In 2016 I had given birth to my first biological child. With that pregnancy, I gained 40 lbs. Four months later, when my 26-year-old sister was unexpectedly and tragically taken from us, I had lost 30 of the 40 lbs. With the death of my sister, I gained about 38 back.

I started my weight loss journey at 39 years old, 5 ft. 6in., and 238 lbs. and still very much overwhelmed by and living in grief and loss. I have also been caring for my sister’s daughter and focusing on her emotional and mental health. It’s been a long hard road.

I have always worked full time and have been a mom at least in some capacity since 2008, and between my significant other, there is a total of 6 children, some still in the house, and other flying on their own. I have also had to be a caretaker for two sick parents. Life has been full and busy, and when there isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done, I tended to put myself on the back burner.

After the summer of 2018, the darkness started to lift some. I had also spent that time being overweight and miserable, not the way I want to spend our very limited Alaskan summers. I still have very young children and I want to take pictures that I am not going to hate later, do things, and make memories with them. I didn’t want to have health problems in the future and I wanted to be around for my children for a very long time. The extra weight made doing those things and enjoying the time very difficult. That is when I decided that it was time and the fact that I was approaching 40, I thought, there is no better time. I wanted to feel good and happy again despite all that has happened. I could be fabulous at 40!

In October of 2018, I was blessed with a team from Alaska Premier Health. Yes, like anything in life, some days were easier than others. What got me through the lows and more challenging days was the constant support and encouragement I received from the team. A loss is a loss, even if it is only a pound. The accountability was also needed. It helped me stay on track even more. This all gave me the extra push to not stop. My new motto is “Just Don’t Stop.”

I have learned so much through this experience and I feel that I am better equipped to be successful going forward. I have better tools in my toolbox. I would often say, I just need that formula that will help me get there, but I had a hard time finding it. Weight loss is all math and science and once you have that formula, and stick to it, it will happen. I have also accepted what I knew to be true, which is you have to do more good than bad in that the healthier you eat, more often, and the more you exercise, more often, the greater positive results you will receive. More of anything will result in more. I have also learned that I can’t put myself last all the time. This experience has caused me to look closer at what my family is eating and how much exercise they are getting. They are doing better too.

I can’t express how much this journey has changed my life. I feel amazing, I sleep so much better, I have so much energy and can keep up with my kids…sometimes they have a hard time keeping up with me, and I enjoy exercising again. I had come to hate it, but now I love it and crave it and push myself EVERY DAY. And in my head I can hear, “Just don’t stop.”

I reached and exceeded my weight loss goal of 80 lbs and I feel alive again. Anyone can do this, they just have to really want it, make themselves one of those priorities in life, surround themselves with supportive, positive people, believe in themselves, and just don’t stop.

Thank you everyone at Alaska Premier Health for everything you have helped me to accomplish, and especially Allen (my provider).

Bring it on 40!