Isabela joined us at Hilton Head Health at the beginning of 2017. She inspired our staff by focusing on all the small steps that led to the bigger change she'd hoped for and her determination to succeed both here at H3 and home. We asked her about sharing her story and this is what she had to say.
I was overweight. I knew it, I felt it. Every day, I woke up and was tired. I ate and was tired. Worked and was tired. It got to the point where I almost didn't realize how much it bothered me. How much of my life was affected by this one thing?
I couldn't put my socks on without a struggle that left me breathless and hot. I got winded walking up a flight of stairs. Worst of all, the little girl I cared for would beg me to come play, and all I wanted to do was shut my eyes and sleep.
My mom at one point pulled me to the side and cried. She begged me to get healthy. She said, "I don't want you to die." So there I was; twenty-six years old, weighing 301 pounds, with a decision to make. And I decided I'd had enough.
When I started this journey at H3, I don't think I ever could have imagined how much would change. All I expected or even dreamed of was to lose a few pounds. But the irony is, I gained so much more.
It was hard work. Every day I would go push and fight with everything I had in the gym. My trainers, Chris and Casey, were right there beside me. Initially, could barely make it through the workouts. I could only walk on the treadmill. I couldn't hold a plank or do a push-up but I kept trying. And every day there was someone encouraging me! Telling me I can do it, guests and staff alike.
Then, slowly over time, something miraculous happened. I started to tell myself I can do it. I got stronger. I started to run. I started to hold the plank longer. But most important of all, I learned to love myself.
The funny thing about loving yourself is... suddenly all your flaws don't matter anymore. They're still there, but now all you see are the things you can do or the things you will do. It doesn't matter if you fail anymore because failure doesn't exist. All that's left is "try."
I stayed a total of 6 months. I lost over 60 pounds during my stay. I am 3 sizes smaller in my shirts, 2 sizes smaller in my pants, but 100 times larger in joy. My life has been permanently changed by this place and these people. I would not be who I am without them. Thank you H3, for saving my life and teaching me how to love myself again.