By Mary Bily Westfall, Physical Education teacher at Bonham Academy
I knew from the time I started playing sports at Runge High School that I wanted to be a coach. I participated in basketball, volleyball, track, tennis and golf! Entering into college, I continued my athleticism with intramurals. What a blast! I was a very active and involved young adult, and kept up a healthy lifestyle. After graduating from UTSA and receiving my teaching certificate, I got married, began teaching and coaching for SAISD and started a family.
As time passed, my healthy lifestyle seemed to diminish. As if often happens, I put many other things before my health. And as you can imagine, I gained weight. Throughout my 18 years of teaching, I always had good intentions of losing weight and being well. Many attempts of Jazzercise, joining a gym, neighborhood walks, swimming and diets created a viscous cycle of losing and gaining weight.
In January 2013, I began what I then thought was just a diet — but now know to be a lifestyle change. Looking for motivation and seeking to find the right type of diet, I participated in a 3-day detox and tried the well-known Daniel Fast. With moderate exercise and trying to “eat right,” I was able to shed 30 pounds within 6 months. At that point, my body hit a plateau and I was not able to lose any more weight.
I was so happy about losing 30 pounds and feeling somewhat better, I wanted more of this feeling both mentally and physically. I was still visiting the doctor for my knee problem, high cholesterol and GERD, and I knew that more weight needed to be lost. At that time, I weighed 249 pounds with a waist measurement of 42.5 inches.
Being obese is not something that goes hand and hand with what I do for a living. I was an unfit and severely overweight physical education teacher lacking both confidence and being a good role model for my students.
Other obstacles made me realize that I needed to make some serious health changes. My dad had Alzheimer’s and my mom is an Alzheimer’s patient with severe arterial problems. My thoughts were, “Mary, if you want to help your grandchildren grow, you need to get a move on…” With the support of my husband and sons… I made the call! I decided to get serious, and called a physician-supervised weight loss program in San Antonio called Medi-Weightloss®.
This program offered the tools, individualized medical and educational support to help me win the weight-loss battle. The doctor and his medical professionals prescribed my weight loss plan based on my goals, health, and medical history.
After twelve weeks in the program, I lost 40.9 pounds. What an accomplishment! Keeping a nutritional and exercise journal was a huge help. The counseling and motivation I received from my program, as well as God’s given will and discipline, has helped me lose an astounding 86.8 pounds. I now weigh 162 pounds with a waist measurement of 31.5 inches. When people ask me, “how much weight have you lost?” I can honestly answer, “113 pounds since January 2013!”
I am happy to say that I have never felt so well in a very long time. I no longer take medication for GERD or high cholesterol and my knee problem has disappeared. Exercise has been a lot of fun and I finally have the desire to “go for a jog.” I am amazed about how I feel when I am jogging. Before I know it, I have jogged down the road, passed the pizza station, around the corner and down the stairs to the San Antonio River.
I am more motivated than ever before and my energy level has tripled. I am a more confident Physical Education teacher with more passion than before. My students often share how happy and proud they are of my accomplishments. I, too, am happy and proud of my accomplishments! I look forward to what the future holds with this new healthful lifestyle change and watching God’s plan unfold.