Monday, October 25, 2010

Margene and Brent: Believing It's Possible

In an earlier post, I encouraged readers to share with me their story of weight loss success. I got a reply from another blogger, Margene, whose blog Believing It's Possible Is Half the Battle,
chronicles the weight loss journey she and her husband Brent have undertaken. These two incredible people made it their goal to lose a total of 250 pounds in a year.

Two years ago, Brent and Margene were feeling hopeless. Brent weighed 300 pounds and Margene, 280 pounds. It had happened gradually. Once an athlete in three sports—football, soccer and track—Brent had put on “married” pounds and now mostly sat in his recliner and watched TV, too tired to do anything.

Margene had always eaten in response to her emotions. She had suffered the loss of her parents and, in recent years, the rejection of a dear friend. Two of the couple’s four children had been diagnosed with autism, and their daily tantrums wore her down. She basically stopped leaving their house in Utah. “Self-loathing is an art, and I perfected it,” she says.

The couple ate out frequently and enjoyed snacking at home. “It was a feast every night from 7 p.m. to midnight,” Brent says. Ice cream was on the menu every night. If one of the kid’s birthday cakes was around, Margene would finish it off in a day, leaving just small pieces for the kids. On top of that, Brent’s job with a restaurant added to the problem. “The restaurant had an in-house bakery,” he says. “You can imagine what that meant—cookies, muffins, cakes—all available around the clock.”

Through the years, the couple tried many programs to lose weight, but they didn’t work. Part of the problem was that Margene felt she had to “run” Brent’s program for him, or he would make poor eating choices at work. She found the stress of preparing healthy meals and snacks for both of them overwhelming. Their good intentions never lasted for long.

Gradually, though, Margene was coming out of her “cave,” as she calls it. The couple moved to Oregon, their kids were growing up, and they were getting help for their autistic children. Margene had dropped out of high school in her senior year, but now she went back to school and got her degree. Then, one day, a friend came to visit. She had recently lost 100 pounds using Medifast.

Margene was intrigued. The Medifast “Take Shape for Life” program entails eating five small 100-calorie “meal replacements” a day, using the company’s snack bars and foods that can be prepared using just water. The only meal she would have to cook was dinner, what Medifast calls a “lean and green” meal, a 5-7 oz. serving of a lean meat and three servings of low-carb vegetables.

Margene and Brent prayed for guidance. Brent prodded Margene to take the plunge because he knew that “when Margene does something, she does it 150 percent,” he says. It wasn’t long before they both became convinced it was the program for them. “Even before we started, I knew we’d succeed,” Margene says.

In February 2010, the couple began their weight loss journey. On their low-calorie diet, the weight started coming off immediately. Each week, they saw success at their weigh-ins. (You can see the yummy dinners Margene prepares on her blog.) Margene has lost 111 pounds so far and has 34 to go. Brent has lost 103 pounds, with 22 pounds to go.

Though the Medifast program doesn’t emphasize exercise until the maintenance phase, Brent was so excited about being more energetic that he began to play basketball, ride his bike and run 5ks. He cut back when he found himself eating more and slowing down his weight loss. Margene looks forward to the day when she too can run marathons. For now, they’re happy with the small triumphs that mean success to them.

“We went to Great Wolf Lodge with our kids recently, and we were able to go on all the rides with them,” Margene says. “We’re more a part of their lives now. I’m not the tired mom. We’re not the ‘leave us alone’ parents.” Brent’s newfound health encouraged a journey of self-discovery, and he sought treatment for his ADD. And, weight loss has revived their marriage. “I can’t stop staring at my husband now,” says Margene. “It’s like being newlyweds!”

On her blog, Margene expresses the depth of her gratitude for her life change. To her, it’s not just a new size, but a lifting of her mental anguish. “I have been heavy for so long and felt worthless compared to others who were more thin and fit,” she says. “But I know my Heavenly Father has compassion on me and knows my struggles and wants me to feel His love and know my true worth. He sees beyond my size and He sees the real me. I want to see that again too, and I know I will.”

If you want to share your weight loss story with me, leave a comment on this post, or contact me via my website (on my blogger profile) and e-mail address. I'd love to hear your story of success!