I Was a Yo-Yo Dieter

How I lost 90 pounds...and counting

By Maria Reyna
Published on LatinoLA: June 30, 2006

I Was a Yo-Yo Dieter

One day I was sitting on my balcony when I was living in San Pedro and I saw a blind man jogging up hill with a cane. And there I was sitting on my butt. I never forgot him. On those days that I don't want to walk I think of that blind man jogging up a steep hill. And I think if that man can do it, So can I.

We had a pool party yesterday where I live. This year I decided to go!

I got my two boys ready and put on my new bathing suit that I got just for the occasion.
The kids were happy we were going swimming and I didn't look bad at all.

You see I am about twenty pounds away from my goal. I have lost almost ninety pounds.
It has taken me almost a year and a half.

People ask me how I did it, so I thought I would write about it. Maybe it will help someone who is at that point where I was at when I made the decision to do this for myself.

First and foremost it is not about dieting, or a pill.

Most of my life I have dieted: I started dieting at the age of fourteen. I weighed 140 pounds at the time. Now that I think about it I was not even fat. I tried everything you can imagine, every diet, pill, product, book, video, equipment, hypnosis, colonics (that was humiliating and nasty), acupuncture.

You name it I tried it.

Oh, I lost weight many, many times but I gained it back and more each time.

I am what you call a YO-YO dieter, like Liz Taylor. There are many of us.

I got to the point where I didn't want to diet anymore because I was afraid of gaining it back and more. I thought of getting the Gastric Bypass Surgery like Carney Wilson, but I couldn't afford it.

My health began to deteriorate with diabetes, back problems, joints hurting, losing some of my vision, confidence and self esteem. I was literally killing myself, slowly, by not taking care of myself.

One Easter, I ate all of my kids candy before Easter. My sugar went up so high that I could not even meter it. My sister took me to the hospital because I could have gone into a coma!

My doctor looked at me and said, "Maria, you are going to be on dialysis within three years. You are not going to see your children grow up to be eighteen. I don't even want to treat you anymore. I'm sending you to UCI Medical center because you are not trying."

I walked out of her office mortified, in tears. I went to UCI and had to wait three hours for an appointment. I took a real good look in the mirror and I could not recognize myself anymore. I broke down and I cried till I couldn't cry anymore and prayed on my knees for the strength and courage to beat this self destructive path and cycle.

As I mentioned, before the change began with Forgiveness! I learned to forgive myself and everyone!

I started walking at first five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes a day, whatever I could do, what ever my body could handle. Everything hurt: my ankles, knees, back. I was huffing and puffing but it did get easier. I can now walk three miles, go to the fitness center and jump in the pool.

Then I started changing my diet, what I ate and the amounts. I cut out all or most of the white stuff. Flour, bread, tortillas, pasta, cookies. Fat and fried foods. Sugar, candy, sodas.

I still eat burgers, just not the bread, I still eat tamales at Christmas, but just one, not six, I drink sodas, but diet, and limit it to one a day.

At first I didn't lose. My metabolism was so shot it took me a few months to lose a few pounds, then the weight started coming off steady like clock work, eight, nine, ten pounds a month. My body stop hurting as much, my energy shot through the roof, my clothes were fitting better, all the clothes I had bought for when I lost weight fit loose.

I was doing it. What I was doing was working! And I didn't get scammed or ripped off by some infomercial advertising a worthless product or pill that prey on vulnerable people.

So that is how I am still doing it. I have day were I don't do so good, or don't want to walk. It's a struggle. Anything worth it is. I move forward.

I am not thin, by far. I have never been thin and will never be skinny, nor do I want to be. I want to look and feel good, be healthy and have a good quality life.

You know the saying: "Real women have curves", especially us Latina women. That is what makes us so beautiful, unique, irresistible. Ask any man!

Today I feel good! I don't buy into the media anymore, or buy junk and products that don't work. What I do is I walk and I changed my life style. I move forward and I do my best!

I will be celebrating my 46th birthday this year! Hope to see you all at: The Soul Of Aztlan Show At Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural.

About Maria Reyna:
M.Reyna-Varied Artist. Painter/Poet/Storyteller

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