Monday, April 18, 2011

Sheri's Story

I just want to thank Angelique for interviewing me! I was honored! Angelique is a personal trainer, group fitness instructor in the sunny Okanagan and is dedicated to making people healthy and fit! She is also a figure and fitness model competitor! Check out her website!

Thank you for doing this interview and inspiring others to get fit and healthy!
Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Ohio. I never left, my Dad is still living close by to me and my Mom isn't far away.
Q. What do you do?
A. I am a iSeries Programmer, I develop software for a wholesale company.
Q. You had weight issues as a child, what do you think are the reasons that this happened?
A. I did, from the time I started to walk. All I remember is I wanted to eat all the time. My Mom would try to put the cookies in a cupboard way high, but I would always find them and get into them. I remember when we had mashed potatoes I use to tell my Dad “don't eat lots”. He still brings that up to this day. Its quite embarrassing now that I look back at it. I wish I knew why, my parents were never overweight nor was my brother.
Q. Do you feel that you were raised in an unhealthy environment?
A. Absolutely not. Mom lead a clean and well managed house hold. We had breakfasts, lunch and dinner made for us every day. The problem was there was so much food, that I never knew when to stop. Back then it was always said “don't leave anything on your plate”. I did not except for the vegetables, but what kid didn't right?
I was sick a lot though and the doctors never knew why. They diagnosed me with many things but they never tested me for Diabetes. Back then you just never heard about it.
Q. What was the heaviest you ever weighed?
A. My heaviest I will never forget, 255lbs. That was when I was getting extremely sick not knowing I had diabetes.
Q. You had health problems that the doctors could not pin point for a very long time. What were the symptoms? Did you feel as if you were going crazy?
A. Oh my yes! The problem was it was not symptomatic. In my early 20's I had signs I didn't know were signs of diabetes. I drank a lot of water, my husband use to ask me why I was so thirsty and I had no idea. I developed skin disease called Excema and I felt fatigue, sluggish, foggy-headed and just plain miserable most of my days.
In 1995 I had terrible digestive issues, I had terrible pain in my colon and I got a ultra sound done the doctor (who never diagnosed me correctly) said it was IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). So, once again I have to live with it no getting better, just take this pill.
It wasn't until 1999 when I tried my hand at running with my husband to try to lose weight. I developed terrible, crippling feet pain. The doctors looked at it as a running injury, but couldn't find nothing! I went to 5 different doctors in 9 months.
I had 12 inch needles go into my spinal column to put Lidocaine in my Sympathetic Nervous System because they thought I had RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). To rule it out I had to get this done. The Neurological doctor that did it said that is was not what I had, and that was all he said. He didn't send me for a EMG (Electromyography) which would have shown it was diabetes neuropathy!
Q. You ended up in a wheelchair for a while. Did you ever feel like giving up?
A. Oh I did give up so many times! I thought I was destined to be a slave to diabetes neuropathy for the rest of my life. I had no hope for it to get better. My first Endocrinologist (specializes in Diabetes) and he told me and my husband was sitting next to me. “You need to look like your stick man here”, my husband weighs 149 – 151 and is 6'3”. He's an Ultra Marathoner and never been overweight a day in his life. I said “I can't get that thin!”, the doctor said “you've got to try Sheri or your neuropathy will never get better nor will your blood sugar”.
So, from that day on I tried and tried, I lost about 30 pounds on my own and it started coming back after I was diagnosed with Hypo-Thyroid disease and to be honest I gave up and went back to poor eating.
Q. What made you think of checking yourself for diabetes?
A. Because of all the research I did during the 9 months of agony going from doctor to doctor, I found that peripheral neuropathy was exactly how my feet felt. If you look at these definitions, you will see Diabetes connected to it. When I first saw it I was in denial, I couldn't have I thought.
Q. When you finally found out what was really wrong with you, how did you feel?
A. I felt so relieved!!!!! Even though Diabetes is not something I want, I had an answer and now I can work on improving.
Q. Can you describe what type of diabetes you have, and what has happened to your body?
A. Hmm, well I kind of answered this throughout the above questions on what happened to my body, but the Type of Diabetes I had once again was a fight to get an answer. At first, the General Practitioner who I saw at the time diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes, he was also the one who diagnosed me with IBS in 1995. He put me on Metaformin (brand name Glucophage) Extended-Release Tablets used in the management of Type 2.
My blood sugar was still very high even on these drugs. I tested my blood sugar about 8 – 10 times during a course of the day. I knew something wasn't right, I did some more research and decided he is not the doctor for me. So, I went to a Endocrinologist and I loved him, he was so knowledgeable! He did blood work my GP never did and found that I had Type 1 diabetes with Type 2!!
Type 1 diabetes is known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. The body's white blood cells mistakenly attack the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. We don't know when I actually got Type 1, it could had been when I was younger they say a person doesn't get Neuropathy except when the blood sugar has been out of control for many, many years.
Type 2 diabetes is known as insulin resistance, unlike people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes produce insulin; however, the insulin their pancreas secretes is either not enough or the body is unable to recognize the insulin and use it properly.
Type 2 diabetes can occur in anyone, but the top reasons its running so rampant in America today is due to obesity and lack of physical activity.
Q. How did you start losing weight?
A. It wasn't until 2008 when I saw the scale moving up, I was now weighing in at 231. I pretty much sat at 222 for 8 years. I could only walk my dog down the street and back due to my feet pain and during those walks I would dream about being thin about being healthy. The Autonomic Neuropathy that I was diagnosed with in 2006 was wreaking havoc on my digestive system. Remember when I said I was misdiagnosed with IBS? This is what I truly had and it had now turned into chronic constipation to the point laxatives weren't enough. I did not want to lose my bowel function something had to change!!!
One night July 22nd, was the date I was talking to my husband and said “I have got to try something, or I am going to die at a very young age”. He agreed and supported me 100%. I made a call to Nutrisystems because I was lazy and did not want to cook.
I lost 60 pounds in 6 months my goal was 190, but I kept going until I hit 171. That was too hard to maintain especially once I could start exercising again.
I no longer had Type 2 diabetes, my Insulin intake went from 40 units a day down to 4 to 11 a day! Truly amazing! My body is no longer insulin resistant!

Q. Now you are quite athletic, how did you feel when you did your first run?
A. Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!! I was in serious heaven! I wrote about it on my blog, check it out here: Motivation for Health and Fitness ~ My Inspiration.
Q. What do you do for physical activity now?
A. I run 4 times a week and I am into lifting weights every day except taking off 1 day a week. It wasn't until about 4 weeks ago did I take weight lifting seriously.
My struggles with this left over skin makes me do a lot of research online. I came across a few inspiring women who lift and found that lifting heavy is the key to burning the fat off, not cardio!
I downloaded a fellow blogger's workout that she has on her blog and modified it for me cause I workout at home, not the gym. I really dislike it there, the men are selfish with the weights and I don't like it.
Anyways, since doing this for 2 weeks now I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my body. I have already shaved off ½ inch around my mid-section. I feel strong, I feel tighter and I am so confident!
Q. What sort of foods do you shop for now?
A. I only eat 6 times a day, and I try to eat whole grains, tons of veggies, fruits for filler food.
Breakfast usually consists of 1 TB. Of honey, 1 TB. Of Flaxseed Meal (this is my way of taking care of chronic constipation, it truly works!), 1 Zone Bar and ½ cup of Fiber One Cottage Cheese.
Morning Snack is Greek Yogurt with 1 small box of raisins
Lunch can be lots of things, but mostly I will come home from work and make a yummy salad, with a handful of nuts, and grilled chicken. I always have a Dark Chocolate Vitatop! These are a life saver for me cause I need chocolate and they are only 100 calories and have protein and fiber!
Afternoon Snack is usually a small Apple.
Dinner well, sometime we go out, but when we don't I will eat Healthy Choice Steamers or Nutrisystem dinners; sometimes I will cook steamed veggies and chicken or fish with sweet potato fries.
Evening Snack is usually Fat Free Hot Chocolate with whip cream and Weight Watcher desert.
I find as long as I stick with these set meals I am good, if I eat outside of this then the weight starts to creep up.
Q. How do you feel overall right this moment?
A. I feel GREAT!!!!!!!!!!! I've never in my entire life felt as good as I do now at age 42! My life truly began at 40! I would never go back!
Q. What sort of advice do you have for our readers who feel like giving up?
A. Never give up! The answer to life's questions come down to taking care of yourself! If you eat right, and you exercise you WILL feel better and you WILL lose weight.
Don't ever think your too old to start something either, its never too late to make your life the best as it can be!
You can find me on Twitter and Facebook or at my website Motivation for Health and Fitness!

Excerpts from The Motivational Girl are protected by copyright and used here by permission of The Motivational Girl, 2011.


  1. Wow, what a wonderful way to share your story! Loved this interview; had no idea you once had to use a wheelchair. The transformation is amazing, as is your bionic bicep. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing! The Q&A format makes it easy to take and and know you better - your struggles and triumphs! Fabulous. I just checked out Angelique's blog as well. Fab again! :)

  3. Sheri,Thank you for sharing your incredible medical story! I knew you had health issues but did not realize how seriously you were misdiagnosed and un-diagnosed! Wow!

    I appreciate eating about your daily food plan. I cannot have the Vitatops but I know several people who swear by them.

    I used to start the day with honey and lemon. Reading that you have the honey and flaxseed meal brought back my memory of those mornings. I do use flaxseed meal about 3 x a week. I have been doing that only about a month.


  4. Such a great interview. Congrats on being interviewed. Sheri, you are an inspiration yourself.

  5. @Yum Yucky I was concerned it might be hard to read, but I am glad to hear it wasn't! Thank you so much for your words Josie!

  6. @Jane Cartelli Yeah, its been a tough 12 years, but now its manageable thanks to the weight loss and consistency of maintenance.

  7. Great interview. Loved reading all this.

  8. LOVED!!!!!!!!! Sheri, I knew some of this but not all! What a great read & the interviewer, great questions! Shows us how we can all overcome & you did!!! CONGRATS on all you did & are still doing!

    I used to get too big lifting heavy & even now, I still do with certain body parts so I have to be careful with lifting to heavy for me as I don't want to look to huge... most women don't have this prob but I do get big & when I was younger - big time!

  9. @Jody - Fit at 53 Me too Jody! My arms can get rather big quickly and I don't want that look. I do not plan on going heavier than 25 lbs. with them.

  10. Reading your story was truly inspirational !!


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