Many people believe their best days are behind them. Previously active and seemingly physically boundless (perhaps as a competitive athlete), they’ve watched their bodies slowly change into vessels they don’t even recognize. Many can’t figure out how they got from where they once were to where they are now.
The first part of that all-too-common story would describe Pam Morse, a Compliance Agent for the State of Ohio who lives just outside of Columbus.
“I Just Couldn’t Look Anymore”
But Pam knew exactly how she had gotten where she was. As a young adult, she had been really active. “I’d played professional women’s football when I was in my day,” Pam shares. “I played competitive softball in national tournaments until I was 33. I was a very good pitcher and played softball every weekend and tournaments two or three nights a week.”
That was 20+ years ago. And Pam didn’t just gain 20, 50, or even 100 pounds. “I had gained 200+ pounds from my playing days,” Pam confessed.
The big question was how? It wasn’t hard to figure out. She got together with her better half, taking on two kids (ages 10 and 12) at the same time. With a family to focus on now, she scaled back some of her activities. After being a cop for 13 years, she decided to change paths and put herself through nursing school while working two jobs.
In other words, she went from being very, very active to being almost completely sedentary. “I put on what they call the ‘nursing 20’ as I was going through nursing school. You tend to gain the weight because you just sit so much—you’re reading, studying, or going to classes. That’s it.” (Pretty ironic—and sadly all too common—that so many who dedicate themselves to the health of others sacrifice their own.)
Next up, Pam knew she needed to quit smoking, and she did. Unfortunately, during that process, she added another 30 to 40 pounds. Worst of all, Pam had picked up some bad habits. She loved her pizza and beer and didn’t deny herself. Why should she? After all, she was neglecting herself in so many other areas, she deserved to indulge, right?
Plus, her years as an athlete had started to catch up with her. An old neck injury and bad knees left her in pain and kept her sidelined on her butt (to keep from aggravating them). Unfortunately, being sedentary actually had the opposite effect and aggravated the injuries even more.
To help provide relief, doctors prescribed a medication, but one of the side effects from the drug was weight gain. Within just 6 months, Pam had put on another 60 pounds. “That’s when I just threw in the towel—[my weight] just kept climbing up after that,” Pam remembers.
After she hit 365 pounds, Pam gave up on the scale, saying, “I just couldn’t look anymore.”
Now she was pending a knee replacement—another excuse not to move—and it got to the point that it was so cumbersome for Pam to even walk down her hallway at home. Plus, time was continuing to take its toll. No longer a 30-something athlete, Pam was her mid-50s now. “Going up and down stairs wasn’t as easy. It hurt, and I just got lazy. I wasn’t willing to do drastic changes, so I thought I was just stuck with the sedentary, bad habit life,” she says. She was using handicap stickers, her A1C (a diagnostic blood test) had climbed up to 6.7 (which meets the criteria for type 2 diabetes), and she was on blood pressure medication.
A New Year, A New Pam?
Despite saying in January every year, “This is the year I’m going to get the weight off,” losing 20 pounds, and regaining it all again by March, Pam knew January of 2018 was going to be different. “If I didn’t do something, I was in peril in so many ways. I wasn’t happy with myself because of how I felt, and my family had to do everything for me. I felt like I was letting my job down… like I was letting everyone around me down,” she explains.
Plus, Pam’s doctor started talking gastric bypass surgery. While Pam knew she certainly qualified and respects those who have taken that path, her thought was, “I got myself into this mess, it’s my responsibility to get myself out.”
Pam decided her first step was to find out what people ate after a gastric bypass, and she then promptly put herself on a chicken noodle soup diet. She quickly discovered this was no long-term plan, so she stared doing more research. Fortunately, the student was ready, and the teacher appeared—in the form of a competition. “The BioTrust Challenge popped up in my search. With my competitive nature, it was exactly what I needed.”
She signed up, ordered the supplements that made sense to her (including BellyTrim XP), and she picked out a diet (The 3 Week Diet) and printed it out. “I studied it like I was back in school again. I got a calendar out, and I marked out what I was supposed to do. I got my grocery list, so when the challenge started, I was ready to go.”
Now on to exercise. Remember, Pam had a long road to travel, and she hated to exercise. Even as a former athlete, she hated the training. She would have been happy if they had just let her play all day, every day and avoid the boring training. Pam says, “I had to change my mindset to just move more.”
At first, her workouts literally consisted of walking down her hallway. “Because that was all I could do,” she explains. “I started out with the goal of just walking up and down the hallway five times. Then every week, I would add another lap.”
Pam soon added short, simple workouts using two-pound weights and an exercise band. She added a series of exercises every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. “In addition to my walks in the hallway, I pulled out a stationary bike I’ve had for 15 years. I started out just riding that bike for 10 minutes at a very slow speed. Then I’d add a minute in the hallway. I’d add a minute on the bike. Then I’d do 15, then 20, then 25. Every week, I added just a little more.”
Once Pam started, there was no stopping her. She focused on small improvements every week. Soon, she was ready to graduate to longer walks. But she also knew that she needed to find places to walk where she wouldn’t have an excuse to skip her routine. “I went to our local stores—Lowes, Kroger, and Meijer. They have walking programs in our community in these stores to fully encourage people to come in and just walk. We started out with just one lap and then got to two laps, and we built up to a mile. It took a year before I could do a mile. Now I’m at a place where I can do two miles.”
From the very beginning, Pam knew she needed accountability, so she put her big, overreaching goal out into the world. Pam proclaims, “I put it out that I was going to lose 100 pounds.”
Hands down, the accountability that was built into the Challenge was most critical to Pam’s success. Says Pam, “What helped me most was the weekly weigh in. I had accountability to someone other than myself or my family where I had to report what I was doing. It was working with my competitive nature.”
But it wasn’t just competition. It was support. Pam says, “The encouragement I got was my lifeline. I was exposing a level of myself in a way I never had before. I’m a very private person with a very small, tight group of friends. With this group, I was able to share things I would have never put on my own Facebook page. BioTrust created a real community where you have a place to share your joys, your disappointments, or that you slipped up knowing that you won’t be hit with criticism but that you’ll be pulled back up. I think it works because BioTrust created a community with accountability and responsibility—because now I’m responsible for other people too.”
Pam also learned some valuable tips and tricks from other members of the community. For example, Tammy Kelty shared one of her keys to success that’s well-known in the VIP Community as “Tammy’s Rule.”
The rule? You can’t eat until you exercise. “I still live by that 90% of the time,” adds Pam. “If I don’t exercise, I don’t get to eat, and that was crucial for me. That helped me break through that obstacle of getting out of my chair and getting out of the ‘I’m so busy mindset.’ Because I can be very, very busy. You can find 107 excuses for why not to do things instead of looking for the 10 reasons you should.”
The Next Challenge
Pam’s weigh-in after the first challenge showed an impressive loss of 55 pounds—more than double what she had lost in past years! And at 12 weeks in, Pam was just getting started. She was still looking at the big 100-pound goal, so she was ready to sign up for the next challenge. Then the worst happened… her better half had a health scare and nearly died. That landed her (and Pam) in the hospital for the next month and a half.
The biggest benefit of the first challenge by far was that Pam was able to be there to provide the constant care her better half needed. “My doctor told me if I had not lost that initial weight, I would not have been able to give the amount of care needed, and a nursing home would have been the only option. If it weren’t for that first challenge, we can’t even think about what would have happened,” says Pam.
She was also blown away by the support they got from the whole VIP Community. “When we finally got home from the hospital, I got a care package from the BioTrust coaches. What company does that?! That’s what my mom keeps saying, ‘Every time you do something, they give you something?’”
It took just under a year to reach full recovery, and from April 2018 to January 2019, Pam’s better half was completely down. Says Pam, “There was a time when I may have used that as an excuse to not do things, but instead, I used the time when my better half was napping to go out walk or pop in a Walk a Mile Video workout.” And despite all the obstacles, Pam finished that Challenge!
A New Life Ahead
Pam continues to upgrade her workouts and now gets up in the morning to do a workout video—before breakfast. “It’s low-impact, but I’m running, jumping, moving in place. After that, it’s off to work,” shares Pam. She implements intermittent fasting most days, with a 16-hour fast and 8-hour feeding window, which she learned about through the BioTrust Community.
And it’s not just her size and shape that have changed so much; Pam now has so much more energy. Her mind is sharper, and she no longer sits all day. Instead, Pam shares, “I set an alarm on my phone for about 90 minutes, and when that goes off, it means I have to get up and do some type of movement.”
More importantly, she no longer depends on others. She does all her own stuff—the cooking, the cleaning, yardwork, gardening, and more. According to Pam, “The biggest things my friends say, and they say it a lot, is how I used to sit and have everyone do everything for me. Now I’m the one up and doing things for everyone. Instead of me sitting down and asking someone, ‘Hey, will you grab me a beer on your way by,’ I’m the one up and moving, doing all the cooking, doing the fixing, and getting everyone taken care of.”
And Pam discovered that the more you do it, the more you miss it when you don’t—a big change in her mindset. Pam has been surprised in other ways by her new lifestyle. She still allows herself cheat meals, but she admits, “I think I look more forward to that fasting day following a cheat. If you had told me I would look forward to a day without eating a year ago, I would have called you a fool. Now it’s one day I look forward to.”
Inspiration Worth Sharing
Like many people, Pam was raised by a mom who set the food in front of you, and you had two choices—eat it or go hungry. Yet as she watched Pam change her lifestyle and improve in so many ways, she became more and more supportive and even started making sure what was on the menu worked with Pam’s diet. “My parents are both just really, really proud of me,” Pam explains. “They haven’t always been very vocal in their support of me. But now, my mom is dragging me around, telling everybody what I’ve done. And I’ve heard her say she’s proud of me more over the last year than in the previous 56 years of my life combined.”
Pam’s sister is also proud. A physical therapist at a local hospital, she tells her patients about Pam’s success and shares how BioTrust played a role. “She’s always having me send her my progress pictures. When she has patients come in who are having problems, she shows my pictures, tells my story, and refers them to the BioTrust products and Community,” says Pam. “I don’t just go out throwing compliments or blow smoke, but I wouldn’t be where I am today—and I’m certain of that—without BioTrust, and specifically, the challenges.”
Pam’s Next Goal
Since that first round of the competition and her 55-pound loss, Pam has taken on the challenge 4 times and is on her 5th round now. Since January 2018, she’s lost 120! Not only that, she was hand-selected as the Grand Prize Winner of our 2019 New Year, New You Shape-Up Challenge, notching her $2,500 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Maui.
Pam happily reports, “My doctor has been so thrilled with everything I’ve done. When I hit that 100-pound mark, she said, ‘You’re better than bypass because you did it in 10 months, and it usually takes a year with bypass. And you did it healthy, and you have none of the side effects or any of the problems.’”
Plus, Pam still isn’t done. She’d like to lose another 60 pounds and get down to her playing weight. She doesn’t know if she’ll get there, but she does know that everything about her life is different already. In the past, given the chance, she would choose to sit. Now, she walks quickly, dances, and is out having fun. “It’s just nice to look at all the things I can do instead of all the things I can’t,” reflects Pam.
Paying It Forward
After all her transformation has done for her, Pam wants to give back. She wants to do everything she can to help anyone else—especially women like her who are a little older, have become sedentary, don’t feel good about themselves, and think it’s just too late. It’s why she didn’t disappear from the BioTrust Community after she won the Challenge. She explains, “I’m so passionate about helping others. This story isn’t about me. It’s about what can I do to help other people. I’m going to do everything I can.
Her top advice for those who are not sure where to start includes:
- Be mindful of what you eat.
- Start where you’re at and move more every day. You don’t have to join a gym. You don’t have to buy expensive stuff.
- Pick a diet plan that works for you and your life. Avoid fads or diets that don’t gel with your life—and don’t bother with the chicken noodle soup diet!
- You can have a bad week. Don’t use that as a reason to throw in the towel. You deserve a bad week every now and then because that’s still living life. But it’s doesn’t have to stop you from making the next week just a little bit better.
- Don’t look at the big picture. Look at the small one and keep drawing a new one as you go; sooner or later, that small picture will turn into a big picture. Even if all you can do is five laps in your hallway, do that for a week. And the next week, do six. Don’t look at the big goal because you’ll get discouraged, and you’ll quit. Just put little carrots in front of you. If Pam had started out saying she wanted to walk two miles, she would have never gotten there—because that was too big. But 5 laps in the hallway, 6 laps, 7 laps—walking to the end of her driveway to the mailbox—were doable, actionable behavior-based goals.
- You may never again be skinny like your 20-year-old self, but you can become the best versions of yourself.
- Pick a goal that’s fun! Not a goal that’s on the scale.