She watched in horror as the needles on her bathroom scale hovered round the 289 pound mark. DeAnna Smith gritted her teeth and muttered those eternal words: enough is enough.
It was the beginning of her quest for soundness in physical health something that had eluded her for various reasons.
Today her scale acknowledges an astonishing weight loss —144 pounds - accomplished, she is delighted to say, in the "real world."
She feels good about herself. She has won the plaudits of her contemporaries at Conway Corporation, where she is employed in the field of human resources.
More so, this winsome matron is engaging and congenial, living life to the fullest.
She talks about her weight loss patiently, being forthright with the struggles she encountered along the way. There were no quick fixes in her regimen, no fancy-schmancy methods to ease the torturous path to redemption, so to speak.
She feels comfortable in the "real world."
"I don’t eat special things, swallow magic pills and eat only this and not that."
She was astute enough to be wary of those "happy pills" that promise fantastic results in incredibly short time.
And especially, she chuckled at that facetious advice offered by the humorist Mark Twain who once famously said:
"Eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like and do what you’d rather not," Bad advice for one in the throes of dieting.
When Smith allows entry into her lifestyle of another time, she talks of traveling round the world with her military mate, being engaged in the stressful vicissitudes of military life.
"When I got into stressful situations, I ate and I ate. Four years of a stand in Germany put me in a lifestyle of eating sumptuous meals, and that didn’t help my weight. We just had to have the full experience of living a Germanic life and that didn’t help either." Again she paid the price of high life. No longer was she the slim, small person who once was a cheerleader for the Wampus Cats.
After 17 years away from Conway, traipsing around the world, Smith had virtually reinvented herself.
"And when I got home, I could feel people wondering what had happened to me in the interval."
Back in Conway four years ago, she entered a new phase of living. She was employed at Conway Corp, mingling with her fellow employees and finding agreement with the crowd, especially with the talk of weight loss so prevalent among women.
This became an important avenue for Smith to take because her young son was combating diabetes. Now it was critical that she lose weight in the face of the diabetic threat. Getting more exercise and eating a healthier diet became paramount approaches to living in this family.
Enter Kellie Dye, a registered dietician whose approach to weight loss is predicated on weight management support groups that promise nothing but personal nutrition and plans to help meet an individual’s weight goal.
Operating out of the Conway Regional Fitness Center, Dye offers two weekly meetings of a weight management support group for a nominal fee. Many in these groups have registered large successes.
Dye’s is not a diet; it is the opportunity to make a lifestyle change and not merely lose weight in a yoyo fashion.
"I didn’t know how far I could go, only that it was essential that I move in that direction. I felt it was doable. And now I weigh in at 142 pounds, happy with my nutrition plan, a plan that fits my nutrition needs."
Never, she said, was she inclined to embrace a diet plan that promised so many benefits — quick fixes — "Lose 50 pounds in the next 10 weeks," for example, "I guess I’m from the old school who believes that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Conversely, she is happy with a plan that allows for a moderate weight loss. "I’ll probably always quote Kellie Dye who believes that the loss of a half pound to a pound a week is what your body needs to do. More than that and you’re causing all sorts of problems. It’s a snail’s pace, of course, but it pays off. In fact, for me, I lost 100 pounds in the first year of my plan. And the second year I lost almost 50 pounds."
She agrees that her plan demands dedication. Also a certain resolve and tenacity. But if you feel it is worth it, you will "fall in line and do it," she believes.
So today’s regimen for her translates to arising at 4:30 a.m., appearing at the gym at 5, working out until 6 and then back home to attend to the needs of a husband and two sons. She’s back at the gym after work for a short workout.
"I love to walk. I’d rather walk than do anything else. And when I do, I feel better and my days are better. It’s my lifestyle.
"So I walk and do strength exercises in a program that fits my needs. And, of course, I eat judiciously. My husband is a phenomenal cook, and he is able to prepare meals that are part of the plan. So it’s kind of a role reversal for him and me. It’s been a challenge for him, but he has taken it on without complaint. He’s retired from the Air Force and you can find him at home."
So at 47 years of age, DeAnna Smith can said to be a happy weight loss marvel.