No Turning Back

By Triola Dulaney

 

I am Triola Dulaney the ever creative, caring, kind, intelligent and overweight. I can remember the very first time I went on a diet. I was only 7. It was a 3-day diet. There was a day that I got ice-cream. I couldn’t wait until that! I remember all my weights because I was always working on making it smaller but somehow that never really happened. I was on every diet throughout elementary, high school, and beyond. I had an unhealthy relationship with food. I never ate just because of emotions, boredom, or taste; it was any and all of the above.

I can say that my eating turned into mainly emotional in my adult years. I had many problems starting new relationships that didn’t work, having children alone, and relying on others for my happiness. My third relationship was with someone whom was very fit and actually liked my plus sized stature. We got married after only 3 months! We worked together because he was a cultural dancer and I had the creative capacity to learn the dance, music, and the business sense to make it work. He was my everything. Spiritually I had lost a connection with my God. Emotionally it was draining because we had to combine very different cultures as he was West African. He was very fit as a dancer and I was very insecure because I was extremely overweight. I landed in the psych ward after 6 years of trying to be perfect. I wanted to die being lost in the shadows as a supporter of an almost perfect man (in my mind) when all I could be was me.

 

While in the hospital I was reconnected with God. I was so afraid to be there in the first place but the lady that was screaming and cursing at herself scared me the most. My cousin called me daily to remind me that God was there for me. Honestly though I didn’t hear a thing she said. I did like doing the group therapy though. It freed my mind to hear that everyone was going through something. I realized that some terrible things happened to my friend that screamed at herself so she wasn’t scary anymore. After a few weeks I was feeling like I could breathe again. One Sunday afternoon after she came home from church, my cousin called me to give me more scriptures to comfort my poor lost soul. I couldn’t bring myself to listen. I kept thinking she was judging me like I was a heathen and didn’t know God. Then the lady that frightened me when I first got their came to the door and yelled, “Bye Triola!” I asked her where she was going and she said she got discharged. She looked at me and said, “I got this little bible, do you want it?” I felt like God was trying to reach me so I had to listen.

 

I went into the room and started to go through the concordance. Yes my cousin gave me some scriptures but I couldn’t recall what they were. God proceeded to acknowledge that I had been in a lot of pain and gave me the words my heart needed for consoling. The first scripture I was led to was Psalms 118:6 ~ The Lord is with me; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (NIV) I was floored by the similarity to my own choices of words that this passage gave. I was known to be a counselor with friends when they were going problems and it just sounded like something I would say. The next scripture I was led to was II Tim 1:7~ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. I felt that God had met me where I was and used me to guide my heart back to him.

 

After having so many problems with self-esteem and putting others first, I felt stronger knowing that God was with me through it all. I felt empowered and hopeful when my dad came to me with lung cancer. I knew that he would have to rely on me to care for him and my baby brother who was only 1 at the time. He, my baby brother and my four kids relied on me to make sure everyone had what they needed so I had to be strong. I moved to the Antelope Valley because it was more economical for such a large, blended family to have a large home to grow in. I kept going when I heard bad news and kept believing when treatments didn’t work. Still after only 6 months of finding out about his terminal illness, my dad died.

 

At that point, I saw that life was tender and laid in the hands of health. I was determined to do what I could do to make sure that I got and remained healthy because even though illnesses may strike to the most health conscious people, preventive care is the best medicine. I started going to my local YMCA. I was not very regular in my visits, but I did go with my children. I felt so welcomed by the staff and I felt like I was at home. After about the first 9 months I lost 15 pounds. I remember thinking, “Is that it?” I went to the doctor and she recommended a weight loss education course.

 

I had doubts about another weight loss education course and as a full-time student with 5 kids, I felt like I just didn’t have the time. I had been to Weight Watchers as a kid and I thought I had learned enough throughout the years, but I gave it a try anyway. In the classes I was surprised how much I learned about myself. We had to monitor our intake to see where we were in the first place.  I found out that I was putting about a pounds worth of food (3500 calories) in my body each day. It made sense that I was not losing the way I wanted. With that knowledge I was able to do small things to lessen the amount of calories I put in. I took one unhealthy habit away each week or added one healthy one. For instance, I stopped drinking sodas one week (and stopped for good). The next week I chopped my 3 large meals into 6 smaller metabolism boosting meals because my body didn’t have to slow down to process so much at once. I started to see better results after a month. Then 2 months down the way I was able to get my calorie intake down to 1,800 which was almost half. We learned about the importance of building muscle mass which helps the body metabolize fat much quicker so we were encouraged to use meal replacement protein shakes. By the 1st anniversary of my dad’s passing I had lost 35 pounds!

 

I was encouraged by my success and losing weight made it possible to do more during my workouts. I started to bring more family members and friends with me to keep myself motivated. I found out if more people around me were more health conscious it kept me on track. By his second anniversary I had lost another 40 pounds. I started using Beachbody’s Shakeology which I really enjoy the taste of. With the super-foods, high vitamin and mineral content, and probiotics incorporated in the shake, it has much more benefits than just weight loss. I changed my skin, digestion, energy, and helped curve my cravings. I started using fitness programs like Brazil Butt Lift and Body Gospel on days I couldn’t get to the gym and to help my friends that couldn’t afford a gym membership I started to invite them to workout with me. I set a new goal and challenge myself to accomplish it every 60 days to really catapult my results. I became a Beachbody coach to get friends and family to beat the obesity epidemic. It has been 3 years now this January and I have lost 125 pounds. My original goal was only 100 pounds. I was at my heaviest weighing in at 365 pounds but over the depression and ready to live. I decide that I would do something about it. I committed to working out and small, calculated changes in my diet. My journey isn't over yet and at this point I understand it will never end. This is my lifelong commitment to continue living, no turning back!

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