Vera Richardson, shown here trying a cookie in a healthy cooking class, has transformed her life by losing 79 pounds. Though she’s still over 300 pounds, her blood sugar is now under control even though she’s using much less insulin.
Some people have so much weight to lose they have trouble getting started. It seems like too much work, knowing how long it will take them to reach their goal.
But losing even a small chunk of excess weight can make a big difference. Take the case of Vera Richardson, the subject of a recent newspaper column by Bonny’s co-author, Tanya Isch Caylor.
At 308 pounds, she’s still likely to be the most overweight person in any room she enters. But the 79 pounds she’s lost over the last year have literally transformed her life.
Her blood sugar’s gone from frequent 300-plus levels to readings in the normal range, even though she’s down to two daily insulin shots rather than five.
She has more energy, enough so that she’s started going to the YMCA to walk on the treadmill.
She’s even found a job — a big step for an intellectually disabled young woman who, just a year or two ago, was considered one of the most at-risk clients at Easterseals/Arc of Fort Wayne because of all her health problems.
Vera’s roommate Evelyn was carrying around an oxygen tank this time last year. Now 45 pounds lighter, she no longer needs it — even though she’s still about 50 pounds overweight. Her blood sugar is down in the 70-100 range now after typically soaring over 200 in the past, even though she’s down to one insulin shot per day instead of four.
Their new roommate, Mary, who’s only been with them a couple of months, has already lost nearly 20 pounds.
These women aren’t on a diet so much as simply trying to make healthy lifestyle changes. They’re cutting back to normal serving sizes at meal times, substituting fruit, nuts and protein go-packs for sweet treats at snack time, and going to the YMCA at least three days a week.
Granted, as clients of Easterseals, they have staff who provide advice and support. But they make their own decisions. If Vera wants an ice cream sundae, for instance, she talks it over with her house manager, who helps her review how long it’s been since her last sugary treat.
In the end, it’s Vera’s call. But now that she’s got some momentum going, consistently losing 2-3 pounds a week, “there’s no stopping her” says staff member Rachel Wehrwein.
You can read more about Vera and her roommates here. (The website will ask you to take a survey, but you can elect to skip it and go right to the article.)