My name is Francine. I’m 52 years old and I have lost 91 pounds in the past eighteen months. Not only have I reached my weight loss goal, but I have also exceeded it by ten pounds. This is the story of many small successes, which have produced the happy and healthy person I am today.

For the past 20 years, my weight has been fluctuating like a roller coaster. I’m good at losing weight, but I’m even better at gaining weight. I weighed 90 pounds more than I did when I got married. Unfortunately, I didn’t think gaining weight was my fault, but that weight gain was a result of genetics, a stressful life, or my age. The list of excuses was inexhaustible. Because I was responsible for my weight, I also believed changing my weight was beyond my control. I was doomed, and I felt like a failure. I realized my past would also become my future. I was destined to continue gaining weight. At this rate, I would weigh over 300 pounds in ten years. If life is difficult now at this weight, it was only going to become more difficult in the years to come. I felt like I was running out of time. Every day, every month, every year, my weight was going up. The only things going down were the tears on my face.

Football Hall of Fame coach, George Allen said, “The future is now.” I needed to take responsibility and slay this dragon. I needed determination, motivation, and dedication. I needed support and a healthy lifestyle. I needed help and I couldn’t wait any longer. The cause of unhealthy weight is a very complex issue. If I wanted my weight to change, then I was going to have to embrace complex lifestyle changes. The thought of this approach was scary, intimidating, and overwhelming, but I faced my fear and accepted this challenge. I went to Hilton Head Health where I learned how to be healthy and happy.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When I was finally ready to work long and hard, Hilton Head Health appeared. My first visit to Hilton Head Health was for two weeks in 2013, long enough to discover this was the answer I was looking for, but not long enough to create lasting change. In my second year, 2014, I went for eleven weeks. About the fifth or sixth week there I experienced a transformation of purpose. Instead of my focus being weight loss, I now concentrated on eating healthy foods, and fitness. I learned that by eating healthy foods and eliminating processed foods, I could feel strong and energetic. This was a difficult transition to make, but once made, was eye-opening. I was also determined to commit to more exercise. Eighteen months ago it was very difficult for me to get up off the floor from a sitting position without help. At Hilton Head Health I did as much exercise as I could, even though I was in pain. I continued my struggle to just keep moving. Now, after eighteen months of moving, I can run a 5k in 36:45. At the beginning of my journey, just walking and staying on my feet took all my energy. Today I enjoy the feeling of dancing, yoga, strength training, and walking. The struggle of hard work was worth every minute.

During my second year at Hilton Head Health, I also learned internal motivation was essential to success. Great. Now I just have to use my personal internal motivation to lose weight. The problem was, I could not figure out what motivation would fire my spirit. So as they say, fake it till you make it. For eighteen months of hard work and sacrifice, I pretended that I believed in this process. Today, I have reached my goal and I am truly happy and healthy. Now I know my internal motivation. I LOVE the feeling of being healthy! This wonderful feeling was not something I had to invent; I only needed to remember how happy I used to feel when I was living fully. It took a long time to discover my motivation, but I did it.

Dedication requires time and practice. I was willing to be patient and knew that weight loss happens slowly. If I decided to start a new career, learn a new language, or play the piano, I would accept that these pursuits would take time, money, and be difficult, but would ultimately make me happy. So this was the mindset I adopted to lose weight. I was willing to devote two or three years of hard work discipline, time, and money to accomplish my weight loss goal. It was a full year of practice made permanent. Then in early 2015, I went back to Hilton Head Health for twelve weeks to finish my journey. And finish I did. I lost the rest of my weight. I met and exceeded my goal by ten pounds.

I have come home to a family who is excited to see a happier, thinner, and healthier Francine. My family is more than willing to help me create a healthy environment for all of us. We don’t get anything right the first time, but we are practicing new habits that get easier each time. I have healthy eating habits that I will continue for life. I have reached a level of fitness that I never thought possible. My aches and pains are gone. I no longer snore. I can run up the stairs and walk for pleasure without getting tired. I fit into really cute clothes. I feel, look, and act twenty years younger. My patience has gone up and my stress has gone down. I am in control of my life and my destiny. Hilton Head Health was the teacher I needed to grasp a second chance at life before it was too late. As for my future, I want to become an image consultant and help other women dress beautifully every day of their journey through life; celebrate their true inner and outer beauty today, and not wait for tomorrow. There is so much more that I wish I could share to motivate and inspire you. But now is your time, and your turn to gain back control of your life. You’re worth it, and so is Hilton Head Health.


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