Barbara: before
PAGE 10
It's amazing how one person can touch another person and change their life. Then it snowballs. I'm changing other people's lives, and so on and so on. So many people have come up to me and told me that they quit smoking because of me. You have no idea how good that feels!

I was told that I was chosen out of over 5,000 applicants for the Best Life Weight Loss Challenge. When you think about it, that's even better than being chosen Miss America, because Miss America has 50 states and 50 competitors. I got picked out of 5, 000. :)

Why did The Oprah Show choose me? I think it was because of a few factors, not just one. I don't really care why they chose me, I'm just blessed that they have. When I come to the show and the makeup and hair people work on me, I feel like Miss America. If I say it once, I'll say it a million more times: Bob Greene changed my life. I love Bob Greene. Is he nice? He is so nice. One thing that I "got" from Bob Greene is that he really cares. He is interested in my life and why I'm overweight. Bob Greene wants to help all of us to live our best lives. He doesn't care that I'm fat, he just wants me to be healthy inside and out.

I used to go to bed with heartburn almost every night. That has vanished. I used to smoke like a chimney. I was a "slave" to cigarettes like some of you still are. You know what I mean. For instance, you have to make sure you have cigarettes at all times and also a lighter and if you don't you PANIC. I don't smoke anymore. Most of my friends quit, too. My home is non-smoking.


I used to eat around the clock. Sweet, salty, all of you overweight people know what I mean. I'm still addicted to food, but I'm starting to be able to manage my addiction. I do it one day at a time. Some days I am starving. I'm just being honest. But most of the time it's not food that I'm starving for. It's amazing to realize these things. I could eat and eat and eat and eat and still be hungry. Now, obviously it isn't food that I get hungry for. It may be attention, it may be that I'm bored, it may be that I had a fight with a friend or a family member. It may be that I'm just missing my step-daughter. The food makes me feel "comforted." Now I'm finding other ways to feel that comforted feeling. It's not easy, but it is do-able.

I used to breathe so heavily it was hard for me just to walk to my mailbox outside. Now I skip to the mailbox. When I first started this challenge, I couldn't even exercise correctly. Bob told me that I was "all over the place" on the treadmill, and he was right! Bob told me that I needed to work on building my core. I responded that I didn't have one. I think I lost it when I had my fourth child in 1987. Now I have one! My trainer, Beth, and I found it! My core may be a bit flabby, but it's still there. We had to send a search party to find it, but it's still there. I'm so excited to have a core!


I am exercising every day. How cool is that! Now trust me, I'm not in that little size zero spandex thong, but I have my size XL spandex shorts and I'm starting to look really good, really toned. And good for me. Let's face it, I will never be in that size zero thong. And I'm okay with that. I really like my curvy body. God made it just for me. I just want to have a "smaller" version—even a size large is okay. I don't want to be a bone—only dogs like bones. And remember, Marilyn Monroe was a perfect size 14. So I don't care about a certain size. Of course I don't want to be a size 22 anymore, but I'm not really picky about being a certain size. I just want to feel healthy and be able to do things, be active.
The weight is not just falling off of me. This is a long process for me. I work very hard for every pound that comes off. It may take me longer, but I know it will come off if I keep living my best life. Remember, I smoked for 30 years, so I have to pay that price. And also remember I'm not 20 anymore (thank goodness).

Mentally, I am getting better. I had a very hard year. My ex-husband, who I loved dearly left me, blind-sided me and cheated on me. But I realized that I cannot control what he does or doesn't do. I can only control how I react. Truthfully, I don't feel hate anymore, just pity. I feel sorry for him. I had to forgive him or he would have the power over me forever. I'm not going to do that. I took myself back. He may have his new girlfriend, but I have something better: I have me!

And you know what? I'm a lot better off than a lot of people are. I count my blessings every night. I have a roof over my head, a nice car to drive and a little money in the bank. I'm dating a nice guy who adores me, and my children are all well. I have great friends and my health is good, even better since I started living my best life.

So the best life is not just about how many push-ups I can do (Did I tell you that I did three sets of 12 push-ups today?). The best life is not about not being able to have fried chicken for dinner (That sounds so greasy to me now.). The best life is about feeling good and feeling alive and being able to help people and pay it forward the best way that I can.

Bob Greene told me about living my best life, and I am forever indebted to him. However, I am teaching myself how to live my best life and I'm getting prouder of myself every day. Sometimes I feel like I just won Miss America!

Live your best life!

Barbara
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

NEXT STORY

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD