(NEW YORK) — When Lisa Dove became a mom nearly two decades ago, her life quickly changed, and she started gaining weight.
“I just didn’t have time to get to the gym or meal prep. It was just easier to go through the drive-through or go pick up a pizza, and not to mention, I was sitting in [an] office-type job, 10-12 hour days,” the mom of three told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “So, that is when the weight started increasing.”
For a decade, Dove said she struggled with her weight, and at 35, she developed Type 2 diabetes.
The risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight and not being physically active regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 38.1 million American adults live with the chronic condition.
“I was on four different medicines to keep my A1C at a healthy level,” Dove said.
But during the coronavirus pandemic, Dove, now 49, decided she needed to make a change again because she said she couldn’t do things she wanted to do, like go up a flight of stairs without breathing hard or chase after her kids who played competitive sports.
“I hit my heaviest during the pandemic and that was 297 pounds. And I’m like, ‘I am not going to hit 300’ … and that is when I changed everything,” Dove said.
Dove said she began her weight loss journey in January 2021. She began to tackle her emotional eating by joining a program to improve her eating, seeing a therapist and focusing on her physical activity.
“I started with just walking, portion control, and then at that point, once I was able to join the gym, game over, I loved it,” Dove explained.
Dove joined the gym at Life Time near her home in Vernon Hills, Illinois, and began to work with certified personal trainer Stephanie Kandzierski to ease back into exercise.
“For Lisa, once she found her why, it was so strong. She had dedication, determination, self-discipline as her tools,” Kandzierski told GMA via email.
“The person I met on day one was intimidated by the gym, a bit more reserved. I could see her bubbly side but her sparkle wasn’t here,” the trainer continued. “As time kept moving on and Lisa continuously had week-over-week progress, she started to become herself and truly shine.”
At first, Dove started with just walking and slowly worked her way up to the elliptical machine, strength training, weightlifting and returned to doing cardio, something she used to do when she was younger.
Soon enough, Dove began to see more than just physical changes.
“[My endocrinologist] would monitor my A1C and it was doing phenomenal, and as I was losing the weight, we were able to take off each and every medicine,” she said. “Now, my A1C is right where it needs to be, [I’m] not diabetic, not pre-diabetic, and I am not on any diabetic medicines at all. So, it’s a good feeling.”
By May 2022, Dove had lost nearly 160 pounds and hit her goal weight of 140 pounds. Today, she said she’s determined to maintain her healthy weight and hopes her personal journey can inspire others who want to lose weight and regain their health too.
“I feel if my story can even help one person, that’s enough for me,” she said. “Because at one point, I was that one person that needed help.”
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