Marcia Potts had been overweight for most of her adult life. “I ate all the time and I ate a lot. I could eat a whole large deep dish pizza by myself.” She tried and failed on many different diets.
“To walk was unbelievably challenging,” she remembers. “I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t even stand without leaning or holding onto something. The grocery stores were great because I could hang onto a cart.”
As for seeing a doctor, “I just never went. I knew I’d be told to lose weight. I believed I was going to die from being obese,” she says. Marcia called her sister, a nurse, to ask for help getting diet pills. Instead, her sister suggested a well-known weight-loss program which emphasized keeping a journal, cutting fat and calories, and reducing portion sizes.
On May 23, 2000, Potts joined the program. She remembers the day well. At 48 years old, 5’ 3” tall, she weighed 317 pounds. “I began by going to the salad bar and filling up on healthy foods like lettuce, broccoli, mushrooms, and radishes.” Gradually, Potts adjusted to eating lower calorie foods. “After a while, I didn’t crave fatty foods anymore. It’s amazing how your body can adjust.”
Potts lost 163 pounds the first year and another 25 pounds the next year. She attributes her success to drinking water. “I had no trouble drinking water. Water is my drink. I would drink 32 ounces in the morning, so I’d be sure to get it in.”
She also began walking. As weeks passed, she slowly began adding time and distance to her walks. Eventually she was walking the 3/4-mile from her home to work and back.
“My energy level is very strong now, and I’m going to need my strength as I get older,” says Potts, who at age 51 weighs 129 pounds. Her message to someone who has given up trying to lose weight: “Try it one more time. You can find a way to make it work for you!”