My name is Jodi and I am 42 years old. My story is probably like many others - full of attempts, failures, excuses and severe lack of motivation. I have been heavy all of my life which of course made elementary, junior high and high school quite unpleasant. Instead of changing my diet or even contemplating exercise, I just accepted my body for what it was. I learned to accept the words MORBIDLY OBESE that were found on almost every page in my medical records at the doctor's office. It was like I became desensitized to the embarrassment of that label and all of the other emotions that came with it. I just accepted it all and went on living the only way I knew how.
In the spring of 2009 I started to experience some severe lower back pain that was radiating down my right leg. After numerous MRIs and weeks of not being able to walk upright, it was finally discovered that one of the discs in my back had exploded. Apparently, it squished like a jelly donut and that is what was causing my pain. Sciatica was also a part of the problem. In October of 2009, I had my first back surgery. The surgeon removed half of my disc and expanded the "tube" area where my sciatic nerve was being pinched.
I felt better and was able to move without much pain after the surgery. Unfortunately, by then, I was tipping the scale at a whopping 301 pounds. My "before" picture was taken on February 2, 2010. That was 5 months after my surgery. My excuse for all of that extra weight was that I was still recovering and really shouldn't exercise too much out of fear of causing injury. I did manage to drop a few pounds here and there over the next 2 years simply because I had my mobility back but I never got below 275-280 pounds and I pretended to be ok with that. I convinced myself that I was doing great by maintaining my weight without a proper diet or exercise. I tried to force myself to believe I was happy and healthy.
I started to believe I was the best I could ever be until we moved to Texas from Colorado in March of 2012. Moving to a new state, I had to find a new doctor, etc. I made an appointment when I found myself to be extremely groggy on a daily basis. It felt as though I had no energy at all. I found a doctor and made an appointment. The doctor diagnosed me with Type II diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety and of course morbid obesity. That appointment changed everything. I now had pills to take daily for the diabetes and wear a CPAP at night to keep me breathing properly while I sleep. The depression and anxiety went untreated as the doctor felt the other issues were of higher priority, I was no longer able to deny that my lack of motivation to lose weight was taking its toll on my body and my mind.
In the beginning of August of 2012, I was in a car accident and hurt my left shoulder. The tip of the humerus was shattered into 6 pieces and the rotator cuff was popped up on each side. The muscle had been pulled away from the shaft of the humerus as well. I had surgery to repair my shoulder with a metal plate later that month. I still sometimes struggle with my left shoulder as that arm isn't as strong as my right arm. The excuses continued.
Sometime in 2014 or 2015, my husband (a huge fan of old school wrestling) came across the video of Arthur and his journey with DDP Yoga. Then we learned that one our favorite comedians, Gabriel Inglesias, was also doing DDP Yoga. We were both inspired to get motivated to lose our extra weight that we bought the DVD set and vowed to follow the program faithfully. Sadly, we didn't stick to our promise and after about a week of doing just the breathing exercises and the instructional program once or twice, the DVD set found its way onto a storage shelf. The excuse was that I was too busy to take time to exercise because I started a new job. Little did I know then that my new job would soon give me the support to make the changes I needed.
In the summer of 2015, I started to feel some intense pain in my lower back again but this time it was accompanied by numbness in my hands. I was referred to a neurosurgeon immediately. I had multiple herniated discs in my back as well as some issues with my neck. Due to complications with my insurance carrier, the surgery required to get rid of my pain and correct my back was put on hold. The surgeon wanted to fuse cadaver bones into my neck and back for a long term fix, a 9 hour surgery, which is what was holding up the approval from the insurance company. While waiting for surgery, my condition deteriorated to the point where I had to use a walker to ambulate. I wasn't able to stand up and I surely wasn't able to walk far without having to stop to rest. My surgeon took one look at my new condition and said he wasn't sure how I was able to walk at all let along maintain control over my bowel and bladder. We couldn't wait anymore. Instead of doing the long term fix, the surgeon pushed for an immediate surgery to get rid of my pain so that I could return to some quality of life. The surgery was at the beginning of August in 2015 and it worked, I returned to work a couple of weeks later pain free.
I work a sedentary job sitting behind a desk all day. Two of my coworkers frequently would talk about their diet and exercise routines. Together we decided that since I was pain free now, we should all participate in a 5K. I believe deep down, they didn't actually think I would go through with it, but I did. Weighing in at 280 pounds, I walked the entire 5K in March of 2016, just 7 months after surgery. We came in last place but I did the entire 5K and my two coworkers turned friends walked beside me the entire way! That was somewhat of a turning point for me. My new friends encouraged me to keep a better eye on my diet and to start exercising more. Over the next year and a half, I somehow slowly lost 27 pounds of the 280 I was carrying around by just being aware of my sugars and carbs.
Thanks to new insurance, I had to switch doctors again. I was very fortunate to find an amazing doctor who didn't leave my depression and anxiety untreated. On July 3, 2017, I had my first appointment with her and I weighed in at 253 pounds. She immediately put me on a fantastic medication that is helping me get the out of control blood sugars in check, another one to improve my mental health and another to lower my Triglycerides down from the 700+ mark that they were at. Later that same week, my coworker friend invited me to start walking with her in the morning when she takes her dog out for a walk. Even though it was still sitting on a storage shelf, DDP Yoga and Arthur's story always remained in the back of my mind. After a few times of walking in the early morning, I decided to get those DDP Yoga DVDs out of storage, dust them off and actually put them to use. I showed my friend the video of Arthur's story on YouTube. She was just as inspired by it as I was and still am!
On July 10th, 2017, we started our new Monday through Friday routine. My alarm goes off at 3:40am, I check my blood sugar, take my morning medications, grab my pre-packed bag of work clothes and lunch, then we head to my friend's house. We weigh in on the bathroom scale every morning and then at 4:45am, my friend, my 9 year old daughter and I walk the dog 0.7 miles which usually takes us around 15 minutes. That is our pre-DDP warm up and we track it through the MapMyFitness app on my phone. Once we get back from the walk, we go right into yoga. We haven't made it to discs 3 or 4 yet because we are still "perfecting" discs 1 and 2. Most of the time we will do Energy or Fat Burner and then end our work out with Red Hot Core. We also track the yoga on that same app.
We track our diets on the MyFitnessPal app on my phone which is linked with the MapMyFitness app so it will show us how many calories we have burned that morning. According to the MyFitnessPal app, a person with my height, weight and goal, should eat no more than 1350 calories per day. I have given up breads (with the exception of my morning English muffin sandwich consisting of 1 egg, a handful each of diced green pepper, diced onion and 2 handfuls of diced mushrooms) and I have given up MOST sugary sweets. I will have an occasional "treat" of a fun sized Snickers bar, a small piece of angel food cake or a half cup of no sugar added ice cream. In this past month, I have severely limited my intake of carbs, sugars, fats and sodium. I use the app to "plan" my every meal. What can I have? How much can I have? The old me would not have taken the time out to ask those questions, she would have just swung through the drive thru on the way home. The only question asked would have been Big Mac or Quarter Pounder? And of course she would have super sized that meal deal!
As of August 9, 2017, I weigh 233 pounds. That is a total of 20 pounds lost in just shy of a month. My current goal is to get under the 200 mark and eventually down to the 150-160 range. DDP Yoga has played a crucial role in my success. I am loving the new me and my new life. I am getting results that I never would have achieved by just taking a 0.7 mile morning walk each day. I have core strength that I thought I would never get back after all of my surgeries. I have energy that I haven't had in years. I feel rejuvenated. Most importantly, I know that I could never have done this on my own. I am so thankful that I have a phenomenal support system of people who care about the wellness of my body, mind and spirit!