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Healthy and Happy
Marisa loses 132 lbs.*, transforms her life
Growing up, I never learned how to eat properly and never cared about portions. I was addicted to food, especially sugar. I binged anytime I was able to. I do believe I have been obese as early as age 8. As I got older, it just got worse.

Still, while in high school, I met my boyfriend Matt. I was over 200 pounds from the time we first met (we had known each other for years before dating), so he always knew me as an overweight girl. The great thing is that he always loved me no matter what size I was.

Well, after we graduated high school and I started college, I really put on the pounds. I was a full-time student, living at home, and also worked 30-40 hours a week, so I was always busy due to my schedule and studying. Matt and I would go out to eat every night, to places like Taco Bell or Burger King (and frequently Friendly's). I graduated with my bachelors in Accounting and Finance in 2009—right into a bad job market. I struggled to find work, especially since everyone required 5+ years of experience.

A dangerous diagnosis

Then I was hit with a major health scare. I was diagnosed with idiopathic cranial hypertension (previously known as pseudo tumor cerebri). This is a neurological disorder which creates increased intracranial pressure in the absence of a tumor (in my case) or a disease—and it’s a relatively common issue in young obese women. Thankfully, there was no tumor. However, when I was diagnosed I was going blind, which is a symptom of the disease: my brain "thought" I had a brain tumor, and my body responded by heightening my spinal fluid, which pushed pressure on my optical nerve, causing blindness and excruciating head pain. The doctors recommended that I lose weight—as getting to a normal weight would allow the pressure to be taken off my optical nerve and rid myself of the condition—and keep my sodium levels low. They prescribed me a diuretic pill, which caused some severe side effects, including numbness in my limbs, weakness and sometimes nausea.

I really wanted to shake this disease for once and all—so I had to lose weight. But there were other important reasons, too. I wanted to be in pictures and feel comfortable being tagged on Facebook (which was never the case). I wanted to wear cute clothes, like a little black dress. Plus, I had NEVER worn a bikini in my life. I wanted to feel confident in public, and rock high heels (I am 5’6”, so fat high heels make me stand out negatively). I wanted to look hot for Matt, too!

Wedding disaster

So I made a commitment to lose weight; however, I did not have the resources to truly learn how to do it. With one diet, I always felt starved and binged even more at night. I tried a different one, thinking I could still eat the foods I loved. But all it did was make me scared to eat foods with fat in them, so I binged on foods that were low-fat. I wasn’t sure if anything would work. I’d go to the gym often, too—but I always ate in excess, whatever I felt like and whenever I felt like, so it was pointless.

I got the added push I needed in December 2011. I was around 275 pounds at the time when I went to a friend’s wedding. After the wedding I looked through the pictures of myself and broke down. I was thoroughly disgusted with myself. Soon after (I believe it was Christmas Eve), Terry Bradshaw was on a late night talk show, and he talked about Nutrisystem. I had always wanted to try Nutrisystem, but I never had the money to do so. At this point I was desperate, so I decided to work it into a budget and ordered Nutrisystem. I desperately needed a change.

New year, new hope

My Nutrisystem® food arrived right before New Year’s Day of 2012, so January 1st was going to be my start day. I made a promise to myself to stick with the program for at least one full year—I owed myself that much.

But I didn’t even need a week to know that Nutrisystem works! After starting Nutrisystem, I realized that I had never actually learned how to eat properly. By using the program, I was finally able to understand portions, when to eat the right foods, how often, and what kinds. It gave me structure, and it taught me portion control and the healthiest foods to help keep myself full and satisfied. For example, I learned to eat vegetables—I had never cooked or eaten vegetables before! Plus, the Nutrisystem website was extremely helpful. I have learned so much from the tools on the website along with advice, knowledge, and support from the fellow members in the Nutrisystem community.

So to me, Nutrisystem is not a diet, but a lifestyle. I have adopted the Nutrisystem way into my everyday life and continue to succeed. My original goal was to weigh 140 pounds, but when I saw that the plan really works, I chose to lower it to 130 pounds, which is right in the middle of my normal BMI. And I’ve lost 132 pounds* so far, so I know I’ll reach my new goal of another 10-15 pounds very easily.

And Matt’s also adopted a healthier lifestyle as a result. Unfortunately, my eating habits had caused him to gain as well. When we started dating, he was 5'8'' and 130 pounds. His heaviest ever was with me, at 240 pounds! He eats anything I make him, though, so after I got my healthy eating education from Nutrisystem, I cooked properly for him and chose his snacks/lunch for work. He is now 170 pounds—and he looks great, too! We are now a healthy couple together, and I am happy that he loves me fit and healthy as well as obese.

Better days

Every day is a better day knowing that I am healthy, happy and confident. Now I am out there socializing like I have never done before, and I am self-assured at work and out in public—I now have confidence in myself that I never believed possible! I can ride roller coasters without feeling like the biggest person around. I fit in a plane seat without struggling with the buckle. I have learned to run for 30 minutes straight, something I never imagined I could do.

How confident am I now? I bought my first little black dress! I also started buying skirts, which I would never wear before (unless it was a special occasion). Plus, Matt and I just got married last month and, thanks to Nutrisystem, I was the healthy, beautiful bride that I was meant to be! In fact, we just got back from our honeymoon—and we had such a wonderful time! It was in a tropical paradise—and I loved that I could feel free to do whatever I wanted—swim, snorkel, sail, even proudly wear a bikini on the beach—without once having to feel self-conscious at all. I just enjoyed my life with the man I love!

Best of all, thanks to my 132-pound weight loss* my medications for my neurological disorder have been adjusted, and I no longer have to suffer from horrible side effects. I thank Nutrisystem and the Nutrisystem community for teaching me the way to a healthier, happy life! I am completely happy with myself and so proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish! I am enjoying the non-obese life I haven't tasted since I was 8 years old!

—Marisa


*Results not typical. On Nutrisystem, you can expect to lose at least 1-2 lbs. per week. Individuals are remunerated.