LIMA — Years of fad dieting and eating out took a toll on Gloria Kershner, who at her heaviest weighed 331 pounds.
“I drank, easily, half a gallon of soda a day,” said Kershner, a retired Lima City Schools teacher who has lost 130 pounds and counting in two years.
Kershner says the weight crept up on her. Always thin in her youth, Kershner didn’t think much about eating out regularly once she started working full-time. She eventually found herself eating fast food two to three times per day, and long hours at work meant she had little time for exercise.
“It racked up,” she said.
The weight made Kershner’s life difficult, physically and emotionally.
She avoided public outings for fear of embarrassing her family, particularly her nieces and nephews whom she worried would be bullied for being near her. She declined invitations to travel with family because walking long distances caused her knees to ache for days at a time.
“Now, I can look forward to trips and things because I can do the walking and do it at the same speed as everybody else,” Kershner told The Lima News. “… One of the things on my bucket list is to skydive, and now I’m thin enough to meet the weight requirements for that.”
She credits her weight loss in part to her recent retirement, which freed time for Kershner to cook and work out regularly, and to her membership in a weight loss group that meets weekly in Lima.
“That’s how I’ve been able to stick to things this time,” she said.
Her diet today consists of protein and vegetables, the majority of which she cooks at home. She spends most days at the senior center, swimming laps and lifting weights. Those modest lifestyle changes proved more successful for Kershner than the fad and crash diets she tried years ago.
“It’s a journey,” Kershner said. “It’s a slow process. And it’s healthier for you if you lose it slowly through lifestyle changes and not drastic changes.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.