With Faith in the Future
“I knew I had to change,” Nancy says, “Everything had to change, and my faith has really sustained me though all of this.”
Nancy Kowolik took a leap of faith and lost 50 pounds thanks to OurSkinny. As importantly, she ditched the cane and the handicapped parking pass she had been using and got her life back. “It really changed my life,” Nancy says. “I came trudging in here the first day, just completely at the end of my rope. Just as far down as I could get. I got good results fairly quickly and it was very easy. It all just progressed in a miraculous way, I have to say. "Honestly, it was very transformative, and I am just so thankful.” Two years later, she continues to maintain her weight loss with the help of the OurSkinny Team and the support of her loving husband, Stefan, who has lost 30 pounds himself.
PAIN AND WEIGHT LOSS
Three years ago, Nancy was finding it increasingly difficult to do her job. “I was just in a lot of pain all the time,” she says. “I had injured my ankle twice, my office was up a set of stairs, and between that—just getting up and down those stairs—and just the overall pain I had to have a cane. So if I went anywhere with my family, they would park me on a bench or something, and I would have to sit and watch everyone having fun. It was horrible.” Eventually, her doctor recommended a handicapped parking pass.
“It was emotional for me to have to have that thing,” Nancy recalls. “When I said so, the doctor told me, ‘Well, you know you’re a handicapped person now,’ and you know in my mind I could kind of hear a clang… like a dungeon door slamming… as though this was a pronouncement on the rest of my life.” “I was going to be a handicapped person for the rest of my life and I was only in my forties."
The doctor thought she was depressed, actually, but Nancy insisted that she was not! With a loving family, great friends, and a supportive husband who adores her, she had lots to live for. “I am not depressed,” she said at the time, “but I am very frustrated!” That is when her doctor told her about OurSkinny.
THE OURSKINNY DIFFERENCE
Nancy took time off from work and, as she says, she was at her wits end: “I felt that my whole world had shrunk, and I was not going to be able to have any fun or adventure.” At four feet, eleven inches tall, Nancy began the OurSkinny program at 218 pounds. Today, she is maintaining her weight at 168. “Having gone through all this, I can’t bear to think of losing ground and putting it all back on again,” she says. “Fortunately, if I gain a couple pounds from time to time, I just go back on the program.”
“I learned a lot about portion control,” she says. “About how to make healthy choices in social settings. What I found, though, was that that the OurSkinny program made me feel normal. If I wanted to go out with the girls, I could have my main meal at lunch—just healthy choices or a salad—and I would feel like I was part of everything with everybody else.”
Nancy did have some contributing medical issues. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, was treated for a hernia, and needed a hysterectomy. In all, she endured eight surgeries: “As I say, I got good results quickly thanks to OurSkinny. Once I lost some weight, I was able to start working out and so I got stronger so that when I had to go through those surgeries I was able to recover quickly.”
“As I got stronger and more able to move around and get more exercise, and I was finally able to get rid of the cane. When my parking pass came up for renewal, I said to myself, ‘You know, I honestly cannot say that I need it!’”
"THESE DAYS I CAN RUN UP THE STAIRS! "
FULL CIRCLE, TOGETHER
Stefan and Nancy are celebrating their 23rd anniversary this year. All those years ago, in advance of getting married, one of the first things they did together was go on Weight Watchers – and so in a way they have come full circle. Nancy offers a word of caution though, “With Weight Watchers, I got twenty pounds off and then got stuck. I couldn’t get past that plateau and then I gained ten pounds back on our honeymoon and that was the end of it.”
There are no points on the OurSkinny program. No calorie counting. Just healthy choices, and because Nancy changed the way she cooked, Stefan started losing weight as well. “Stefan has been a huge support, and I love him so much. He has always been kind and never pointed out any flaws in me or anything ever. As I started to lose he was just so encouraging … complimentary … and it kind of helped re-spark our romance a little bit.”
“You know, I don’t think a cane probably was quite as sexy an image as I wanted to project, but now I am at least sometimes wearing high heels again. “I think he really likes that.”
ON TO NEW ADVENTURES…
Nancy has a new job, and she is finally back in the swing of things. The couple has a daughter in college and Nancy laughs remembering her reaction to her mother’s weight loss. “Well the first thing was when she complained, ‘But we used to get such good parking spots!’ I asked her, ‘Would you rather have me thump around with that cane?’”
“Now I can do things with her!” Nancy says gleefully. “Before, I couldn’t go on a shopping trip with my daughter. I would take her to the mall, and I would have to sit somewhere and she would go off shopping by herself. Now I can walk the whole mall with her and enjoy the day with my daughter.”
Sitting with Nancy, it is hard not to be affected by her sense of joy. Even the littlest things—once so difficult for her—have taken on new meaning. “I had a friend come to see me and she was so surprised when I picked her up at the airport. I was able to walk down the beach with her, whereas the last time she had seen me I basically just sat on a couch. Anywhere we went to visit, they would just put me in a comfy chair or on the couch and I had to be a vegetable.”
Nancy and Stefan have just returned from Punta Cana, an all-inclusive vacation resort in the Dominican Republic. “We went snorkeling I really enjoyed that. I want to go ziplining next—adventures like that—and I would like to go on a mission trip someday.”
WITH FAITH IN THE FUTURE
“We have a two story house. Well, it used to be that I would come down for the day and not go back up again until it was time to go to bed, and just to get up the stairs it was like climbing a mountain. "These days I can run up the stairs! If I am in a building where there’s an elevator or something, I choose the stairs. Often just because I can!”
“I knew I had to change,” Nancy says, “Everything had to change, and my faith has really sustained me through all of this.” “I think the Lord let me go through this hard time to learn some things I needed to learn: self-control, self-discipline, and also to be able to encourage others in the same situation. It was a learning experience, having to go through all that pain, and now I have even more compassion for those… when I see people with a cane or using a walker or on a scooter in the grocery store.”
“I could only go to stores that had a scooter,” she recalls. “It would be embarrassing when it broke down in the middle of the store. You know, what are you going to do, call AAA? “I always say to myself, ‘I see you now.’”