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“You can’t pour from an empty cup so, take care of yourself first.” ~ Aryan BansalIn life we constantly search for a comfortable rhythm with the choices that we make. Life would be simple if choos- ing the best option each and every time were not so complicated. Oftentimes our choices lead to unhealthy circumstances in our lives. These circumstances canbe related to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Oftentimes one blunder leads to another, jumpstarting a downward spiral that is difficult to stop.Finding the will, means, and knowl- edge to turn one’s life around and strug- gle through the long journey back to a healthy life might be the most challenging task that one is faced with. It requires a great deal of patience. Although not easy, life changes can be made. It’s never too late.Wattles Park Elementary second grade teacher, Alisha Hantz has experi- enced this process of climbing out of an abyss firsthand. Back in April of 2018, Alisha topped the scales at 335 pounds. As a wife and mom of a nine-year-oldgirl, Audrey, a five-year-old boy, Isaacand two-year-old triplets, Drake, Everly, and Rowan, Alisha had devoted her lifeto being a wife, mom, and teacher. Alisha finally came to the realization that in order to uphold her personal and professional responsibilities she needed to take care of herself. This did not entail giving up her responsibilities at home and at school, but it would require her to shift someof her time and efforts to get her health back where it needed to be so that she could be the best wife, mom, and teacher that she could be. Ten months later Alisha is down to 215 pounds. Her journey in losing 120 pounds in body weight would not have been possible without the sup- port and inspiration from her family and friends but her patience and will power during this process has been the catalyst. There is still more to be written in this chapter of her life. Alisha remains focused in continuing her weight loss journey.This is not Alisha’s first go around at losing weight. Her roller coaster ride with24 SCENE 4403 I EDUCATION ISSUEHow BadlyBY GALE FISCHERobesity began back in 2000 after gradu- ating from high school. The change and lack of routine when becoming a college student would play a role in Alisha’s initial weight gain. “I gained my first roundof weight after high school in 2000. I weighed about 155 pounds when gradu- ating high school. I didn’t have a normal meal routine when I began college.”Alisha’s motivation for her first round of weight loss at that time came from her upcoming wedding. “I was married in 2007 and lost 25 pounds for my wed- ding. I would gain it back again after the wedding. I kept my weight at about 240 pounds until 2009 when my first child, Audrey, was born.” During her pregnancy Alisha’s roller coaster ride would creep upwards again as she hit the 275 pound mark.A year later Alisha would become pregnant for a second time, leading to another spike in her weight. This time a molar pregnancy led to loosing the baby and a physical, mental, and emotional tailspin. Her weight would increase again to around 300 pounds.In May 2012 she started a dietprogram called Ideal Protein and lost 40 pounds over the course of three months She was pleased with her success but another pregnancy would put a halt to her accomplishments. Her focus on the preg- nancy and being a wife and mom left her efforts of taking care of herself a non-pri- ority once again. She would be thrown into another bout of weight gain. After her son was born she lost another 40 pounds but soon eclipsed 300 pounds.A planned family vacation would provide the push for Alisha to give the Ideal Protein weight loss program another try. “The main reason that I got on board for a second round of Ideal Protein was because we were going to Disney World for Spring Break and I wanted to be able to ride the rides with my kids. I lost 78 pounds over the course of four months. I was now 220 pounds.”Alisha’s third pregnancy would lead her off track again. “I did really well and maintained this weight until I became pregnant with my triplets Drake, Everly, and Rowan in May of 2016. I was toldby my gynecologist to consume more calories because I was carrying triplets. The physical change in my body because of carrying triplets was causing me to be hungry all the time. I was also on bed rest the last six weeks.”The inactivity was throwing fuel on Alisha’s weight gain fire. “By the time the triplets were born, January of 2017, my weight had shot up to 333 pounds. I was huge. I had to wear a belly band and I dreaded going to bed because it wasso uncomfortable.” Though she lost the weight from the triplets after birth, her body weight would climb to an all-time high for her. “I stayed at home with the triplets and really focused on taking care of them and not myself. My weight began to creep back up eventually topping out at 335 pounds.”Physically she felt uncomfortable. Getting down on the floor and back up to interact with her children was taxing.It was something simple but veryD

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