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oYouWantIt?She realized that looking after her own well-being and the well-being of her family were tied together. Her emotional and physical health needed to be a priority in order for her to effectively take care of her family.Dimportant to her that became the last straw for Alisha.Through her years of up and down weight, Alisha realized that she was not really taking care of herself, but she was in denial of the consequences of failing to do so. Suddenly it was like an epiphany.“I noticed that my food choices were terrible. I decided that I needed to take care of myself. I did lose 12 pounds through a diet competition at work as part of a New Year’s resolution, but I gained it right back. In April of 2018 I decided I was ready to commit again to Ideal Protein.”Alisha’s body weight was as high as it had ever been. She was tired of spin- ning her wheels in the sand. “I was at 335 pounds. As of January 2019 I had dropped down to 215 pounds. The first 100 pounds that I lost was for my kids but after that I decided the rest that I would lose would be for me. Right nowI don’t have a number goal but there are a pair of pants that I want to fit in that keeps me on track.” Alisha has since met her goal of fitting into her pants but she is not finished yet.Sticking with a diet plan is no easy feat while trying to raise five young children and being a full time teacher. Alisha has learned that just as she can’t take a day off from being a mom she can’t take a day off from her diet either. “My meal is usually an adaptation of what I cook for my family. “Although Alisha tries to keepit to one common family menu for the evening meal it is not always easy to align the stars in this fashion. “Sometimes Iam cooking three meals, one for me,one for my triplets and one for the restof my family. I have been disciplined and not cheated. Even for Thanksgiving and Christmas I was able to stick to my plan. The longer that I have gone the easier that it has become. It has just become my norm. Throughout this process there have been birthdays and celebrations but I have stuck to it.”The feeling of exhaustion that Alisha felt while carrying around more than 100 pounds more than what she carries on her frame today has not totally disap- peared. “I don’t necessarily have more energy but I attribute that to teaching twenty five 2nd grade kids during the day and taking care of my five children. Physically I feel great. I am now able to get down on the floor with the kids and play with them and get back up. I can do things now that I wasn’t able to before mobility wise before.”Alisha’s physical transformation has led to a mental transformation as well. She has gained confidence in herself with what she has accomplished in her jour- ney. “I feel happier than what I was. I feel better about myself. I am more confident. The way I look has given me more con- fidence and the accomplishment of not cheating with my food intake while losing the weight has given me confidence.”Alisha has taken her story to others in hopes of making a difference. “I post my milestones on Facebook. I am thirty-six years old, I have five kids and I have lost 120 pounds. I want to inspire others. I have realized that sharing my story with others will not only help them but it will also help to keep me on track”Alisha’s family has been supportive. She tries not to push the issue but is hoping that they will follow her lead in trying to lead healthy lives. “My kids are attempting to try new things with their diets. My husband wants to eat what I eat but he also wants his treats. I would like to see him lose weight just to get him healthy. He is just not ready for it yet.”As Alisha continues with this chapterin her life she will eventually stop shed- ding pounds, hitting her ideal weight. She does not see this milestone as an end to this journey however. “I feel like this jour- ney doesn’t stop. There is still weight that can be lost. My daughter Audrey always asks me when I am going to get off my diet. I always tell her it’s not a diet but a lifestyle change”Alisha would like to add an exercise component to her new routine as wellbut will have to wait a little longer for this. “I want to get back into more physical fitness. I can’t right now because I am not consuming enough calories.”Alisha wants to be a role model for others. She wants to use her example to push others into making healthy chang- es, but she also realizes committing to such a change is a complex undertaking. Not everyone is on the same page atthe same time. “I honestly feel that you have to be ready physically and mentally for sacrifices in order to succeed at this. Once you are there then you have to commit. When you cheat you only cheat yourself. It’s not worth it to cheat. Nobody wants to go backwards.”On the surface it would appear that Alisha’s story provides an example ofan individual having the will, desire, and patience to lose body weight, with anend goal of avoiding the pitfalls of obesity. She has certainly provided the narrative for this exact story. If one looks beyond this however and analyzes the plot of her story the central message is one that runs much deeper than sticking to a diet. One cannot help or take care of others while letting their own needs and even someof their wants left behind. Taking care of others becomes more and more difficult in time if you do not take care of your- self. It is impossible to keep others from drowning if you are struggling to keep your own head above water. This epiph- any is what jump started Alisha’s journey. If her journey is to continue in a positive manner she will have to continue to follow this guideline. Keep it going Alisha.EDUCATION ISSUE I SCENE 4403 25

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