Laura Lost 131 Pounds!

Laura's After PhotoAge: 42
Height: 5’4”
Start Weight: 268 pounds
Final Weight: 137 pounds
Total Loss: 131 pounds!
Start Clothing Size: 24
Final Clothing Size: 6-8
Laura’s Personal Journal: Elle’s Place

“I was too fat for a heart transplant
… and then Kimkins saved my life”

Before I begin, I want to say that it has been extremely difficult for me to put together my story because I am a very private person.  I thought about it over the past year and it wouldn’t be fair to not share it with you.  Kimkins changed my life.
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My name is Laura and I’ve been struggling with my weight since I was a young girl.  Most of you know or share the same story:  dieting over the years and trying every plan out there!
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So my story goes as a young girl hitting puberty who had always been told, “But you have such a pretty face … if you could just lose the weight.”  Did they think I wanted to be fat?  I remember being teased by the boys as a teenager.  It used to make me so angry.
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My first experience with dieting was in the 6th grade.  It was an after school program where all the fat kids would meet.  They weighed us all in and we would write down our foods for the day.  The first week I lost 5 pounds!  I was so excited and so were the counselors.  That only lasted a few weeks, then junior high rolled around and then high school.  I shed a few pounds in high school … just enough to not be in the obese category.
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A few years out of high school I went on a diet program called Quick Weight Loss Clinic where I lost 80 lbs in 4 months.  I felt great and was so proud of myself.  I ran out and bought all new clothes.  Of course I didn’t stay with the program where they taught you how to “maintain”.  I quickly gained it all back … and then some.
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A few years went by and I got married.  I had reached my all time high weight after giving birth to my daughter.  My friends had introduced me to Phen-Fen where it was sweeping the country with its fabulous results.  Again, I quickly lost 80+ pounds in 5 months.  This was the craziest plan yet, walking around feeling bitchy & cranky and never wanting to eat.  Yet again, I could feel that it wasn’t going to be permanent weight loss.
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In fact, I regained all the weight plus more and then tried many fad diets to retrieve the weight loss I had before.  I literally gave up this vicious cycle because I knew I would never be able to keep the weight off.  I loved food too much to be able to limit myself.  I was never a stress eater, nor did I binge.  My family could never understand how I was so heavy when I never really ate like an obese person might.

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Laura's Before & After 1

I was so depressed for years.  I would stay away from any type of function or make excuses for not attending.  I avoided taking pictures with family or with my little girl.  I let myself get so out of control that I hit a whopping 268 pounds.
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I remember the last weekend I had spent with my family at that weight.  We were at a water park and I overheard a teenage boy talking to his dad about me and making fun of me.  I had never been so mortified in all my life!  I made an excuse to leave the water park and headed back to the hotel where I cried myself to sleep.  My life felt like it was spinning out of control.  How could people be so cruel?
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The very next day is when I realized I had to take control and do something so this would never happen to me again.  I surfed the internet and came the Kimkins website.  After reading the success stories how could I not at least give it a try?
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I joined Kimkins and did really well.  I lost 28 pounds in my first month!  I made friends with lots of incredible women and then all the drama started with the lawsuit.  I started to fade away from the website and abandon my plan for health.
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During this time I started to not feel well and this is where my story turns into my nightmare.  I had been under so much stress with my employer and my blood pressure was skyrocketing!  I was not taking my blood pressure or thyroid meds and landed myself in the hospital.
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I woke up and was told I was in heart failure and needed a heart transplant, but wouldn’t be eligible for one.  I thought I was having a nightmare.  What are they talking about?  I knew I wasn’t feeling well, but a heart transplant???
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All I kept thinking about was my daughter who was only 11 years old and she was going to have to grow up without a mother.  I couldn’t grasp anything they were telling me in the hospital.  Why was this happening to me???
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They tried to keep me calm, but made it clear that I wasn’t going on the heart transplant list because I was too fat.  Yes, too fat!  The cardiologist said they will not give a new heart to an obese patient.  I felt like someone had ripped my heart right out of my chest.  The cardiologist said, “Stay calm, Laura, because stress makes your condition worse.”  Stay calm???  The doctor told me, “All you can do is go home and make yourself comfortable, Laura, because you will never recover from this.”
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They called my condition ‘idiopathic cardiomyopathy‘.  My heart ejection fraction was 15% [normal is 50-65%].  I was told I only had a 30% chance of living.  If I survived I would never have a normal healthy heart.
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After spending a week in the Critical Care Unit I went home and tried to act like everything was normal.  My daughter had no clue about what was happening to her mommy.  I didn’t want to concern her … she just knew mommy was sick.
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At this time I also realized I had to get myself right with the Lord.  I prayed everyday.  I cried every day.  When I was alone I’d cry, scream and get it all out before anyone got home.
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There was no way in hell I was going to let me daughter grow up without me.  I knew what I had to do.  I had to lose weight so I could, indeed, get the heart transplant I needed to survive.  I stood up and took control. I refused to go down without a fight!

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Laura Before & After2

I knew having appointments with my doctor every few weeks would be helpful.  I was also being accountable for my weight loss with the scale.  A few weeks went by and I was already feeling better.  I had hope.  I knew I had to get to 150 pounds in order to be eligible for the heart transplant list.
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I logged back into my Kimkins account.  I didn’t really post, but read posts from other members and got started on Kimkins again.  I lost 10 pounds my first week.  I needed to post.  I needed it for me and for my self esteem.  I needed to share my weight losses with others.  I needed the support.
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So I asked Kimmer to please keep me a secret.  I was previously a Kimkins poster girl on the homepage.  I was bullied by others saying that I wasn’t who I said I was.  I had to keep stress low for my heart condition.
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For this reason I came back as “Elster”.  I only shared who I really was with a handful of Kimkins ladies.  I was much too scared to tell anyone who I was for fear that the “haters” would try to get me to leave the Kimkins site.  I really needed this program and it was my life on the line.  So I hid out and continued to do the Kimkins program and watched myself melt away.  It killed me knowing I had friends on the website who had no idea who I was.  I started a personal journal and kept myself involved in a few challenge groups.
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I had my first nuclear test heart test done.  It had been 6 months since my heart failure diagnosis.  Now I had lost nearly 70 pounds.  I had a completely different outlook on my life knowing I was possibly going to be able to make the heart transplant list.  I felt great!  My doctors were taken back by my progress and my attitude.  Did they not know who they were dealing with here?
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When my test results came back my ejection rate has increased to 45% and my cardiologist had no explanation.  This was the same doctor who said I’d never get above 30%.  “Impossible,” was his exact word.  He said a miracle was happening to me.  He asked me to bring in the diet program I was doing.  I brought in the Kimkins plan and he approved it.  He said, “This is wonderful, Laura.  Keep up the great work!”  [The Kimkins way of eating] was exactly what he would tell patients to do:  cut the white carbs and fat.
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I was finally able to see some light at the end of my tunnel.  I would finally be shopping in the normal sizes (and I hadn’t shopped in years).
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One day I was in the department store and picked out some cute black slacks.  I headed to the dressing room and slipped them on with ease.  They were a size 8!  I felt my legs turn to Jello and went down to my knees.  I saw myself in the mirror and for the first time I saw the person that was inside my fat rolls looking back at me.  This is the girl who was hiding all of these years!  I sat and cried for a few minutes.  I kept looking at the clothing tag.  It had to be wrong … it just had to be.  I felt like I wanted to shout to the whole store, “Look at me!  I’m wearing size 8!” I started at size 24 and now I was wearing a size 8!
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A few more months passed and I continued with my plan.  I would shake things up here and there and try the different Kimkins plans.  I knew I had to stay focused because it was a matter of life or death.
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My one year mark was approaching and I had another heart scan.  My heart ejection rate was now up to 50% and I was down 100 pounds!  When I was given my test results I told the doctor I thought he had the wrong patient chart.  He said my test results were reading normal.  How could that be?  I had many different problems with my echocardiogram reports for my heart, but now it was all normal.  My doctor had no answer other than, “Keep doing what you’re doing, Laura.”  I was taking 12 different medications and was taken off all of them.  I went to my car, held my face in my hands and thought to myself, “Lord, thank you for giving me a healed heart!”
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I followed up with my primary care doctor and she told everyone I was the “poster child for health”.  She said everyone should follow me because I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing to obtain a good health report.  My cholesterol went from abnormal to normal and I was taken off my cholesterol meds.
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Everyone wanted my secret to success like it was a magic potion!  Another year passed and I lost another 30 pounds.  I had my third heart scan done and my heart ejection rate was now 65%.  65% is the highest ejection fraction your heart can receive.
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I wasn’t getting the answers I wanted regarding my heart condition so I transferred doctors.  My new doctor was very pleasant and said I was one of the lucky ones because I had what doctors call “viral cardiomyopathy”.
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Because I took control and got my health back I was now no longer sick!  I left from his office with the biggest smile thinking to myself, “See, you have no idea who you’re dealing with!  I told you I wouldn’t let this word ‘cardiomyopathy’ take control of my destiny.  I am in charge of my destiny.”  I’m down to only 1 medication and will be coming off of it this year.
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Now I run into people I know and they have no clue who I am!  When they finally realize it’s ‘me’ their response is always the same, “OMG, you’re a completely new person!”  I stand proud and say, “Yes, I am a completely new person!”  I even had the excess skin removed from my tummy area recently.
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I stumbled a lot along my weight loss journey, but I never gave up.  I had cheats, but I never fell completely off the wagon.  I had many days thinking, “Why did this [heart condition] happen to me?”   I am so thankful that this did happen to me!  I wouldn’t change a thing because it was exactly what I needed.  Sometimes we need a slap upside our head to make us realize that we’re taking our health for granted.  I cherish each and every day.  I live by my Kimkins meal plans.
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Kimkins saved my life and all of the wonderful people on the website gave me hope.  Along the way nobody knew all that I was dealing with.  I never let on that I was in a serious situation with my health.  I wanted to stay positive, but sometimes I felt so alone.  I couldn’t share at home because I didn’t want to alarm my family with my fears.  There have been many life changing moments during my journey, but none that could ever compare to getting my health back.
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I cannot express enough how thankful I am to Heidi Diaz for keeping the Kimkins website up through all of her own ups and downs with the lawsuit.  She kept it alive for all of us.  I am LIVING PROOF that Kimkins will make a difference in your life.
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All of my doctors have told me that I am a medical miracle.  I took back my health and it changed my life regardless of my diagnoses.  “One day at a time” is my new motto.  I am completely healthy and living my life again.

Thank you, Heidi.  Thank you for changing my life.  I am a proud Kimkins loser!
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PS – Kimkins members can read Laura’s personal journal here.

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