I have had several of my clients and listeners of my show tell me I have got to write a blog. Also, my eldest daughter Amanda has told me this on MANY occasions. Sure I write books, and have written countless articles for magazines and newspapers in my lifetime, but the blog thing was something I only attempted once when on my mission to complete my first half marathon.
I really enjoyed it, but sometimes let the days slip from me and let the business of life keep me from doing it regularly.
So here goes attempt number two. My goal is to have something on here at least three times a week. Some weeks it may not be much, but there will be something!
For those who do not know me, I thought an introduction would be good for a first blog. Today, I run this company called The Bariatric Guru and host a weekly radio show on the Gulf Coast out of Mobile, AL called Fit Living. This is all in addition to a full time job with Wrist USA. No, the words bored never come out of my mouth.
I am a wife and a mom to five kids and soon to be a grandmother to a sweet little girl in September.
You could say life gets crazy in the Akey house for sure! But I love my life and wouldn’t have it any other way. Seven years ago, I was living in Bay St. Louis, MS and was a single mom and very lonely. I had these awesome three boys, and they were my world, but I was overweight, had no self esteem, and my personal life was horrid.
Then in August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit. Yes the eye passed right over my town (not New Orleans as many think- they got the horrible flooding the next day) My entire neighborhood was wiped from the map and my life as I knew it would never be the same.
This is my home following the arrival of Miss Katrina. Note my son’s dresser in a tree to the right.
My company transferred me to Mobile, AL where I had previously been going to work one day a week. It was also where I had met a wonderful man named Ben Akey. We were introduced by a mutual friend and I liked him, but was not into long distance relationships. Once I landed in Mobile, shell-shocked and dazed and with three boys who’s lives had literally been ripped from them, Ben became a great friend. He helped me learn my way around Mobile and we fell in love and got married in May of 2006. I now had this incredible husband and two beautiful step daughters.
So, now this horrible thing in my life had turned into the biggest blessing ever. (Yes it is the topic of my first book After The Rain)
In 2008 we started a hurricane relief charity called Eyeofthestormrelief.org after Gustav hit Louisiana and Ike hit Texas. I had been so blessed since my loss that I felt the need to give something back. So did my boys and so did Ben. Life was pretty darned good. I finally had a man who loved me for me and thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world. He didn’t care that I was close to 300 pounds. He just loved me for me.
That is what FINALLY gave me the strength to do something about the one unhappiness in my life. I hated being morbifly obese and wanted to change but every diet I had tried had failed miserably. SO, after lots of research and debate, in January of 2009, I had RNY gastric bypass. This was me right before surgery. Literally a week before. I was now 325 pounds.
I was in such poor health. I had no clue the proper ways to eat. I rarely exercised and climbing a flight of stairs left me winded. I am 5’11 1/2″ and could hide some of my weight, but not this much.
I lost over 130 pounds in a little over a year and now feel better at 40 than I did at 20! This is me now.
And no, I am not super model thin, and never will be. I will never be a size six. Remember I am nearly six feet tall. BUT- I am healthy, have a normal BMI, and can run half marathons now. (this was celebrating my 40th birthday in Disney. My hubby and kids made me a princess for a day!)
I started out helping a few people I knew from my support group who were struggling to lose the weight and then became seriously interested in nutrition and fitness and I took up running with my husband using Jeff Galloway’s training plans. I decided to get more education and am now a certified Fitness Nutrition Coach and also a certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. I am also working on more credentials in nutrition as we speak.
Helping people see weight loss surgery as a gift and a tool and helping them make the most of it is my mission in life. It breaks my heart to see someone failing, not because of medical issues beyond their control, but because of non-compliance.
This surgery is like a second chance at life and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to make the most of it and to not mess this up.
I could never ever describe the feeling of crossing the finish line last January in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.
I tell everyone I meet that CROSSING THAT LINE HAND IN HAND WITH BEN AND KNOWING THIS FORMERLY 325 POUND WOMAN HAD JUST RUN 13.1 MILES FELT BETTER THAN ANY OF THE JUNK I USED TO PUT INTO MY BODY EVER TASTED!
THere truly is no way to describe the feeling and that medal will forever be on the wall in my office since it was my first half.
And yes, I celebrated with a rum and diet coke afterwards. No I am not one of those who says NEVER touch alcohol again after WLS. (That is a topic for another blog post) But I sip ONE drink for hours and keep adding more diet coke to it.
So that is me, Erin Akey, former fat girl, now a runner and person with a desire to help others learn to have a healthy relationship with food and to make the most of their tool.
Erin Akey does not eat fast food. Erin does not eat fried food. Erin does not eat sugar. I have learned to really look at the type of calories I put into my body and not just how many. I look for nutrient dense foods and ask my clients to do the same.
That is the new me. I no longer live to eat, but eat to live and to fuel my new healthy active body.
Will I NEVER again eat a fast food burger? I would be stupid to make such a statement. BUT I am hoping not. Will I NEVER again have sugar? There will of course be exceptions and occasions where I will have a bite or two of something sweet but NOT often and NOT as a rule. I just do not like putting junk into my body anymore.
I have learned to love myself more than I love food. And that is a wonderful feeling!
Happy Mother’s Day and have a great day!
I am off to the radio station!