Local News

Weight Loss Success: Zebulon Woman's Weight Loss Helps Manage Other Health Issues

Posted May 7, 2003

— There are many ways to measure weight loss success. For a Wake County woman, it means controlling her diabetes and beating depression. Find out how she beat the vicious cycle of eating and how she is keeping the weight off.

Susan Butler Tobie is passionate about music -- she plays the piano, organ, and harp. Music soothes her, but the high and low notes of everyday life used to be too much.

"I could just get so depressed over anything," said Tobie said, who self-medicated with food.

"Ice cream, of course! [Just about] the worst thing you can eat," she said.

As Tobie's depression worsened, so did her weight problem. Diabetes was the next blow.

"I was getting to the point where I didn't have any life to lead," she said. "It was time to get serious about it and quit believing my own PR."

Tobie had her doctor create a personal diet plan. The plan cut her calories to 1,500 a day -- a huge change from what she was used to.

"I was eating somewhere around 4,500 or 5,000 calories per day --way more than I needed," she said.

Tobie started reading nutrition labels to see what a real serving size is. She gave up sweets and cut back on carbohydrates.

"We eat turkey breast and more turkey breast," she said.

Tobie also pulled out the secondhand Nordictrack from the closet.

"It just sat here getting dusty," she said.

When she started, exercising for one minute made her weak.

"When I first started,I was panting for breath so hard I could not talk," Tobie said.

Tobie said she is up to 45 minutes a day, and "I can hold a conversation while I'm doing it."

In two years, she has shed 43 pounds -- something she never thought possible.

"My goodness. It's so encouraging to not go to the department store and go to the old ladies department, the fat women's department. I like that."

The transformation is more than physical. Tobie no longer needs medication for diabetes.

"Before all this happened, I had a fairly merry disposition and I've got it back again," she said of her depression.

It will take time to reach her next goal. Tobie wants to lose 35 more pounds and is confident she will succeed.

Tobie was involved in a diabetes education program to help understand how her diet contributed to her diabetes. She also dieted under her doctor's supervision, which is highly recommended.

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