Get inspired by four women who turned their lives around with only a few key moves.
'Pizza was my downfall'
- Name: Patricia Noel, 53
- Residence: South Orange, N.J.
- Risk Factor: Unhealthy diet
- Biggest temptation: pizza
- Highest A1C: 5.8
- Lost: 70 pounds (From 262 to 192 lbs. in 18 months)
"I learned I had prediabetes during a routine checkup in 2011. I was at least 100 pounds overweight. I had never lost the baby weight from my two children and had just kept gaining. My diet didn't help: I'd eat four slices of pizza at one go. I also drank a lot of soda. My unhealthy habits came at a price: I couldn't walk up steps without huffing and puffing."
"My doctor gave me a kit so I could check my blood sugar a couple of times a day; he also put me on medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, plus B12 shots for low iron. I was insulted: It was like he was telling me: You're fat. But I was angry with myself, too. How did I get to this point? I did the testing for a few months but found the whole thing annoying and eventually went back to my old ways. I even stopped going to the doctor, because I didn't want to get called out for slacking off. That went on for a couple years, with my weight going up and down, and all the while I was feeling more and more exhausted. I couldn't wait to get to bed at night, and yet I'd wake up tired."
This Is Healthy?
"Two years ago, my daughter, who is 26, invited me over for dinner. The food was delicious, so when she told me it was super healthy, I thought she was kidding. But she had lost weight with Weight Watchers, so I decided to follow her diet plan. I've been eating more vegetables—string beans, squash, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower. I cook from scratch and avoid processed foods. After four months, I'd lost 25 pounds. I was, like, 'Whoa, I can move again!' "
"To date, I've lost 70 pounds and am no longer prediabetic. The best part: I have more energy. I'll run out to the store just to get bananas, and I'm actually training for a 5K! The old me would have thought that was crazy."
"Stay focused. If I'm tempted to cheat, I'll think, Nope, not worth it. I didn't just spend an hour in the gym for no reason."