Many of Teresa's family members have died prematurely due to cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. Teresa is determined to not have the same fate. At age 63, she has shed 60 pounds while reducing her needed medications from 5 to 2. She credits Zone foods, supplements and healthy living.
Many of my family members have died prematurely due to cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Because of my family history and my own personal health issues over the years, I have continuously been seeking ways to optimize my health. Living in the Zone, I feel as though I’ve been able to help turn those genes that are working against me around.
Medication and Weight Gain Starting in My Teens
When I was 16 years old, I began struggling with hypoglycemia (i.e., low blood sugar). I battled that almost 30 years before officially being diagnosed with diabetes in my 40's. Since that time, I continuously transitioned from one medication to another, due to diabetes and several other health issues.
Every medication I took seemed to come with the side effect of weight gain – sometimes 10 pounds in a matter of days. Consequently, controlling my weight was a difficult task, and I reached an all-time high of 210 pounds. This weight gain was primarily due to medication and stress, not a poor diet.
Over the years, I continued to keep healthy eating at the forefront of my daily behavior. I remained active, often biking 24 miles a day to work, weather permitting.
Cruising Along, Eating Pasta and Losing Weight
In 2006, I went on my first Zone Cruise with my sister Mary. I remember having a difficult time walking around deck and the various ports due to my weight and exhaustion. At that time, I had been working full-time as an account manager for an orthopedic group, managing a 33 unit apartment complex with my husband, heading up the local Lioness chapter, serving on planning committees for the city, and was Vice President of the Business Association; all tremendously stressful.
I felt like I ate my way through that cruise – on the Zone, of course – yet I lost 6 lbs. Years later in 2015, I vacationed on the Zone Cruise again, this time losing 7 pounds. Where many people observe tremendous weight gain on a cruise, I lost weight, which is unheard of. That Zone Cruise was a turning point for me.
Time to Retire and Get On with My Life
In 2012, I decided to retire at the age of 58 after successfully being treated for lymphoma of the right elbow. I had a brother, sister and mother who all had died prematurely of cancer before retirement. I was determined to have a retirement and knew the stress of my current life would be the end of me.
I truly believe OmegaRx fish oil from Dr. Sears is what kept me alive during my working years by keeping my cellular inflammation score in the ideal range, despite my excess weight. Having alleviated the stress in my life by retiring, I became more focused on my health and getting the weight off.
Eating Right for a Lifetime of Health
I start my day with part of a protein shake and a half cup of orzo with vegetables. This helps me sustain me through my morning Pilates class. Because of the Zoned breakfast, I can go longer between meals, which is unlike anything I was ever able to do in the past.
I have lost 45 pounds since the cruise, which I attribute to inclusion of the orzo, more activity, and stress reduction. I love the taste and the texture, and have found it to really help with my blood sugar management. Since retirement, I've lost 60 lbs and I am currently down to 150 pounds, with another 25 to go before I get to my best weight. I am also down from 5 medications to 2, and my stamina has greatly improved.
What the Future Has in Store
When asked how I think I compare to other 63 year-olds, I think I’m doing better than most, but still have some health struggles.
Recently, I’ve had to deal with fibromyalgia (a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness). Still, I continue to do Pilates three times per week, lift weights twice a week, walk my dog, ride my bike, garden for the town, and teach Diabetes Self-Management classes. I’m happy to be retired and living an active lifestyle.
My determination to use food and exercise as medicine can be summed up as this: When I ride my bike and the pain is unbearable, I know that if I get through the first 5 minutes, the pain will go away and I can spend the rest of my day pain free.
I have been following a Zone lifestyle and supplementing with omega-3s for almost two decades, and have been a life-long advocate of the principles of Dr. Sears ever since.