Featured Guest Post: Denise Grdnic
A mutual friend suggested that I contact Denise to learn of her transformation and to potentially feature her in this Health & Wellness segment. And I'm so glad I did. Denise's story is nothing short of miraculous. She's gone from a diabetic with life-threatening symptoms, to a fit and healthy woman who now can uplift and inspire others. She's lost over 100 pounds and has a new lease on life.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m 42 years old, and I live in Conway, PA with my husband of 16 years Dale. We have two beautiful pugs named Luna Rae and Layla Leigh. I currently work as Utilization Review Nurse at an insurance company in Pittsburgh.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE IN THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS Industry. WHY IS THIS SUCH A PASSION FOR YOU?
Well, I think my role is to motivate and help others learn what you can do with hard work and focus. If you had told me that 18 months ago, I would have laughed. I was 40 years old with no idea how to lose the weight I had gained since college. I swam in high school and played soccer in college. My eating habits never changed, but my lifestyle did.
Today, I look at exercise as an outlet. I came to understand that what I put in my body had a dramatic effect on how I felt, how I perceived the world, and my reaction to it.
Today, 110 pounds after my journey began, I’m a cheerleader and educator for those who think they can't lose the weight or even contemplate taking an exercise class. I also finally learned that "me time" is good for me. I take my exercise seriously, and I enjoy every minute because I'm doing it for me.
I feel that my weight loss journey has inspired others. I talk about it. I sweat at gym class with friends. I didn’t start my journey with that in mind. I did it for myself. But the positive energy that surrounds me now is amazing and overwhelming.
WHAT IS ONE THING OR EVENT THAT HAS TRANSFORMED YOUR LIFE IN THE BIGGEST WAY?
December 26-27, 2016 was the moment. I had an allergic reaction, and the doctor put me on prednisone. I’m diabetic. I was driving to work and realized the street signs were blurry. I called my brother-in-law (a PCP), and he told me to stop eating carbs. It was that simple. Within three days, my vision was back to normal, and my blood sugar (that was as high as 300) normalized or at least started to trend down.
Three weeks later, I saw my PCP and noticed a 20+-pound weight loss. I was so suprised! My brother-in-law helped me realize the weight loss wasn’t a miracle, but it was the effect of cutting the carbs out of my life. I stopped eat bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes overnight. Cold turkey. It was a huge turning point for me.
I'm not perfect. I let myself have chocolate – but one piece not 20. I have a slice of pizza now and then – but not every week. I have learned to enjoy food and how it tastes. I also found out that food I used to crave doesn’t taste as good. Cake, even from Bethel Bakery, is really just a slice of sugar. My body doesn’t like it anymore, and I was really surprised at that.
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND WHY?
Without a doubt, my husband Dale. He is my chef and grocer. Not once during our journey did he say no. He changed the way he cooked overnight. We stopped having protein and carbs every night for dinner. We started eating half a plate of veggies and portions of protein. He bought more fresh foods and stopped buying pre-made "crap" with all the preservatives. Without Dale’s help, especially with shopping and cooking, I may not have made it to a 100-pound weight loss in a year.
I also can't leave out my sister Donna or her husband Chris. Those two got me started working out and have encouraged me the entire way! My sister has always worked out ... yoga, bar class, spin. It was amazing to tell them where I was, what my goals were, and where I was going next. They were my cheerleaders, and I appreciate them so much. I find that my sister and I are closer now. We compete sometimes over who did what exercise or who can hold a pose longer in yoga.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN? ANY GUILTY PLEASURES?
I really like to be outside and exercising. I ride a bike, walk, or kayak in the summer. These are activities I haven’t done since I was a teenager.
Guilty pleasure ... I have a piece of chocolate almost every day. But just one piece. I don’t eat a bag of M&M's. I eat three. I enjoy the taste, and the calories aren’t wasted.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU WOULD GIVE SOMEONE TRYING TO OPTIMIZE THEIR HEALTH?
- You can do anything you put your mind to.
- Start your journey with one change. Focus on that change, and make it a habit.
- If you want to lose weight, focus on what you put in your mouth first. Often, we exercise and expect the weight to fall off. It doesn't happen that way. Be aware of how you fuel your body.
- You need support. Find your cheerleaders. Talk to them about how you feel and where you are going on your journey. That support is amazing and so very motivating. I promise.
Give us your contact info!
Facebook: Denise Grdnic
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