Lena’s story is a powerful story of determination and focus, as she works to lose over 400 pounds in her 40s. Her high recorded weight was 596 pounds, though she suspects she started at over 600 pounds. She found the Eat Like a Bear community weighing 338 pounds, already down 260 pounds. Since finding us in June 2020 at about 340 pounds, Lena has dropped another 100-pack and weighs in during the spring of 2021 at 237 pounds. Down nearly 340 pounds already, Lena is working on a goal weight of 140 pounds.
A big part of Lena’s motivation has been obesity-related health problems. She has suffered from lupus, Type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney disease, high cholesterol, pulmonary embolism, arthritis, and sleep apnea. She was dependent on oxygen.
What Made Eat Like A Bear! Different
Lena had tried other weight loss programs (Weight Watchers and Slim Fast) but not consistently. They were too expensive. She found Eat Like A Bear! which had similarities to what she had been doing, making it straightforward for her to implement immediately. The website helped her understand a bit more about why it worked, and she leaned on the success stories she saw coming out of the group. She started to lean on the salads and reports that she eats salads about 80% of the time, and traditional keto type meals for the remainder. Her salads are “nothing fancy” as she reports: spring mix, Romaine, iceberg, cucumber, tomatoes, and a ranch or cheeseburger dressing. She eats at about 5 p.m. daily. She does some regular 48-hour extended fasts.
As for the key difference with other programs, Lena adds, “For one it took little to no meal planning and with the fasting it saved me money so I could buy supplements. I wasn’t always thinking of food and what healthy choice I had to make or not make…it just really took the whole food brain away.”
She knew this particular approach was different from other programs by the end of her first month. She reports, “I had been in a stall and when I started the program in June that first month I lost 39 pounds .”
A New Life for Lena
Lena’s has completely transformed her body: She reports that she can “walk and breath — basically everything a normal person can do.” She is able to stand up from a sitting position without help. She adds, “I still walk slowly but I walk!! And I don’t have to haul oxygen tanks around with me anywhere because my oxygen level stays around 95-97.”
Her “non-scale victories” are mind-blowing. Lena reports:
“I no longer need to use a wheelchair. I couldn’t even stand without being in constant pain. I was too heavy for my knees and legs to support me. I progressed to my walker then a cane. I’m walking more without the cane but my stamina is not great yet. So I keep the cane handy in case I get wobbly.
I no longer need to use my oxygen 24/7, just for my clap at night, and when I have a sleep study done I may not need that anymore.
I do not take my blood pressure pills anymore because it is back to normal.
I no longer have high cholesterol.
I can stand for longer periods.
I can exercise and I love it! I was never able to nor did I have the desire to, but now I exercise all the time. Simple modification moves that help me burn calories and keep my joints from getting stiff.
I can fit a seat belt. I can sit in the back seat of a vehicle now. I never could do that for years!
I can wear jeans again!
My skin has cleared up, most compliments on how young I now look. I know I’m probably forgetting a million other things. Because there are so many! But I finally feel like a normal independent person again. I exercise!”
Lena concludes: “I feel like a normal person. I could never go anywhere alone before I was completely dependent on others for help. Now if I want to go somewhere I get up and go. No help needed!! Having my independence back is a game changer! I haven’t had that in years! Like 7 years!”
Tips from Lena
For community members following in Lena’s impressive path, she offers: “Be consistent and trust the process…and move your body! I don’t know if it is just because I was sedentary for so many years but I move my body all the time!”
She highly recommends therapy as well: “If you have unresolved issues in your life, or triggers, I would encourage you to get help and go counseling or talk to someone. Once you have cleared your mind of the trash inside, you can focus on healing your outside. Otherwise, when you have a trigger you will seek comfort in food and repeat the cycle. You have to train your mind to be mentally strong.”
On Lena’s Final Stretch
We write this as Lena continues in the long grind, but you can see her excitement in her community posts. She reports of late: “I joined a gym and have been building muscle and losing inches. My life is improving daily! My health is getting better. People who haven’t seen me in a while are so surprised at how I look.”
We are excited for the next phase of Lena’s life! Find her and follow her in the community. You know Lena there as “Nada New.”