Regaining health – one man’s story

by | Jul 2, 2020 | Personal Stories | 0 comments

Man reaching to sky

Today’s article has been provided by David Williams. It’s his personal story of recovery.

Regaining Health – David M. Williams

As we rang in the New Year on January 1, 2020, I was not exactly the picture of health.  I was obese, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 34.8.  I had been suffering from severe sciatica and back problems since July, and I had done no exercise since July.  I felt like an old man, struggling to get in and out of a car and just getting up from a chair. 

I had been obese for about three years.  My last weight gain started 3 ½ years ago on Thanksgiving.  The dinner ignited my overeating and I was off to the races.  By January of this year I weighed in at 222 pounds, up from a previous low of 168.    

In July, while on a cruise, I woke up the first day and could hardly walk.  The radiating, shooting, stabbing, and muscle-pulling pain in my right leg was intense.  For seven months it was painful to walk, and I couldn’t even do the seven-minute walk into my town center.  I had to take cabs or Ubers, or get rides from my husband, if I wanted to leave my home.  After extensive and ultimately ineffective treatment with a pain specialist, she recommended I try acupuncture, as did the back surgeon whom I had already settled on to do my surgery.  I was resigned to the surgery at that point, being skeptical of acupuncture’s ability to alleviate so much pain.  The surgeon advised me to reassess the acupuncture after six visits. 

After my first two acupuncture sessions fifty percent of the intense pain was gone.  I was dumbfounded.  The next three visits yielded no change, bringing me to my sixth appointment.  For this session she had me lay on my back instead of my stomach.  This treatment yielded about a further 20% reduction in pain.  Now I was fully committed to acupuncture.  After an additional five treatments, today I am pain-free in both my leg and my back.  I am fully convinced acupuncture can be completely effective.  I am now back to my daily half-hour walks. 

As I have gotten older both weight loss and strength training have become more and more difficult.  I needed professional help with each, so I hired a hospital-based nutrition counselor and exercise physiologist. 

The nutrition counselor helped me with all aspects of losing weight including, of course, eating healthy food and reasonable portions.  But to me the most crucial aspect of weight loss is not to feel deprived.  That sense of deprivation will always eventually drive you back to overeating.  Since my favorite fruit is raspberries, my daily indulgence in sweets became sugar-free raspberry jam on top of a rice cake.  Along with half portions of apples and bananas these make up the choices for my snacks and desserts.

My weight is currently down to 180.  This time, on the advice of my counselor, I plan on staying in the high 170’s.  I’m getting older (66) and it’s getting harder to maintain the same weight I was at even just a few short years ago. 

So, there’s good news and bad news.  The bad news is the weight-loss struggle gets harder as you get older.  The good news is that WITH HELP (and if you’re honest with yourself you will know what that is) you can do it!


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