Today, we’re sharing the amazing journey of one of our very own SHAPE Warriors, Sue Bittfield. Sue spent a lifetime with weight issues and reached a point of no return. She discovered SHAPE ReClaimed and has been revitalized to tell her tale.
In my kindergarten picture, I was skin and bones. In my first grade picture, I was a fat butterball. And I battled a weight problem for the next 54 years. I worked with 21 doctors, dietitians and weight loss “experts”, and I’ve been on virtually every weight loss program. Initially, I had success, but each time would hit a plateau. All the professionals accused me of eating more than I should or eating unapproved foods. Not true. I ate exactly as I was instructed.
Professionals’ inability to help me break through the plateaus eventually led to my giving up. I resumed old habits and ate my way to 425 pounds. I had been blessed with relatively good health until 2013 when my blood pressure, blood sugar and other numbers started to enter the danger zone. My doctor said, “If you don’t do something, you are headed for trouble.” Since every diet had failed me, I swore I would never “diet” again but would exercise off the excess weight.
In five and a half years years, I managed to release 86 pounds. I desperately needed both knees replaced. No surgeon would touch me because of my weight. I investigated gastric bypass, even though I said I would never have the surgery for these reasons:
- If I didn’t change what I did or fix what was broken in my body, it wouldn’t work.
- I would have to live on limited food intake, and the truth is, I like to eat.
- Nearly everyone I have ever known who had gastric bypass regained all the weight, if not more.
I learned about SHAPE ReClaimed from a fellow lap swimmer. We had gone about nine weeks without seeing each other at the pool, but I noticed that her body shape had changed dramatically. She explained what she’d been doing, but I was not interested in another “diet.” However, when my health insurance refused to cover gastric bypass, I chose to see a SHAPE practitioner who explained that my body was riddled with inflammation and I needed to adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Honestly, it sounded like quackery, but I was desperate.
About two and a half months after starting the SHAPE ReClaimed program, I was hopeful when I saw an orthopedic surgeon. However, he said, “Go home, lose another 130 pounds, and come back and see me.” I hadn’t even lost the 130 pounds yet. How on earth was I ever going to lose another 130? I was devastated and resigned myself to spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair.
A couple days later, I had my weekly appointment with my SHAPE practitioner. She assured me I would release the weight. I whined constantly for the next couple months until she threatened to come to my house and confiscate my scale. What I didn’t understand then, but came to understand after attending a Warrior event with Dr. Todd Frisch and Linda, is SHAPE ReClaimed is not a weight loss program. It is a health restoration program. As I sat there and heard the stories of incredible healing from 67 other Warriors, I walked away with a totally different perspective.
Per my SHAPE practitioner’s recommendation, I did a micronutrient test to assess how I was absorbing nutrients from the food I was eating. The results were shocking. I was not absorbing protein properly, I was severely deficient in five vitamins and six minerals and was borderline deficient in several others. My SHAPE practitioner put me on supplements to address the deficiencies and I finally began seeing significant progress on the scale.
I remember saying during my initial consultation with my SHAPE practitioner, “I’m going to be on Phase I: FasTrac forever.” She smiled and said, “Not forever, but for a long time.” Honestly, the next 22 months blew by. Just 11 months after starting SHAPE ReClaimed, my surgeon scheduled my first knee replacement. Two months later, I had my second. I have gone from bedridden to walking 18 holes of golf a day in less than a year.
As I write this, I am sitting in a condo in Kauai, Hawaii, after hiking, swimming in the Pacific Ocean, climbing mountains and enjoying other activities I could never have dreamed of doing months ago.
My primary care physicians now admit they did not know how to help me and my orthopedic surgeon is now referring patients who need to improve their health before surgery to SHAPE practitioners. So many former students, parents, colleagues, and fellow gym friends are now on SHAPE ReClaimed because they have watched my transformation. I am off all prescription medications, I no longer require a CPAP machine, my eye pressure has decreased in both eyes, and I am now growing new toenails on toes I have not for years despite using topical ointments and taking pills.
I thank God every day for Dr. Todd and Linda Frisch, my SHAPE practitioner and my SHAPE Warrior family.
While in Hawaii, I planted this seed of thought for everyone on the beach:
Want to share your own Warrior Story? Send your story in 1000 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your story is chosen, we will edit according to SHAPE ReClaimed’s editorial guidelines and share it here on the blog!