- Nancy Olguin lost 145 pounds after changing her lifestyle. She went from a size 3X to a 12.
- She said that she wanted to have energy for the teens that she and her husband hoped to foster.
- This is Olguin’s story, as told to Jane Ridley.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Nancy Olguin. It has been edited for length and clarity.
My husband, David, and I recently spent a day at Six Flags amusement park. There was a particular roller coaster we wanted to ride. We sat side by side in the car and comfortably pulled down the safety bar.
It was a big achievement.
We’d been on the same ride a few years ago — or at least we’d tried to. We could barely squeeze into the car. Worse, the safety bar couldn’t lock into place because of our stomachs. The staff tried to help, but the bar wouldn’t lock. We cut our losses and climbed out of the car. People were waiting behind us. It was humiliating.
We ate our feelings. We ordered four burgers — two for each of us — two large fries and two large Pepsis at a fast-food restaurant.
I tried unsuccessfully to lose weight ahead of my wedding
The embarrassing incident on the roller coaster was not an isolated one. We were the kind of people who whispered when we asked the flight attendant for seat-belt extensions. David was 410 pounds, and I weighed 312 pounds.
I’d been overweight since childhood. We ate a lot of beans and rice and other stuff that was mostly processed. I was also drawn to sugar.
I didn’t even think about changing my lifestyle once I got a job and started buying my own food.
David and I got married in April 2008. He was fit and enjoyed hiking. He’s 5-foot-10 and weighed about 200 pounds at our wedding.
I tried and failed to lose any weight for my wedding. I did token things like take the bun off my burger. My wedding dress was a size 24. I was 5-foot-8.
I thought, “This probably the way I’m supposed to be.” I wore 3X scrubs in my job as a dialysis technician. I was constantly on my feet, and they would hurt so much at the end of the day. I knew that being overweight and having high blood pressure were among the top causes of diabetes. A lot of people need dialysis after developing diabetes, but I ignored the connection.
We wanted to start a family; we looked into IVF and realized it wasn’t for us. We decided to foster kids instead. David had been in the foster system when he was growing up. We wanted to foster teenagers, partly because we’d helped a bit with the teenagers at our church. They’re also the hardest age group to place, but they need kindness and support.
I wanted to get healthy so I could be an active mom to my foster kids
We put our plan into action and completed the paperwork. But we knew it was going to be a long process to become licensed to foster a child.
At the beginning of 2020, a friend got involved with a wellness program that educates people about healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle. I was impressed by my friend’s weight loss — she’d lost 40 pounds — and that she’d done it with three kids.
She told me that since she’d lost weight, she’d been able to keep up with them more. It made me think long and hard about being a foster mom. “I don’t want to be the mom on the sideline,” I told David. “I want to have energy for the kids we bring into our home.” So I decided to join the program, and my husband did, too.
We’re showing our teenage foster twins how to eat healthy
I’ve had to discipline myself, but I’ve never felt restricted by what I can eat. I’ve lost around 145 pounds and weigh around 180 pounds. My dress size is now 12. David has lost around 150 pounds and now weighs 260 pounds. I’m still learning how to undo at least 25 years of unhealthy habits, but I feel like I’m going to stay on this path.
We were thrilled to get our fostering license, and we have a set of twins living with us now. They can’t believe that our “before” photos are us. We’re showing them that you can learn better ways of eating.
When David and I went back to Six Flags, we felt proud. We’ve even started hiking with the kids — something I thought I’d never be able to do.
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