Michelle Sieg

This new year, don’t waver

By - Dec 31st, 2009 03:03 am

‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions. For many people, losing weight, eating better and exercising top the list of goals — again.

For most of us, losing weight is a daunting task – especially after the holidays. But there is hope.

Take my friend Bonnie Matthews, for example. About two years ago, she set out on a journey that has taken her many miles on the treadmill, taught her to lift weights, delivered her from food temptations and, ultimately, enabled her to lose more than120 pounds. “My body fat was 50 percent back then, and now it’s 19 percent,” says Bonnie, an illustrator from Baltimore, MD.

She hasn’t had weight-loss surgery. She isn’t on blood pressure or cholesterol medication, and from what I gather, she’s not really depriving herself of anything – except maybe TV. “It represented a sedentary lifestyle,” she says. “So, I got rid of it.” Instead, now she works out, paints and cooks.

Like most people, Bonnie didn’t become overweight overnight. She was raised in a second-helpings-including-dessert kind of family and had never been athletic. As an adult, she spent a considerable amount of time building her illustration career, which required (in her words), “A lot of sitting on my butt.”

Plus, there was one other, more intimate reason for her weight gain. “I was in a relationship that was loving and committed but wasn’t very sexual, so that part of me just sort of went to sleep,” says Bonnie. “I finally spoke up and said we needed to work on it, and my girlfriend decided to leave.” But her ex wasn’t the only one on the move. Around the same time, Bonnie started walking on the treadmill and lost her first 30 pounds.

WeightlossPIC1With no fitness experience and no idea of how to get started, Bonnie had a chat with herself: “I said, ‘Okay, I have to get over this fear and figure it out.’ So, I just started walking.” From there, she started working out with a trainer, who taught her to integrate cardio and resistance training for faster results. Today, she works with a trainer who keeps her focused on endurance and strength.

Part of Bonnie’s journey is to motivate others, which is why I’m telling her story. I also think she’s a really good reminder that a resolution is nothing without true resolve. “When I was heavy, my outside didn’t match who I was on the inside. I wanted to love myself again and with that, I knew there was going to have to be balance,” says Bonnie.

The way she explained it to me, once she made up her mind, everything sort of began to work together – she started speaking up for herself, exercising, eating healthier and talking to her therapist. And, I truly think that systemic approach is the only way real change can occur. Or at least that’s my plan for heading into the new year.

“We all have the capacity to be stronger than we ever thought possible. Whether it’s around weight loss, job satisfaction, relationships or whatever, you just need to confront it for yourself,” says Bonnie who is going to be a guest on the Dr. Oz Show on Monday, January 4 at 3pm. “Just focus, be true to yourself and don’t waver.”

Categories: Unscripted

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