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The Journey to Me

Who you see today is different from Cynthia 4 years ago…completely.

In this ever-changing life, most of the changes happened recently. Changes on speed.

In 2005 I taught High School Foreign Language while applying to seminary weighing in at over 270 pounds.  My actual weight is unknown because I didn’t own a scale…I didn’t want to know.  Stairs left me huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf. 

I survived full days of classes teaching teenagers to say “Hola” and “Bonjour” with large bottles of Coca-Cola and PTA cookies and cakes.  By the end of the day I was wiped out yet pushed through 3 hours volunteering at my church.  Finally I would flop on my couch to watch TV zone out before rolling into bed and doing it all again.  I was constantly exhausted and miserable.

Christmas of 2005 my grandmother requested a photo of her girl grandchildren. Sure why not?  Anything to make grandma happy.  Then the photos came back…


I was a stuffed sausage in my best pants and tank to with a shirt that couldn’t button. A photo doesn’t lie…I was unhappy.  My grandmother displays every photo on her walls…this one still stares at me as a reminder.

At the same time I had a physical for my seminary application.  Same speech as always…”You should lose weight.  You are too heavy for someone so young.  You will be healthier and need less medication.  You will feel better. Etc, Etc, Etc.”  That time, sitting in a paper gown, hit home.  My weight was holding me back from the life I wanted.



This required big changes…I didn’t know how big.  With my kitchen cleared of the junk, I loaded my refrigerator and pantry with fresh ingredients and of course a few healthier snacks.

My OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) made calorie counting a natural fit for keeping track of my eating.  I was shocked at what I thought a portion size was.  I was eating like a small army. I quickly learned a new word, M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N.  This was for the long-term, not a quick fix, so balance was key.

Eight months later when I entered seminary I had lost  over 80 pounds and dropped 6 sizes. I was unrecognizable.  My classmates had only seen the first of these pictures…I looked like a different person.

Seminary brought a new set of challenges.  An over abundance of free food and little time to exercise in my schedule welcomed back 20 pounds.  Not instantly but my clothes fit differently and my fitness level faded.  My life had changed and so I had to change with it.


I started running in April of 2007 at a friend’s urging. I trained all summer using the Couch to 5K program.  I jumped and screamed, literally, when I reached my goal of 5K without stopping.  Good thing!  I had impulsively signed up for a 5K on Labour Day.  I finished without stopping and ran 3 more  that fall.  I was hooked.


After a 5 mile Turkey Trot in 2007 I injured my back.  I couldn’t keep up with my running although I tried.  It wasn’t possible, the pain was excruciating.  I couldn’t run so I ate…a lot and gained 10 more pounds.  It was emotional eating but I was too upset to stop.  Ironic?

For 8 months I was poked and prodded, large doses of x-rays and pain medication in an attempt to determine what the heck.  Meanwhile I finished my final semester of seminary.  I allowed myself one month to wallow in my self-pity…and a pint of ice cream…then decided to do something about the weight I had gained.  I joined Weight Watchers and made the change from calories to points. With the support of a great leader I lost 35 pounds for a total of over 115+ pounds lost before graduation and my wedding in June of 2008.

Oh yeah, did I mention I met a great guy in seminary. πŸ˜€  Hunni and I fell in love over football and long walks during our two years of study.  We married the week after graduation.  How’s that for a change!

The injury diagnosis was 3 herniated discs in my lumbar spine.  The last 3 months of seminary I couldn’t sit and could barely hold up my beloved wedding dress I picked before the injury. Even our honeymoon was cancelled because I couldn’t sit to fly. 😦  This was no way to live life…it had to change.



I had surgery two months after the wedding to replace those nagging discs after a year of torture.  I gained 10 pounds post surgery with inactivity and emotional eating…again.  When freed from house arrest (and I learning to put on my straight jacket like brace) I busted my butt in physical therapy to regain strength and mobility.  Running came slowly with the blessing of doctor and physical therapist.  The eating followed along in stride.



I set a happy goal weight for myself and the last few pounds came off.  I am focused on maintenance now with an entirely different set of other changes. I’m learning to eat food for my specific health issues (IBS and food sensitivities).  I’ve become a vegetarian, stopped drinking diet coke, stopped eating traditional cane sugar or sugar alcohols, limiting dairy and drink only one cup of coffee a day.

These changes and many others are necessary to maintain my health and retrain my brain on things that are good for ME.  It’s a process but life is constantly changing even at goal.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. organicglamourgirl permalink
    27/07/2009 9:38 AM

    Wow, what an awesome story! I’ve put you on my blog roll! I want to continue to hear about your sucess especially on the days I need inspired by other’s healthy eats!

    • 27/07/2009 1:48 PM

      Thanks…it’s been full of ups and downs but usually it’s more ups lately. Hope you enjoy the posts!

  2. angiesappetite permalink
    19/08/2009 5:38 PM

    Thank you for your great comment on my blog!

    So glad I found yours.

    Congrats on your success so far! And, congratulations on your recent marriage – how exciting.

    Sounds like you have an interesting career too. I look forward to reading more!

  3. 08/09/2009 6:50 AM

    I love your story! Looks like you’ve come a long way!!

    • 08/09/2009 10:23 AM

      Thanks Rebecca! It’ been hard but totally worth it. Thanks for stopping in. I hope you enjoy the blog. πŸ™‚

  4. April (Foods of April) permalink
    28/09/2009 10:45 PM

    Thanks for stopping by!

    You have an amazing story! And an amazing job at that! I can’t wait to read more!

  5. 06/11/2009 7:19 PM

    Wow. You are an amazing woman! How did you injure your back? Did you know I’ve been through something similar? Your story is inspiring and I appreciate all of your kind comments all of the time!

  6. 15/01/2010 11:20 AM

    you know, on a day that i feel so discouraged about my weight loss journey and my spiritual journey, i am so blessed to have stumbled across your page! keep up the good work. oh yeah and p.s my uncle is a Salvation Army captain in Jamaica…so keep up the good work with the organization too!

    • 15/01/2010 10:07 PM

      Thank you so much for the comment. I’m glad my blog gave you a pick me up. And I love hearing about other people in The Salvation Army.

  7. joceycakes permalink
    19/01/2010 11:56 PM

    Hey there, I love the idea of your blog. What great 101 goals you have! Good luck on your journey, weight loss and everything else. I am on a weightloss adventure as well, and It’s always nice to find more people I can relate to πŸ™‚
    Have an amazing Thursday evening!!

    • 20/01/2010 4:20 PM

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. I love writing it and coming up with new ideas each day.

  8. 13/03/2010 9:00 PM

    Hi there.
    i just found your blog and am so happy because I also suffer from IBS. It can be frustrating but it is great to find support out there online. Good luck with managing it, I know it is a daily struggle.

    • 13/03/2010 9:02 PM

      Awww thanks. I hope my blog can be helpful. I don’t always blog about IBS but I try to post any new foods I enjoy that don’t cause me pain.

      • 05/05/2010 6:14 AM

        I wanted to let you know that I started blogging about my IBS and recipes/foods that are good for it. You might find it fun to check out, it is at

      • 05/05/2010 9:26 AM

        Thanks I will definitely check it out!

  9. 10/05/2010 7:51 PM

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I’ve enjoyed your story and you’ve overcome a lot! So awesome!!

    Also, I love your 101 Things list!! It’s a lot like my bucket list! Awesome!!

    I’ll be coming back and reading more for sure!! πŸ™‚

  10. 29/05/2010 2:13 PM

    I enjoyed getting to know you here and on Brandi’s blogger series. It sounds like you’ve had an interesting life- one that doesn’t sound like it will become boring anytime soon! I applaud you and your husband for your work with the Salvation Army.

  11. 13/08/2010 3:11 PM

    I have OCD too and I never thought about the correlation between OCD and calorie counting. But you are so right! I lost 100+ pounds by exercising and counting calories. Counting comes naturally to me and it makes the process so much easier. Now, I don’t even think about it–I just count my calorie and move on. I use an iPhone app for it these days. πŸ™‚

    • 14/08/2010 11:19 AM

      It does come really easily. I use weight watchers points now and I can figure out points fairly well without writing them down. I do occasionally just to check in but I’ve learned to fuel my body without counting all the time.

  12. 09/09/2010 9:53 AM

    Hi – I just found your blog and am adding it to my reader. I look forward to reading all you have to say!

  13. Brittany permalink
    09/09/2010 2:58 PM

    Hi! I just wanted to say that your blog and your story are so inspirational to me. I also suffer from IBS, and often feel alone and confused while trying to figure out what I can and cannot eat, what will and will not make me sick. I’m glad to see there is someone out there I can relate to πŸ™‚
    much love ❀ (:


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