I have pondered who has inspired me on my own journey.  I hope to feature different people in my life that have been inspiring to me and are Chicagoans.

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Picture of Karen and I in 2009

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Picture of Karen and I in 2/2011

I remember looking at these two pictures and noticing how amazing Karen looked. I thought to myself, Karen can do it, what the heck is my problem. I had no excuse. Instead of continuing putting myself down, I used her story as my motivator to stick to Weight Watchers. I am truely blessed to have her in my life and maybe you will be inspired too.

My friend Karen has been beyond remarkable with her weight loss journey and rising above all odds with her physical disability.  I have known Karen all my life through church.  We sang in the church choir together, went to youth camp together, Women of Faith Conference, and she sang at our wedding.  She has lost 75 lbs in 16 months and has been a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member (membership is free for lifetime members on Weight Watchers) for 3 years.  This May will be 4 years as a WW Lifetime member.

Here is her story in her own words:

"Weight Watchers at the beginning felt like the biggest, most unrealistic dream.  I figured what do I have to lose?  I will try it out. I really had no excuse to say no because we had the “At Work" program so the meetings came to me.   Now the life changing feeling is something that I cannot explain.  Here it is for you in a nut shell… Due to the “disability” I was born with, Cerebral Palsy, walking has always been hard. The pain that I endured each day just to walk was unbearable.

My weight gain began as a child, after many months in a wheel chair following a major operation. From that point on as I grew up I hid behind my weight.  I was laughed at and teased all the time.  I would turn down the chance to go places with friends because it was just too painful.  I felt bad because I would slow the group down. Right before I turned 30 I set the goal in my head to lose 30 lbs by my 30th birthday and needless to say I did it plus more!   I started Weight Watchers and pound by pound, mile by mile my life changed. I have refocused how and what I eat, I work out a minimum of 4 days a week and now it’s FUN!  I feel the best that I have EVER felt and  medically I am doing wonderful. I walk with more of a “spring in my step” and can smile more because doing day to day things is no longer painful.   My problems with walking are not as apparent and I feel like I am living a new life!  I feel like a new person.

I want to keep up all my hard work and keep feeling great!  I have come a long way from being told at birth that I would never walk.  I was determined to make changes and feel better and that is what I have done.  Its amazing to have people tell me that I have inspired them to make changes in their lives too.  Several friends have joined Weight Watchers and they check in with me each week.  It feels great to be a support to others in this life changing journey!!

The date of my lifetime celebration has become a yearly celebration for me.  I have come too far to ever go back and I have Weight Watchers to thank for changing my life!"

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Karen used to be a size 22 and now a size 8 in most some 6.  Her go to snacks are popcorn, nuts, pre-packaged 100 calorie packs, fruit and water.
To keep her motivation going she stated she keeps before and after pictures of herself in key areas of her house and at work.  She also states, "I have spent too much money to "replace" the old me, so I will NOT go back."

She states, "My health dream is to keep up with my work outs and taking care of me. My life dream  is to find an accepting man who will love me for me even with a disability and my big dream is to have a family some day."

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