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My Weight Was Making Me Sick

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For Pam El, life was sweet. The 51-year-old had a wonderful husband who was also her best friend, she maintained a fulfilling career as the Vice-President of Marketing for State Farm Insurance and had a true passion for life. But what most of her friends and family didn't know was that she was suffering from high blood pressure and was teetering on being a diabetic. ESSENCE.com found out how this sister lost 70 pounds (and counting), drastically improved her health and how you can shed unwanted weight too.

ESSENCE.COM: You're an ambitious career woman. Why couldn't you lose weight until now?
PAM EL: It was a case of already being very happy and satisfied. I was content with who I was, what I was doing, and who I had in my life. I knew I had a weight issue but I also knew that I didn't let that stop me. So I was 217 pounds, 5-feet, 2-inches tall, size 18, but I was still very energetic and on-the-go all the time. A lot of time weight depresses people. My weight didn't depress me; it was just a little bit of an inconvenience. I just didn't take the time to stop and ask, How can I make this better for myself from a physical standpoint?

ESSENCE.COM: So what was different this time?
EL: Number one was my motivation. I knew I needed a change in my life. I always ate pretty good food but I ate way too much of it. My issue was portion control. I also travel a lot so the fruit are great for me to just throw in my bag and go. I've been on the Four Day Diet now a little more than a year and I'm sticking to it. I still have to go to a lot of business dinners at restaurants, but my mindset has changed. Now I know I don't have to eat the bread just because they put it on the table. In fact, you can ask them not to bring it to you. Also, I now exercise twice a day, four or five times a week.

ESSENCE.COM: What do you have to say to women who think they can't do it because they are just meant to be "big boned" or simply think it is hereditary for them to be heavy?
EL: Get started. Try to lose three to five pounds and get a good resource to help you. Mine was Dr. Ian's book "The Four Day Diet" (St. Martin's Press). Once those first three to five pounds come off, you're hooked and you will no longer believe that you can't do it. I am off my high blood pressure medication and no longer at risk for being a diabetic. Once you set your mind to it, you can do anything.

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